• This silver gelatin print is a real-photo postcard. Photographic papers with a postcard back could be purchased from any photographic supply company and were popular during the early part of the 20th century. This image was likely taken closer to the mid-20th century. The car the women depicted are posing in may be a studio prop as evidenced by the painted backdrop. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Matte collodion prints and glossy collodion prints are similar in that they are both printed out and have a collodion binder. However, they are structurally different and often toned differently. Glossy collodion prints have a thick baryta layer giving them their characteristic glossy surface sheen. Matte collodion have a very thin bartya layer or matting agents producing a semi-matte or matte surface sheen. Like glossy collodion prints, matte collodion were gold toned producing a range of purple to purple-red image tones. Matte collodion were also commonly toned with platinum, or both gold and platinum producing a range of image colors depending on the length, strength, and type of toning solution. Platinum toning produced a brown image color. This print was likely toned with more platinum than gold resulting in an olive-brown image color. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This late 19th century tintype shows a baby in a wicker baby carriage with an attached parasol. Carriages of this type were popular in the 1890s. The image was taken out doors suggesting the photographer was an itinerant photographer rather than a studio photographer. Regardless, the plate is very well made indicating the photographer was skilled. Tintypes are made on a lacquered iron plate. Typically, the plate is lacquered on both sides with a thicker layer on the side that will hold the image. This plate is only lacquered on the image side. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This sulfur toned silver gelatin DOP print was previously used for research in the library collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Silver Gelatin DOP prints first appeared in the mid 1880’s and became the most dominate printing process throughout the twentieth century. According to the handwritten label on the verso, the mummy is from an animal tomb found in Biban el Moluk or “Tomb of the Kings Valley.” The description identifies the object from the XVIII Dynasty, which was considered the first of three dynasties of the Egyptian New Kingdom. Egyptians would often raise animals in colonies and sacrifice animals either as offerings to the gods, or to accompany them in the afterlife. During the XVIII dynasty, monkeys were being imported to Egypt from the land of Punt. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This silver gelatin DOP was donated to IPI with a selection of family photographs. The photograph was made in the 1910’s and was likely made by a parent or family member. The introduction of roll film and easy-to-use cameras in the 1880’s made intimate, candid photographs like this one possible. The quality of this print suggests the photographer was a serious, skilled amateur or that the print was professionally made. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Photo collage was a popular pastime among aristocratic Victorian women. Often, as demonstrated in the image seen here, these compositions featured a photographic head on an illustrated body placed in an imaginary landscape. The subject matter depicted ranged from romanticized scenes, such as this one, to whimsical fantasies featuring human heads on animal bodies. These images were typically placed in albums, similar to today’s scrapbooks. This collage, made in 1878, features a cutout from an albumen print pasted onto a pen and ink drawing. Though the albumen binder has yellowed and the silver image has faded, retouching in the woman’s hair reveals that the photograph’s original tone and density closely matched those of the ink drawing. Explore the Identification page for Albumen to learn more about this process.
