C. 1835 William Henry Fox Talbot, national media museum collection.                                                                                                                  –                                                                                                                         –

The worlds earliest surviving negative – taken 1835 by William Henry Fox Talbot from a mousetrap camera, also known as a Talbot mousetrap camera as he created one of the very first photographic images to survive.

latticedwindowlattice window at Lacock Abbey – first image created by Talbot in 1835 now preserved in archives in Bradford.

1833 Talbot was honeymooning in Italy when he started to think about camera obscurers and what if you could find a way to fix the image instead of just using it as a drawing aid. “How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably, and remain fixed upon the paper!”

Once back in England he started to experiment with light sensitive paper, which was done by covering the paper in silver salts. He started with negative silhouettes of leaves and lace produced by contact printing, he called this ‘photogenic drawings’.

He then attempted to capture images from nature first hand by placing the light sensitive paper inside of a camera obscurer but his failed due to the insensitivity of the paper joined with a limited aperture lens  led to there being a very long exposure to capture an image. This was fixed when Talbot realised that exposure times could be shortened by having a large aperture lens and a small image size.

m198202370004 Mousetrap camera

To make the mousetrap camera he used lenses out of telescopes and microscopes which he cited into cubes of 2-3inches. The name came from Talbots wife written in a letter, from when Talbot used to place the boxes around their house and wait for the sun to work it’s ‘little bit of magic’ and she referred to the boxes as mousetraps, since then the name has stuck previously stated also known as Talbot mousetrap cameras.

    • Joseph Nicéphore Niépce – born 1765 into a middle class family. He had a career in teaching and the military. in 1801 his interest in science began which is when he started to experiment and make inventions. It is possible that as early as 1793 when they started to discuss light to produce images. Although the experiments did not start until 1816 because of other interests such as combustion engines for boats. Niépce died in 1833 dreaming of recognition, but in 1839 Daguerre’s daguerreotype overshadowed Niépce’s heliograph.
    • Jerry Spagnoli – born 1956 he began working on the daguerreotype in 1995 to focus on broad information filled views. He thought that ‘daguerreotypes render things with a sense of real space and volume produces with a feeling of palpable reality.’ Spagnoli is one of the world foremost contemporary daguerreotypists shooting street scenes and portraits but in a very postmodernist way.gallery2a
    • Daguerre – Dagurreotype  – Louis Daguerre began experimenting with the effects of light upon translucent paintings in the 1820s. He formed  relationship with Niépce to improved Niépce’s process where he already created the first permanent photograph. After many years Daguerre had created a more convenient and practical method. The Daguerreotype was the first ever commercially successful photographic process. Each Daguerreotype is a unique image on a silvered copper plate. They were very expensive to make so only the wealthy could afford them. are very detailed and accurate and sharp. Because the material it is made out of they are very fragile but also very vulnerable and fragile.
    • Chuck Close – born 1940 – collaborated with Jerry Spagnoli together they produced a series of self portrait daguerreotypes as well as close up front and back nudes.’my work is all about focus and scale.’ Close is best known for his large scale photo-based paintings. Hung in London’s portrait gallery as well as many others. His work is a combination of painting and photography and printing. They are all put together to create a large scaled painting that looks like a photograph.chuck-close-daguerreotype-self-portrait

  • Brenton West  – trained in the art of silver smithing, inspired by Daguerre he took an interest into Daguerreotypes and now runs the only Daguerreotype workshop in the uk. Teaching people how to make them as well as getting them to make one themselves. The images are created on 999/1000 pure silver sheets.ChristopherBrentonWestRWA.jpg

    • Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky) ( – born 1890 considered a pioneer for surrealist photography, he was not just a photographer but a painter and film maker. He was the first photographer who’s images were more significant than his artistic work which meant her made a significant contribution to the evaluation of photography as an a form of art. Ray was inspired by expressionism and cubism his focus then changed to surrealism and dadaism after he met Marcel Duchamp. Ray created something called the rayograph without a camera but instead placing every day objects like thumb tacks and wire on top of a sheet of photosensitised paper and exposing it to light. Man Ray had created a new way of seeing which excited dadaists. He exposed the paper at least 3 times to create each rayograph, each time with a different set of objects which acted as a stencil on the paper. Man Ray said that he invented the rayograph not long after moving from new your to paris in 1921.Man_Ray,_1922,

  • Dadaism – Dada or Dadaism was a form of artistic anarchy born out of disgust for the social, political and cultural values of the time. It embraced elements of art, music, poetry, theatre, dance and politics.
  • surrealism – Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”.
  • Susan Derges – uses the landscape at nighttime as her darkroom. submerging large sheets of photographic paper in rivers using the moon and a flash light to expose the paper. trained as a painter and then turned into a photographer. it is called camera-less photography because it is creating photographs without a camera but instead using natural materials and processes.5

Jerry Spagnoli – ‘Slow exposures, small size, limited color sensitivities, temperamental chemical reactions and the difficulties in viewing the image on a sheet of polished silver all combine to present the viewer with the experience of having to negotiate the reality depicted.’


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