Inventions of Photography – Chapter Six - The Albumen Print

A note from the filmmakers:

It’s amusing to consider that while most photographic processes utilize complex chemical formulas, the key component to the albumen print was the chicken. More specifically, the albumen extract from the chicken egg. It’s almost comical today to consider that 19th century photographic houses were also, in effect, chicken farms. Tempting as it was, we refrained from making any ‘chicken and the egg’ references.

Beyond its strange ingredients, the albumen print emphasizes a key theme of this series: The invention of a process that allowed the expansion of the photographic medium making prints more widespread and democratic.

Inventions of Photography – Chapter Seven - The Platinum Print

A note from the filmmakers:

Sometimes referred to as ‘The King’ of photographic processes, the platinum print is named after the precious metal used in the process. Like the pigment processes it is designed to last and was also used by the pictorialists. The platinum print is one of the most permanent processes ever conceived. Certain gelatin silver prints that most of us grew up are fleeting when compared to the platinum print. Today, some smart phone cameras feature applications designed to erase your image seconds after it was made. It leads to the question: Is there an image of yourself that stands a chance of lasting for a hundred years?

Chapter Seven: The Pigment Processes - The Gum Bichromate Print and the Carbon Print

A note from the filmmakers:

Nothing lasts forever. The pigment processes were invented to address problems of fading in albumen prints. Making a photograph permanent is a reoccurring theme throughout the history of photography. The pigment processes, created over 150 years ago, achieved a level of permanence in their images that even surpasses the modern processes we find today.

This chapter also introduces one of key movements in the artistic developments in photography, the pictorialists. It’s leaders, Alfred Steglitz and Edward Steichen, worked to elevate photography so that it was accepted as an art form. As a bonus, this chapter features one of Stieglitz’s cameras, which was given to George Eastman House by Georgia O’Keeffe.

Inventions of Photography – Chapter Nine - The Woodburytype

A note from the filmmakers:

The woodburytype process was the most challenging to demonstrate as the machines used in the process have all but disappeared. For the purposes of the demonstration, Mark Osterman was able to create a facsimile of this fascinating process. The woodburytype’s ability to combine photography and the press created an increase in the production of the printed image in publications.

Inventions of Photography - Chapter 10 - The Gelatin Silver Process

The Kodak empire rises and falls. Find out why in this chapter of Inventions of Photography.

Thanks to those who have been “liking”, sharing, re-Tweeting this series. This next chapter is personal for me, because it spans the era that I lived through. The analog to digital shift is still one of the most fundamental changes in photography since it’s invention. We’re still feeling its effects today. I still think in terms of a Super 16mm 100ft load of Kodak color reversal even while picking up my Canon DSLR. Share your feeling about the demise of the last great photographic chemical process.

A note from the filmmakers:

This chapter covers the historic revolution in photography created by George Eastman using the gelatin silver process. Like most people our age, we grew up in the era where gelatin silver prints and negatives were all we knew. It’s nostalgic today to remember a time when you would have to wait for the photo lab to finish your prints. It would be hard to explain to younger filmmakers the joy of loading a roll of Kodak Tri-X 16mm film into a Bolex. Even the smell of the celluloid makes us nostalgic. This chapter seeks to bring understanding to the recent historic shift from film to digital.