* English boys clothes : photography negative processes albumen process

English Photography: Negative-based Processes--Albumen Process

English CDV
Figure 1.-- The CDV was the first commercially successful negative-based photographic format. Unlike America, it was not largely replaxed in England by the cabinet card. This CDV was, for example, taken in 1904. CDVs in American became less common by the 1880s.

The first commercial negative process was the albumen print. This began with the carte-de-viste (CDV) which wss first appeared in France during the late-1850s. The CDV was hugely popular in England. We suddenly see an exponential increase in the number of photographic portraits. The Daguerreotype was introduced (1840s), buut we see a rather limited number of Dags made in England. The CDV was a very different matter. The CDV was the dominant format by the 1860s and continued to be the principal commercial photographic portrait in the 1870s and 80s. The cabinet card was introduced a few years after the CDV (1866). Unlike Aneruca they were not an immediate success. We are not sure why there was such a difference between Englabd and America. We not begin to see more cabinent cards until the 1880s. We are not sure just when the cabinet card became the principal portrait type. We see klarge numbers of CDVs in the late-19th century. Many more than in America wher the cabinet card became the dominat format in the 1870s. We even see CDVs in England in the early-20th century. Our English archive is more limited than our American archive, thus we can not yet work out the rekative importance of these formats with any precession.. We do note some similarities as to mount styles and studio posing and background settings, but because of our limited English archive we are still working out the details.


Photographic studios began to spring up after the mid-1850s throughout Britain, far more than the number of Daguerreotypists. You can see this in our archive. We have found very few Dags, Calotypes, and Anbros to archive, but a lrge number of albumen prints (CDVs and cninet cards). It is not only that photographers were able to set up studios without paying a fee.


There were many advantages to albumen printing using collodion-negative process. You not only got high-quality prints at a low price, but you could make multiple copies to send to friends and family. The result was a huge increase in the number of studios and the an enormous expansion in the number of imges produced, not equal to but long the lines of what was happening in America.


The relative simplicity also meant that non-professionl, but really anateurs could dabble with pgotography. Most images were still made in the studio, but you begin to see images outside the studio taken by non-professionls, mostly rather well-to-do individuls. Sometimes the two groups crossed over (artist/photographers and profesional photographers). Many artist/photographers supported themselves and their hobby by setting up studio businesses. What we do not see are family snapshots by people thatvwere not well-heelded are having some basic ynderstanding of photography. We begin seeing CDVs in the mid-1850s, although they did not become really popular until the 1860s. The cabinet card which was essentially a large CDV appeared (mid-1860s). These formats would dominate English photograpy until the early-20th century.


There are three primary albumen formats. Fhe first to appear was the carte de visite (CDV). The CDV was invented in France. It appeared in the 1850s, but did not become wildly popular until about 1860. The CDV was the smallest format. The name comes from there being used as calling cards. Stereo view cards apppeared in numbers about the same time. The larger cabinet cards appeared in the mid-1860s. Cabinet cards in America rapidly replaced CDVs. For some reason, in Britain and several other European countries, the smaller CDV continued to be the primary photographic portrait into the 1880s. We are notvsure why the smaller firnat was o popukar for so long. It is not until the CDV in the 1860s that we begin ti see large numbers of Engish photographs. Re earlt firnats like Dags and Ambros were not nearly as common as in America. The albumen process was a breakthriugh because it was inexpensive and as a negative process, mltiple copies could be nade for country and friends. And they were ideal for collecting in albums.


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Created: 7:40 AM 7/16/2011
Last updated: 3:59 PM 11/28/2019