  • In this 35mm Kodachrome slide the photographer is drawing on the rich cultural symbolism of pomegranates. By showing the fruit split open, exposing its seeds, and paired with a sensual nude female statue, the symbolic meanings of fertility and marriage found in many Western and Eastern cultures are recalled. For instance, the Greek goddess Persephone was made to live in the Underworld because she had eaten the seeds of the pomegranate. She is understood as a symbol of rebirth since each spring she was allowed to emerge and spend half the year with her mother. In Christianity, the pomegranate was the fruit brought to Moses to demonstrate the fertility of the promised land. Pomegranates are also found in medieval European art, such as the famous tapestry "Unicorn in Captivity," in which the unicorn is tied to the pomegranate tree and the seeds are spilling out on him. Turkish brides throw the fruit to the ground, with the number of seeds that spill out when it bursts open indicating the number of children the couple will have. Similarly, in China the fruit is used to bestow the hope of numerous children on married couples. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • According to a handwritten inscription on the verso, this hand-colored silver gelatin developed-out print (DOP) features Alvin Therrien in the South Pacific during World War II. Soldiers deployed in the South Pacific were often equipped with machetes, such as the one pictured here, to cut through the region’s dense jungles. This silver gelatin DOP was made on a heavy weight fiber-based paper with an applied textured surface. Although not in common practice by the mid-twentieth century, the image has been heavily hand colored. Silver gelatin prints could be colored with pigments or with water-soluble colorants. Under magnification pigment particles are visible in this print indicating a pigment colorant, such as watercolor, was used. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This small, “real photo” postcard measuring 2 ¾ x 3 ½ inches is a type of novelty postcard known as a “midget” or “miniature”. It is a collodion POP that was printed on paper with a postcard back. Midget postcards were made primarily in Britain at the turn of the 20th century and were usually images of popular celebrities of the time. However, the subject matter and the text on the back of this postcard (not pictured) indicates this is a candid photograph between friends while on vacation together. Papers used for making real photo postcards were available for both the commercial and amateur photography markets. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This 35mm color transparency film depicts a sweeping landscape of mountains dotted with Scandinavian-style houses by the water. The emulsion side of the film has a distinct surface relief that is characteristic of Kodachrome film. The film was originally housed in a Pakon pre-closed plastic slide mount, which did not require the mount to be sealed or folded after the film was inserted. This unique mechanism made it impossible to imprint a processing date or sequence number on the mount until 1982. A stamped date on this mount reveals that the film was commercially processed in "JUN-84." Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The size of this tintype is referred to as “bon ton", the most common tintype size. Usually multiple images were made on a large, single plate, which were then cut apart into individual plates with tin snips. This image, measuring 2 ½ by 4 inches, would have been one of eight exposed on an 8x10 inch plate. Often, cutting the plate resulted in sharp and irregular corners, which were clipped such as those seen here. Tintypes required exposure times of a few seconds or more even in bright light. Impressively, the child in this image, likely with the aid of the props depicted and some off-camera coaxing, managed to remain still and smiling throughout the duration of the exposure. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen print is a commercial studio portrait mounted on a standard-sized cabinet card. Cabinet cards, typically measuring about 4.25 x 6.5 inches, grew popular in the 1870s, replacing the smaller carte-de-visite, which measured roughly 2.5 x 4 inches, as the dominant format for portraiture. As indicated by a handwritten date on its verso, this print was made in June of 1879. Albumen prints were made on very thin paper stock and tended to curl severely due to the difference in absorption and desorption of moisture between the paper and the albumen binder, making mounting a necessity. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This 1909 postcard is not printed, but rather embossed and painted. The paint was likely applied with an airbrush. Embossed postcards were common in the early twentieth century, sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of postcards. However, typically they were printed and embossed. A postcard that is just embossed is less common. This New Year greeting was sent to Mrs. Ira B. Myers in Ithaca, NY from her friend Margaret.
  • This silver gelatin DOP is a direct positive image likely made by a street photographer circa 1915 using a camera manufactured by the Chicago Ferrotype Company or an imitator. The Chicago Ferrotype Company was formed in 1904 by brothers Manuel and Louis Mandel. In 1907 the company began selling products marketed towards street photographers and rapidly grew to be the largest manufacturer of street photography cameras of the era. To produce this print, the photographer loaded a stack of manufactured black cards coated with a silver gelatin emulsion into a special camera outfitted with a developing tank. After exposure, the card dropped through a slot in the bottom of the camera into the tank containing what the company referred to as a "3 in 1 developing solution." The card was retrieved using a small hook-shaped tool, allowed to dry then given to the customer. These photographs are characterized by their overall dark appearance, muddy highlights and warm tone. