The Expanding Domain


The Open Door

Community 1 on Wednesday
William Fox Talbot. The Open Door. 1843. Salted paper print from calotype negative.











William Henry Fox Talbot
1800 - 1877


William Henry Fox Talbot

William Henry Fox Talbot. c. 1844. Daguerreotype.
Rosenblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography. Abbeville Press, New York. 1989.











Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey

William Henry Fox Talbot. Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey. 1835.
Photogenic drawing.

Marien, Mary Warner.  Photography: A cultural History.  Second edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006.

Enhanced view of Talbot's window











Talbot produced the first successful
negative on paper in 1835

Photogenic drawing

Calotype process:
Soaked paper in a solution of sodium chloride, then a solution of silver nitrate
Repeated process several times to create a dense concentration of chemicals
Exposed wet sheet of iodized paper to light  
(cutting exposure time from 1 hour to 10 minutes)
Image fixed with either potassium iodide or sodium chloride
In the following years, Talbot discovered that an invisible, "latent image" could be developed with gallic acid
Began coating paper with wax to make it more translucent
Negative was contact printed onto another sheet of sesnsitized paper
William Henry Fox Talbot. 1837. Photogenic Drawing.
Bajac, Quentin. The Invention of Photography. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. 2002.











Direct Positive Print
the calotype established a negative/ positive printmaking system
1. Negative image produced by exposing light-sensitive paper
2. Positive image produced by contact printing onto another piece of paper
Negative Image
Positive Image
David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. Lady Elizabeth Eastlake. c. 1845.  Calotype.











Southworth and Hawes. Rollin Heber Neal. c. 1850. Daguerreotype.
William Henry Fox Talbot.  Man and Woman sitting on garden wall in Lacock Abbey.  1835. Reproduction of calotype image.


Daguerreotyp vs. Calotype
Highly detailed
Creates contrast and mass
One step
Two step
Exposure time
Few seconds
Few minutes
Produced one-of-a-kind image
Produced infinite number of copies
Somewhat expensive if done at high quality studio
Relatively inexpensive
Experienced businessman
Scientist and intellectual










The Pencil of Nature

William Henry Fox Talbot. The Pencil of Nature. 1844 - 1846.

The Pencil of Nature = first book to include photographic images
In order to encourage the use of the calotype process and his former valet's photo printing establishment, Talbot sold subscriptions to The Pencil of Nature
Printed in six parts with 24 salted paper prints from paper negatives
Today, a pproximately forty complete or substantially complete copies survive











Talbots Printing Operation

Talbot's printing operation. c. 1845.











The Open Door

William Fox Talbot. The Open Door. 1843. Salted paper print from calotype negative.











picturesque = suggesting a painted scene, quaint, charming and favoring the emotional experience

sublime = lofty, grand or exalted in thought, expression or manner; of outstanding spiritual, intellectual or moral worth; tending to inspire awe
William Henry Fox Talbot. The Game Keeper. c. 1843.











The Vampire

Charles Negre. The Vampire. 1853. Salted paper print.











Salted paper:

Soaked in salt concentration
Coated on one side with silver nitrate
Contact printed with negative image
William Henry Fox Talbot. Oak Tree in Winter at Lacock Abbey. Salt print from a calotype negative, early 1840s.










Wet-Collodion Process

Preparing and processing a collodion wet-plate

1848 Frederick Scott Archer exposes iodized collodion while it is wet, resulting in a great improvement of the calotype process
collodion (pyroxylin) = a mixture of cellulose nitrates that is less explosive than guncotton, soluble in a mixture of organic solvents, and used especially in making plastics, coatings such as lacquers, as a coating for wonds or for photographic films
video on the wet-collodion processes











Sally Mann.  Last Light .  1989.
Mann, Sally.  Immediate Family.  New York:  Aperture, 1992.