• From the History of Early Photography

      From the History of Early Photography

      Daguerreotype is a method of recording images invented in 1838-1839 by the French artist and chemist Louis Daguerre (formerly Louis Daguerre, 1787-1851). The principle of the latter's operation is based on the fact that when the exposed silver plates are kept in mercury vapor, they become much more sensitive, even dimly lit areas stand out, and the exposure is shortened from a few hours to 20-30 minutes.
      Daguerreotype was originally used to capture landscapes, architecture and still life. A little later, after learning how to sensitize plates and starting to use portrait lenses, the aforementioned technology began to be used very widely in creating portraits - a relatively cheap way to immortalize appeared.
      Daguerreotype was actively spreading in the United States. It should be mentioned that the world's first commercial photo studio was opened precisely in the USA - in 1840. March. the daguerreotype portrait studio was established in New York by inventors Alexander Wolcott (English Alexander Wolcott, 1804-1844) and John Johnson (English John Johnson, 1813-1871). Daguerreotype in the United States grew into a separate industry within a few years and lasted as long as 20 years.
      The first daguerreotype ateliers in Europe were established in 1840-1841. Daguerreotype gained particular popularity in Europe in the homeland of photography - France.
      In Vilnius, the first daguerreotype ateliers were established by immigrants from other countries. The first daguerreotype artist who came to the city is considered to be C. Ziegler, who founded a photo studio on Šventoj Jurgis (now Gediminas) avenue in 1843. and advertised his production of portraits in Olivieri's shop on Castle Street. Such ateliers operated in Lithuania until 1859.
      in 1851 in March, the English photographer and sculptor Frederick Scott Archer (English Frederick Scott Archer, 1813-1857) described in detail the method of wet collodion (collodium is a solution of nitrocellulose in a mixture of alcohol and ether). Due to its cheapness, various modifications of the wet collodion method (ambrotype, ferrotype) quickly became popular around the world and eventually supplanted the daguerreotype.
      Ambrotype images are created on glass plates smeared with collodion. The developed negatives are bleached with mercuric chloride or nitric acid to a light gray tone. Using the ferrotype method, photographic images are created not on transparent glass, but on black or dark brown lacquered black metal tin plates (usually 60 × 90 mm format), which are coated with wet collodion emulsion and sensitized to light immediately before exposure.
      The ambrotype method was introduced in 1852 and was extremely popular in 1854-1857. Since the design and dimensions of ambrotypes were the same as daguerreotypes, customers usually did not even notice the reduction of the halftone gamut.
      The ferrotype method was described in 1852. of Adolphe Alexandre Martin, a pioneer of photography in France (pr. Adolphe-Alexandre Martin, 1824–1896). Since 1860 ferrotype images became especially popular in the United States.
      After the advent of ambrotype and ferrotype, daguerreotype did not completely disappear, as daguerreotype images were still fashionable in expensive photography salons for a while and cheaper techniques were simply ignored. Ferrotype was particularly durable - due to its cheapness and simplicity, the technology was used by street, leisure and fair photographers until the 20th century. mid-century, before 35mm and instant cameras were superseded.
      21st century reached a relatively small amount of early photography from Lithuania (even at the beginning of the 20th century, daguerreotypes were a rarity in the main collections accumulated in the country). Unlike the USA, where photography has been around since the 19th century. 5 Dec. became a part of popular culture, in Lithuania due to after 1830-1831 the suppression of the uprising, the repression of the Russian imperial government and the general economic decline of the country, the activity of the photography pioneers was quite passive.

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