Inventions of Photography - Chapter Three - Talbot's Processes

A note from the filmmakers:

The fact that Daguerre and Talbot, while residing in two different countries, created the world’s earliest photographic processes within months of each other is a fascinating historic coincidence. It spawned a rivalry that forever complicates the question: Who invented photography?

This chapter explores both Talbot’s contributions to the advancement of photography as well as his personal story, centered around his home at Lacock Abbey in England. It features one of George Eastman House’s most prized collection objects: a copy of Talbot’s Pencil of Nature, one of the first photographically illustrated publications.

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Inventions of Photography - Chapter Four - The Cyanotype

A note from the filmmakers:

Sir John Hershcel was both an accomplished inventor and intriguing historic figure. As Mark Osterman asserts, “He’s the person who could have invented photography if he’d been bothered to”. It was Herschel who advised Talbot on how to ‘fix’ his images permanently. Herschel’s cyanotype process was unique in that it was a non-silver-based process and contains both the qualities of a Printing Out process as well as a Developing Out process. One of the highlights of the entire series is demonstrating how a cyanotype print comes to life in a bath of plain old water. Unlike other processes, the cyanotype process found new life through amateur photographic printing and architectural implementation well into the 21st century.

Inventions of Photography – Chapter Five - Collodion Processes: The Collodion Negative, The Ambrotype, The Tintype

A note from the filmmakers:

Not only did the collodion process produce a precise negative, it was also used in two popular direct positive processes, the tintype and the ambrotype. Getting your portrait done, which previously was affordable only for the wealthy, became inexpensive enough for everyone. The processes ushered in a romanticized era of the mobile horse-drawn laboratories that would make tintypes of soldiers during the Civil War.

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?