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[Town Hall of Calcutta], India - Early photography, Public domain image

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[Town Hall of Calcutta], India - Early photography, Public domain image

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Summary

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The albumen silver print is a photographic printing process that was widely used in the 19th century. It involves coating paper support with a mixture of egg whites and salt, which creates a glossy surface to hold light-sensitive silver salts. The paper is then sensitized in a solution of silver nitrate, and exposed in a camera or under a negative. After exposure, the print is developed in a solution of gallic acid and silver nitrate, which reduces the silver salts to metallic silver and creates the final image. The albumen print process was widely used for commercial and fine art photography in the 19th century and produced high-quality, detailed images with a distinctive glossy finish.

With the invention of photography, the eighteenth-century British passion for recording exotic lands and studies of the peoples in India was given new impetus. The earliest photography on the continent dates from 1840 in Calcutta, the political center of British India. The technology for photography arrived in India quickly became popular among the local rulers-many of whom employed photographers at their courts-as well as the British who had come to make their fortunes in the colony. For both populations, the new medium replaced painting as the method for recording the local landscape, architecture, people, and important events.

date_range

Date

1858 - 1861
place

Location

create

Source

Metropolitan Museum of Art
copyright

Copyright info

Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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albumen silver prints
albumen silver prints