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This chromogenic print made in 1961 is on a fiber-based support. The print exhibits image deterioration typical to prints of this vintage such as a shift in color toward the magenta due to preferential fading of the cyan dye, as well as yellowing of the borders and highlights due to coupler staining. Depicted here is Dudley Palmer, Christmas 1960. This print is part of a larger collection of photographs from the Palmer family. The Palmer collection includes images of Dudley and the tinsel laden tree nearly every Christmas from the late 1950s through the 1970s. The collection not only gives insight into amateur snapshot photography in the mid-20th century, but also gives insight into the photographic materials of the mid-20th century. Explore the Chromogenic Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This silver gelatin developed out print is mounted in a folder. The bow design is printed with letterpress (relief) as is the design on the front of the folder, which is not shown here. The photographic print has a textured surface known as the Kodak tweed surface. Tweed and tapestry textures were made by pressing the felt side of cloth into the paper support during the paper making process. A thin baryta was then applied before applying the silver gelatin emulsion. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • Following the introduction of the Kodak Brownie in 1888, photography became accessible to the average person, allowing amateur photographers to document day-to-day occurrences such as changing a tire. This silver gelatin DOP print features what appears to be a 1924 or 1925 Model T. What Kodak was to photographers, Ford was to motorists: the mass-produced Model T, manufactured from 1908 until 1927, was an affordable vehicle marketed toward common consumers. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen carte-de-visite is a composite print. Around the late 1860s, studio photographers began using masking techniques to superimpose a variety of backgrounds and props with portraits of their sitters. The background seen here was likely a painting, which was photographed to produce a negative. The photographer created a mask for this negative and for the negative of the sitter then combined the two images during printing. This technique was perfected by Daniel and David Bendann of Baltimore in 1872. Their patented method of compositing portraits with scenery was known as "Bendann Backgrounds." Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This silver gelatin DOP print was likely made during the late 1920s to early 1930s. Wild turkeys are native to the North American continent. However, due to colonization and deforestation, wild turkey populations began to decline during the late 18th century. Around the time this photograph was taken, the number of wild turkeys throughout the United States and Canada had reached an all-time low. Following World War II, state and federal hunting regulations and land preservation mandates helped restore the dwindling turkey population. Although this print has been hand colored, much of the colorant has faded. It is likely that this print spent several years exposed to light while on display in a frame. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Judging by the simple set and informal nature of the image, this unusual duo was likely photographed at a low-end studio or by an itinerant photographer. Tintypes were relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. Photographers could prepare the plate then expose and process the image within a few minutes. Perhaps working in haste, this photographer managed to leave fingerprints in the collodion while coating, processing or handling the still-wet plate. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This print was made using offset lithography, a photomechanical process that combines lithography, photography and offset printing. The image was made from a photograph, which was broken up into halftones in order to create ink reproductions. The halftone process involves the use of a process camera, which captures an image (projected through an angled halftone screen) on a sheet of high-contrast film. This patterned film is used to photographically create a lithographic plate. During printing, the inked plate bearing the halftone image is printed onto a rubber blanket before being transferred (or offset) to its final substrate. Though not present in this copy, the title “Efforts” is typically printed below this image. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This offset lithograph postcard of Oblong Geyser Crater, Yellowstone National Park was published by Frank Jay Haynes. Haynes began photographing in Yellowstone National Park in 1881. His target audience was tourists who were beginning to visit the park by the Northern Pacific railway, which was completed in 1883. Haynes was the official photographer for the Northern Pacific and became known as the “official” photographer of the park. He established several studios throughout the park and began publishing postcard views in 1897. This postcard is on a textured paper known as linen paper. It was printed with cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, which are called process colors. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This twentieth century lithograph titled Dance Macabre is a modern adaptation of the medieval allegory of the universality of death, Danse Macabre, or Dance of Death. In medieval representations, the personification of death comes for individuals representing all stations of society from kings to peasants. This modern interpretation is more literal, as Death appears to be actually dancing. The lithograph was done in the pen and ink style, one of most prominent styles of lithographic drawing. Pen and ink style lithographs closely resemble pen and ink line drawings. