Talbot and print run

The technology that Daguerre developed had one significant difference from modern WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY NYC: it allowed you to create only one image, each plate was unique, it could not be replicated – except for reshoots. Walter Benjamin considered this an advantage of the daguerreotype, a guarantee of the “aura” that arises in him [7] Benjamin V. A Brief History of Photography. M .: AdMarginem Press, 2004, but history judged otherwise.

As expected, the Frenchman Daguerre had an English competitor, William Henry Fox Talbot, who proposed an alternative technology for capturing the visible world. Using the same chemical elements—silver, iodine, and bromine—he developed a negative-positive process called calotyping (καλὸς means “beauty” in Greek).

Calotype is based on the fact that the photographer does not work with a metal plate, but with paper. A sheet of paper is coated with a light-sensitive solution containing silver halides, then placed in a pinhole camera, exposed, and after the development and fixation procedure, the negative is visible on the sheet. Then this picture is impregnated with wax and becomes transparent, another sheet is placed on top, covered with the same light-sensitive solution, and together they are taken out into the sun. On the second sheet, after developing and fixing, Talbot received a positive image, and such positives could be made as many as desired.

Calotype would have gained immense popularity if Talbot had not patented his method. He, alas, miscalculated: photography was not yet so popular that people invested in buying a patent. Daguerre, on the contrary, understood the peculiarities of supply and demand, and therefore agreed with the French government that he would be paid a solid remuneration once, and he would present his patent to the world with a grand gesture. That is why in the early years of photography, daguerreotype was much more common.

However, Talbot’s contribution is undeniably significant: he showed how to replicate images. This technological and conceptual shift has given photography a new expansion and new functionality. In the early 1840s, the first magazine with calotype illustrations, called Nature’s Pencil, was published in a small circulation.

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