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Popular Photographic Print Processes: Ambrotypes


Ambrotype photograph showing Niagara Falls
Platt D. Babbitt, photographer. [Niagara Falls]. Ambrotype, ca. 1854.
LC-USZC4-4611

Dates in general use: ca. 1851-1865

timeline 1851-1865

Description: A direct-image photograph commonly associated with the daguerreotype, because it was often made in a similar size and kept in a case. The ambrotype is essentially an underexposed or "thin" collodion glass negative with dark material placed behind it. This causes the negative to appear as a positive image. Compared to the daguerreotype, it is a duller, less contrasty image. Unlike the daguerreotype, the image does not have a mirror-like surface. The ambrotype was less expensive to make than a daguerreotype.

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  August 30, 2011
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