history of
photography

People have been dreaming of photography since early times. It seemed a miracle to be able to reflect and to preserve what the eyes can see with the help of the sunlight rather than with the help of the pencil or the brush.

It's surprising but photography appeared practically due to the enthusiasm of self-taught people and without the participation of official science.

Only after many years had passed, did the miracle to stop the moment become available to all.

vintage photo gallery

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872) is known to the public at large as the inventor of the telegraph and the telegraph code and as a portrait painter. In addition to these accomplishments, he has rightfully been called the "Father of American Photography." Samuel Morse became one of the first Americans to experiment with the new art, photography. The matter of portraiture by photography had particularly interested Morse, but the time of exposure required by the original process was so long that the taking of portraits seemed to be out of the question. Outdoor views of still objects, strongly illuminated, appeared to be the only possible subjects for the camera. However, Morse and several other Americans set to work and were among the first, if not the first, to adapt the new art to portraiture.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 – 1877), a British physicist, chemist, inventor, made paper light-sensitive in 1834. His first photos were mere photograms, i.e. photocopies made in a contact way. But in 1835 Talbot took a photo of the latticed window at his home. To do this, he also used paper soaked with silver chloride. The exposure to light took a long time, about an hour. Thus, the first negative was produced. The resulting negative was used to make the first positive print simply by putting fresh sensitized paper in contact with the negative and exposing it to light. Talbot called his method calotype (derived from Greek words kalos – beautiful and typos – print). In 1843 Talbot made the so-called "magic mirror" – a prototype of an enlarger – and for the first time produced positive prints with enlargement. It was also in 1843 that he opened a printing house to get his book "The Pencil of Nature" (1844-1846) into print. It was the first edition illustrated with photographs.

Daguerre´s and Talbot´s processes of getting visible images were rather different. Daguerre´s method allowed no reproduction of the picture, as a positive image was created on the silver plate. In Talbot´s calotype, however, the first thing to be created was a negative which allowed virtually unlimited positive prints to be produced.

As is seen, each inventor gave a different name to their method of getting permanent images – heliography, daguerreotype, calotype (talbotype). Later, there appeared a wet collodion process ambrotype (derived from the Greek word ambrotos – immortal), introduced by an English sculptor Frederick Scott Archer (1813 – 1857) in 1851. Incidentally, Archer chose not to patent his discovery and offered his invention free to all photographers. None of inventors used the term photography, which got the right to existence and was only legitimated in the dictionary of the French Academy in 1878.

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The AMBROTYPE process (from Greek ambrotos, "immortal") or amphitype is a photographic process which was invented in the mid-1850s. It creates a positive photographic image on a sheet of glass using the wet plate collodion process. An ambrotype is a collodion glass-plate negative that appears to be a positive when viewed against a dark surface. This transformation is caused by the clear areas of the negative appearing dark, and the opaque silver areas bright. The ambrotype was an inexpensive alternative to the daguerreotype. It was similar in size and was mainly used for portraits. Ambrotypes were easier to produce, although their exposure time was much longer. It was patented in 1854 by James Ambrose Cutting of Boston, in the United States.

The CABINET CARD or cabinet card photos, was universally adopted for photographic portraiture in 1870, are generally Victorian era portraits of family members. It consisted of a thin photograph that was mounted on a thick cardboard mount measuring 4 ¼ by 6 ½ inches.

Preserve your family photos forever


What a reverential feeling is to look at our old family photos! Our old tattered photo albums keep the dearest photos of our closest and most beloved people. These pages of family history contained in a photo album represent a visual genealogical tale of generations + [more tips]