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This real photo postcard depicts a group of men bathing and shaving outdoors. The German text, “Big Wash, Campaign 1914/15,” indicates the men depicted are likely German soldiers. The image is surprising playful considering it was taken at the dawn of of the First World War. The slightly warm image tonalities are due to silver image deterioration. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen print portrait of a boy is quite large, the mount measures 8x10 inches. The inscription on the back indicates it was taken in February 1866. The print also has two, one cent revenue stamps on the back. In order to help finance the Civil War, Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1862. Among other things, it required revenue, or tax, stamps to be purchased and placed on certain goods and services, particularly luxury items like playing cards and tobacco. In June of 1864, Congress placed a new luxury tax on photographs requiring photographers to apply a US revenue stamp on the back of photographs. The act was repealed in August of 1866. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This mid-20th century silver gelatin print was possibly made by a professional press photographer. The print is 8x10 inches, ferrotyped, and it is well made suggesting it was printed for reproduction and was not an amateur snapshot. The name of the performer "Ruthie Lee" is written on the back of the print. However, there is no caption adhered to the back or press stamp suggesting it was likely never published. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • An alien, likely a Martian, is depicted proudly walking an Airedale Terrier down the street in this late 20th century chromogenic print. Although the photograph has no backprint indicating the photographic paper manufacturer, the surface texture and sheen is very similar to the Kodak E surface resin coated paper. The E surface was introduced in 1976. The style of clothing worn by the onlookers of this seen suggest this print was likely made in the first years of the E surface production. To create the distinctive texture, pigmented polyethylene was extruded onto the paper support, passing through a nip and was cooled against a textured steel roller called a "chill roll." Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This Dye Transfer print was made as an illustration for the 1951 Kodak Dye Transfer Process data book, which describes how to use the process. Included in the data book is a full color illustration of this image as well as illustrations of the separation negatives used to make the print. This Dye Transfer print is part of IPI’s Condax Collection. The Collection includes materials from Louis Condax and his son Phillip. Louis Condax was a Kodak Research Scientist and is known as the father of the Dye Transfer process. Many of the prints in the Collection were made by Louis himself or under his direction in the Kodak Research Lab, including this print. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This image was made using a gelatin dry plate negative, which has been inverted using digital editing tools to appear positive. The photograph documents The McCall Grocery Co. in Newark, NY in the 1890s. The commercial introduction of gelatin dry plate in the 1880s marked the birth of the modern photographic industry. The dry plate was easier to use than its predecessor, the wet plate collodion negative, making photography more accessible to a broader audience creating a new class of amateur photographers. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen print depicts a woman in a three-quarter pose gazing out beyond the camera from an open window. The drapery is pulled aside giving the viewer a glimpse the inside of the home. By the late 19th century many photographic studios had elaborate studio sets and props. Closer inspection of this image reveals that the window is a painted studio prop. The “home” is likely the studio arranged to look like a domestic interior. While studio sets and backdrops emulating outdoor scenes are fairly common, window scenes like this showing a mix in interior and exterior space is less common. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This Swedish made collodion cabinet card is a composite print. Decorative masks used to frame the image were common in the late 19th century in the United States and Europe. This mask suggests an interior space appearing as if this is a photograph of a photograph, framed and hung on a wall complete with wall paper and a flower arrangement. In reality the image of the frame and wall was a separate negative. Images such as this would have been more labor intensive and difficult to make than using a standard studio backdrop. This print is also made on a paper with a pink tinted baryta giving the image an overall pink color cast. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This tintype depicts a group of young men and women. The exact circumstances surrounding the image are unclear. The women are wearing American Civil War style military hats, however the rest of their attire suggests post reconstruction, likely the 1880s. This is further evidenced by pince-nez eye glasses worn by the woman on the left. Pince-nez glasses reached peak popularity from 1880 to 1900. Two of the women are also wearing flag pins and two have flowers. The man in the back left is in military uniform and the man in the front left is wearing a uniform under his overcoat. The studio backdrop and props are minimal with the exception of an oddly placed branch in the lower right coming across the knee of the man seated on the right. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The outdoor setting of this albumen cabinet card is fairly uncommon. Made in the 1870s, cabinet cards of this vintage were typically made in photographic studios with props and backdrops, although outdoor images were made by itinerant photographers. While little is known of the Van Woert studio in Oneonta, NY, there are no other known images by this studio that were taken outside suggesting Van Woert was not an itinerant photographer. