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Popular Photographic Print Processes: Calotypes (Talbotypes)


Calotype photograph showing the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx
Leavitt Hunt, photographer. [Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Gizeh, Egypt]. Calotype print, ca. 1852.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-13704

Dates in general use: 1841-1860

timeline 1841-1860

Description: The original negative and positive process invented by William Henry Fox Talbot, the calotype is sometimes called a "Talbotype." This process uses a paper negative to make a print with a softer, less sharp image than the daguerreotype, but because a negative is produced, it is possible to make multiple copies. The image is contained in the fabric of the paper rather than on the surface, so the paper fibers tend to show through on the prints. The process was superceded in the 1850s by the collodion glass negative. Because of Talbot's patent rights, relatively few calotypes were made in the United States.

Further information and examples


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  August 30, 2011
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