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History of Photography: Talbot Pictures

TALBOT (Talbot, Thalbot) William Henry Fox (1800-1877), English physicist, chemist, inventor of the negative-positive process in photography (calotypy). He also studied mathematics, spectroscopy, astronomy, archeology and linguistics.

While studying at Harrow and Trinity College (Cambridge) has published many articles in the field of mathematics, astronomy and physics. In 1833-34 he served in Parliament.

Talbot tried to copy the views of nature with a camera obscura. But he did not have drawing skills. Therefore, he wanted to capture the image that he saw in the camera obscura. Talbot knew that light could affect the properties of various materials, and invented such a photosensitive material. To do this, he immersed a sheet of paper in a weak solution of salt, and then in a solution of silver nitrate. At the same time silver chloride was formed in the paper, and it became photosensitive.

In 1835, Talbot used his camera to take pictures of his photosensitive paper, soaked in silver chloride. The first was a shot of the latticed window of his house. Exposure lasted for an hour. So he got the world’s first negative. He applied another similar sheet of paper to it and lit them. So Talbot made a positive imprint. The first pictures were dark, fuzzy and spotty, and the sensitivity of his paper was very low.

Talbot’s first calotype shot is a latticed window of his house. Executed in 1835
In January 1839, Talbot learned that Arago had made a report at the Academy of Sciences in Paris about the invention of L. Daguerre — the daguerreotype. This prompted Talbot to post a report on his process. At the end of January of the same 1839, he asked Faraday to show his work at a meeting of the Royal Society of London, and on January 31, 1839 made a report “Some conclusions about the art of photogenic drawing, or about the process by which objects of nature can draw themselves without the artist “. He was afraid that the invention of Daguerre would be the same as his own, and did not want to lose his priority. At the same time, Talbot did not realize that Daguer had developed a completely different process.

John Herschel called Talbot’s invention a photograph and issued the words “negative” and “positive.”

In 1840, Talbot changed and improved his process. This allowed him to take photos in a few minutes. He called his process calotypy (from the Greek. Words kalos – beautiful and typos – imprint), later he was given the name tolbotipy.

He showed the paper in acid, then (according to the advice of John Herschel) fixed the image in the hyposulphite solution, washed the negative in pure water, dried and rubbed it with wax, making it transparent. With the help of sunlight, he made contact prints on silver chloride paper from a negative. In 1841 he patented this process, and in 1842 received the Royal Society Medal for experiments with calotyping.

Kaloboty Talbot and daguerreotype Daguerre had fundamental differences. In the daguerreotype, a positive, specularly reflected image on a silver plate was immediately obtained. This simplified the process, but made it impossible to obtain copies. In calotypy, first a negative was produced, from which any number of positive prints could be made. Therefore, calotypy is much closer to modern photography, despite the fact that the quality of daguerreotypes was much higher than that of calotypes.

In 1844-46, Talbot published the first album “Pencil of Nature” with photographic art illustrations – views of nature and architecture.

In 1851, Talbot developed the method of instant photography and patented it in 1852 and 1858. He used steel plates and gauze screens for printing to obtain halftones and was the predecessor of those developed in the 1880s. quality halftone photoplates.

Talbot’s patents, his claims for priority in all types of photography and lawsuits about this objectively hampered the further development of photography in Scotland, France and other countries.

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