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This 1930s silver gelatin DOP snapshot depicts two couples posed in front of their cars. The car models are difficult to identify, but appear similar to models produced by Chrysler in the late 1930s. Cars are a symbol of wealth and status. This was particularly true in the United States in the 1930s in the midst of the Great Depression. Despite the economic depression, car technology improved greatly during this decade with innovations including the automatic transmission and hydraulic breaks. The print was likely contact printed. It’s on a slightly textured, semi-gloss paper with no back print to indicate the paper manufacturer. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Composite prints using a decorative mask to frame the subject were popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While some masks were decorative, some were more thematic and perhaps pointed towards the sitter’s personal interests, such as this image in which the sitter is framed by a bicycle wheel. Safety bicycles were introduced in the late 1880s and ignited an American bicycle craze which reached its peak in the 1890s. They were called “safety” bicycles because they were safer than the penny-farthing bicycle, the models with the giant front wheel. Bicycling became linked with the women’s movement of the 1890s. Susan B. Anthony was quoted in an 1896 issue of New York World’s saying bicycling had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” It is possible the woman depicted here was an avid cyclist and even a suffragette engaged in “The New Woman” movement of the 1890s. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen carte-de-visite was likely made in the mid to late 1860s. A combination of factors help to date this print. The sitter’s attire is typical of the mid to late 1860s. She wears a silk dress with a very full skirt and somewhat puffy sleeves. Also, her hair is parted in the center. The mount is plain with no studio information suggesting it is a relatively early CDV, however it is a relatively thick board. The image is nearly full-figure. Throughout the 19th century CDV mounts become thicker and more elaborate. The full-figure as well as vignetted heads were popular in the 1860s. Bust portraits become more popular in the 1870s. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This snapshot was printed in the early 1950s on Kodak Velox paper. Velox was a silver chloride paper invented by Leo Baekeland, inventor of Bakelite plastics, in the early 1890s and produced by Kodak from 1899 through the 1970s. Velox is a Latin term meaning “rapid,” a characteristic featured in advertisements for the product. Amateur photographers often used Velox paper for contact printing snapshot negatives. Exposure took less than a minute and could be completed using gas or electric lamp light. Prints are easily identified by a “Velox” back stamp. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • During the early years of the hand camera era, ushered in by Kodak in 1888, snapshot photography was immensely popular amongst women. As the growing middle class began to devote time to leisure activities, scenes of hobbies and relaxation were often depicted photographically and gathered together in family photo albums by women in the household. This print was made with the cyanotype process likely using a commercial pre-sensitized cyanotype paper such as Eastman’s Ferro-Prussiate paper. The medium was popular due to its simplicity: to produce a print, consumers needed only to expose the paper to sunlight beneath a negative then develop it in water. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • In this early 20th century photograph, the young man’s playful interaction with the camera is typical of photo booth images. However, this print was not made in a photo booth. It was likely made using an automated photo machine developed by General Electric or a penny picture camera with a sliding back that would allow for up to sixteen or twenty-four exposures on a single 5x7 dry plate. These systems, popularly called “penny pictures” were precursors to the photo booth. While photo booth prints are on direct positive, water-resisted supports giving them black borders and a plastic backing, penny pictures are on fiber-based paper supports and do not have black borders. Like the photo booth, earlier automated photo machines and sliding back cameras produced a series of sequential images. The automated camera or camera operator left time between exposures for the sitter(s) to change props and poses. The resulting images range from serious to silly as observed here. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This silk fan is an example of a collotype with hand-applied color. Because collotype is a soft plate process, images could be printed on textured substrates such as fabric without a loss of detail. The collotype process was popularized in Japan by photographer and printer Ogawa Kazumasa during the late 19th century. Kazumasa studied photographic and printing processes in Boston and Philadelphia from 1882-1884 before returning to Japan and establishing the country’s first collotype printing company in 1889. Collotype is a photomechanical process combining planographic and photographic technologies. Printing plates are produced based on the light sensitivity dichromated colloids. From the plates, images are printed using greasy ink in a manner similar to that of lithography. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This letterpress halftone postcard postmarked on March 10, 1904 features Gertie Millar, a popular English theatre performer during the early 20th century. Millar rose to fame while performing at the London Gaiety Theatre from 1901-1910. The venue featured musical comedy shows and employed female dancers known as the Gaiety Girls, the popularity of which inspired the production of several “girl” themed musicals. Millar became one of the most famous Gaiety Girls and often performed in leading roles. This postcard was produced using two different processes. A black ink image was printed using letterpress halftone then false color (color selected by hand) was applied using chromolithography. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This Silver Gelatin DOP print is from a family photograph album containing photographs dated 1915 to 1919. This print was made around 1916. Many of the images in the album feature this group of young women engaging in playful scenes. By 1918 the influence of World War I becomes apparent as the photographs shift to images of women in Red Cross nurse uniforms and men in military uniforms. Compiling photograph albums was a common activity dating back to the mid 19th century. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This daguerreotype is a sixth plate, the most common size for American daguerreotypes. Notice the sitter holds a book and her hands appear very large. This is an optical distortion due to the short focal length of portrait lenses used at the time. This effect could be minimized through careful posing. The plate itself is in fairly good condition considering the damage to the case. Case damage as seen here is common and often caused by poor handling and excessive dryness and humidity. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • An itinerant or street photographer likely made this image. Itinerant photographers, later referring to themselves as street or sidewalk photographers, were individuals who travelled with photographic supplies in order to produce and sell photographs on the spot. During the mid 19th century into the early 20th century, these photographers often carted portable darkrooms with them via horse drawn wagon or bicycle. The earliest practitioners created daguerreotypes and adopted new processes as photographic technology advanced. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This early twentieth century Collodion POP was likely made by an amateur photographer. With the introduction of gelatin dry plate and then roll film, photography became easier and more accessible, allowing more people to become amateur photographers. This in turn increased demand for manufactured photographic papers marking the birth of the modern photographic industry. This print is mounted to a square, cream card mount typical of this time period. Explore the Collodion POP Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This image was taken from the Nuremberg Chronicle, a well-known biblical paraphrase by Hartmann Schedel published in 1493. The book was among the first to include both images and text. It was published in both Latin and German. Seen here is a page from the German Translation. The images and text were printed by Anton Koberger, owner of one of the largest publishing houses in Europe at the time. The book contains 1,804 images made from 652 woodblocks. Some copies, such as from the one seen here on the right, were hand colored at the request of purchasers. Explore the Relief Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This gelatin dry plate lantern slide was made by a member of an amateur photography club in the early twentieth century. As photographic technology advanced and the medium became easier to use and less expensive photography clubs expanded throughout the United States and Europe. These clubs provided a space for serious amateurs and artists to meet and to separate themselves from weekend snapshot amateurs. The major format for sharing their work with fellow club members was through slide projection. Many photographers paid as much attention to making a fine slide as they did to making a fine print. Explore the Gelatin Dry Plate Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • On the verso of this silver gelatin DOP snapshot, a handwritten inscription reads, “Cave at La Jolla.” Located in San Diego, La Jolla is an ocean front community and popular tourist destination. This image was taken in one of the seven caves found within the sandstone cliff face of La Jolla Cove. This particular cave is referred to as “Sunny Jim.” Although the origin of the name is unknown, it is widely believed to have been coined by Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz,” who noted the shape of the opening resembled the character Sunny Jim featured on Force Food Company cereal products. This naturally occurring cave was made accessible by land in 1903 by Gustav Schulz who hired laborers to construct a stairway passage down to the cave’s opening. Tourists, such as those silhouetted here, paid a small fee to utilize the passage, which is still in operation today. Take a guided tour of a similar photograph to learn more about this process.
  • Matte albumen is a variation of the albumen printing process. Aesthetic trends throughout the mid to late 19th century shifted towards glossier surface sheens peaking with double coated albumen, glossy collodion POP, and gelatin POP. However, with the introduction and popularization of platinum papers some photographers desired a more matte surface. In 1895 matte albumen papers were introduced and were commercially produced until the late 1920s, primarily in Europe. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • Although easily mistaken for a muskrat, the white rodent seen here is a nutria. Nutria are large semi-aquatic rodents native to South America. They were introduced to the United States in 1889 for their fur and have since become recognized as an invasive species, particularly in states along the Gulf Coast. They are typically brown, and can be distinguished from muskrats based upon their larger size, round tails, webbed feet and prominent whiskers. The docile nutria in this image exhibits albinism, a congenital absence of pigmentation. Take a guided tour of a similar photograph to learn more about this process.
  • This nineteenth century steel engraving is mostly mezzotint with some added detail in etching. The engraver, John Sartain, is well known for his mezzotints. Nineteenth century mezzotints often include other techniques and were made on steel plates, while eighteenth century mezzotints do not include other techniques and were made on copper plates. Steel is much harder, therefore it allows for fine, shallow lines that are close together, resulting in more detailed images with a lighter gray tone. Explore the Intaglio Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • The gum dichromate, also called gum bichromate, process was favored by Pictorialist photographers for its painterly qualities. Pictorialist artists strove to elevate photography to the status of fine art and to separate themselves from the masses of amateur snapshot photographers. Pictorialists emulated the aesthetics of painting and printmaking and often utilized labor-intensive printing methods, such as gum dichromate. The end of Pictorialism is often marked with Alfred Stieglitz’s transition to Modernism and the end of his publication, Camera Work in 1917. Take a guided tour of a similar photograph to learn more about this process.
  • This early twentieth century postcard was printed using color lithography, also known as chromolithography. In the mid to late 19th century, at the height of commercial color lithographic printing, color lithographs began to be known as chromolithographs. The term color lithograph was then reserved for the work of artists or “up-market” prints. Commercial chromolithographs were often made with a stipple technique giving them a dotted appearance. Making a color print required a separate stone for each color to be printed. Take a guided tour of a similar photograph to learn more about this process.
  • This Silver Gelatin DOP real photo postcard was made by the Rotograph Company, a major printer and publisher of postcards in the early twentieth century. The company’s German founders were Ludgwig Knackstedt, who owned a commercial printing company specializing in German Views, and Arthur Schwartz, who was a photographic materials manufacturer specializing in silver gelatin bromide papers. They bought the National Art Views Company in 1904 allowing them to publish American views under the Rotograph name. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP Identification page to learn more about this process.
  • Based upon the women’s attire and bobbed hair, this silver gelatin DOP snapshot was likely made during the mid to late 1920s. Prior to WWI, female skiers conventionally wore billowing ankle length skirts. Their engagement in the sport did not typically extend beyond a leisurely pastime reserved for the upper class. Following the War, as skiing grew more popular and societal perceptions of women shifted, an increasing amount of women took to the slopes. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The precursor to the daguerreotype was the portrait miniature popular between the 16th and mid 19th centuries. These small painted portraits were placed in decorative cases or in jewelry and kept as mementos of loved ones. The tradition of the painted miniature was replaced with the daguerreotype in the 1840s. Like its predecessor daguerreotypes were also cased and incorporated into jewelry such as this locket. This locket has a double portrait, likely a married couple. Lockets are also found with a single portrait and sometimes with a lock of hair. Explore Daguerreotype formats to learn more about this process.
  • Donning a stylish flat-brim baseball cap, this woman was likely featured in a local publication such as a city newspaper. This print was made on stabilization paper, a silver gelatin paper manufactured with developer crystals incorporated into the emulsion in order to facilitate extremely rapid print processing. This type of paper was often used by news agencies to create source prints for the photomechanical reproductions used in their publications. The print includes markings in the borders indicating how the image should be cropped. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This 1960s stereo Kodachrome from the Edith and Silvio J. Treves Collection depicts the Temple of Jupiter in Baʿalbek, Lebanon. The Romans built three temples on this site: Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus with the largest being Jupiter, which was constructed in the first century AD. The Treveses traveled extensively documenting each trip using Kodachrome stereoview slides. When viewed through a special viewer the images appeared in 3-D. Stereo was a popular format in the 1950s and 1960s.Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The most distinctive feature of this object is the mount, which helps to date this carte de visite to ca. 1865. Early mounts such as this, are thin, usually made of higher quality paper, and were used between 1860 and 1866. Later mounts are thicker and usually composed of good quality paper on the front and back with a core of poor quality paper. This mount is also slightly smaller (2 3/8 x 4 in.) than what became the standardized size for CDV mounts (2 ½ x 4 in.). The ornamental motif, a lithographically printed oval frame with tassels and a hanging cord is sometimes referred to as a “cartouche,” and was used between 1865 and 1868. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • “Desert Sweethearts” was published by Western Publishing and Novelty Company, a popular Los Angeles based publisher of materials for California’s tourism industry. This postcard features a pair of snuggling burros described as “hardy shaggy little animals” by a caption printed on the verso. Postmarked August 12, 1949, the writer recounts recent highlights of her trip to California: butter rum ice cream, visiting a friend and ironing. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The strikingly rich red tone of this real photo silver gelatin DOP postcard was produced by toning the print, possibly with uranium or copper. Metal ferricyanide toning converts the silver image into a silver ferricyanide complex, which is then converted to a ferricyanide salt of a different metal (iron, copper, uranium). Metal ferricyanide toning can result in a diverse rainbow of image colors. Explore the Identification page for Silver Gelatin DOP to learn more about this process.
  • This Johnsons Colour screen plate shows a brain with tuberculous meningitis, an infection of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by the same bacteria responsible for tuberculosis (TB), Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The screen plate process is based on a theory introduced by Louis Ducos du Hauron in 1868 in which he said a color image could be produced by placing a screen made up of colored stripes in front of a light sensitive emulsion. After processing, the image is viewed back through the same screen giving the illusion of full color. Explore Screen Plate variations to learn more about this process.
  • This etching is a simplified copy of a ca. 1545 woodcut by Nicolo Boldrini, which is after a design by Titian, which is a parody of the Hellenistic marble sculpture, the Laocoön Group. The original sculpture, which was excavated in Rome in 1506, depicts the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons being strangled by sea serpents. The sculpture was extremely influential to Renaissance artists. Titian parodied the sculpture portraying the figures as apes, perhaps as a commentary on the adulation of the sculpture by his contemporaries although the meaning of the parody is not truly known. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This group portrait depicts three sitters. Notice the man on the left is slightly blurred and the man on the right has a book in his hand. Improvements to daguerreotype chemistry and camera technology reduced exposure times from 30 minutes to several seconds making portraiture possible by the early 1840s. Nonetheless sitting perfectly still for an exposure of several seconds could be challenging. The man on the left must have moved slightly during the exposure. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This week marks the 81st anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth. Presley was born January 8, 1935 in Tupelo Mississippi. The "King" cut his first demo record in 1953 and his first single, "That’s All Right," in 1954. This chromogenic snapshot of Presley in concert was made near the end of his life. Manufacturers and printing labs began printing chromogenic prints without borders in the mid 1970s. Presley died of heart failure in August 1977. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This holiday card is a silver gelatin developed out print with a textured surface resembling the Kodak “G” surface. The inscription is hand-written in black marker. With magnification, the paper fibers are slightly visible indicating the distinctive texture was applied to the paper support, followed by the application of a thin baryta layer and the gelatin binder. This surface was popular in the mid-20th century for both amateur and professional photographers. Everyone at IPI (as well as "Sis and the Tad") wish you a Happy New Year! Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • These chromogenic prints from 1970 are part of a larger collection of photographs from the Palmer family. Depicted here is the son, Dudley Palmer, at Christmas in 1969 opening a Polaroid camera. The Palmer collection includes images of Dudley and the tinsel laden tree nearly every Christmas from the late 1950s through the 1970s. The collection not only gives insight into amateur snapshot photography in the mid-20th century, but also gives insight into the photographic materials of the mid-20th century. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The tradition of children posing for a portrait with Santa likely began sometime in the mid 20th century as photography became faster, easier and less expensive. However, before the ability to instantly view the image, there was a certain amount of chance involved—with luck and good timing all the sitters may be looking at the camera, smiling, and not blinking. This silver gelatin DOP print has been ferrotyped; a common finishing method in which a wet print was dried against a hot metal sheet to create a glossy surface. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This chromogenic print of a "Texas Christmas Tree" was made in 1969. Between 1959 and 1968 dramatic improvements were made to the stability of the dyes as well as the couplers in chromogenic materials. However, this print was stored in a relatively humid environment and in a cellulose acetate sleeve. This combination of factors caused the yellow dye to preferentially fade resulting in a slight shift in color. The borders and highlights have also yellowed due to deterioration of residual color couplers. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • On February 21, 1947 inventor and Polaroid co-founder Edwin Land demonstrated a new one-step photographic process at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The process, as Land explained, “produce[d] finished positive pictures, directly from the camera, in about one minute after the exposure.” The system consisted of a specially designed camera—the Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 – and film. The film was a product of three years of experimentation with various means of diffusion transfer. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This photo booth photograph measuring 3 x 2.5 inches bears the Photomatic trademark and design on its cardboard back. By the 1930s, Photomatic was one of many coin-operated public amusements manufactured by the Mutascope Reel Company of New York. The image came cased in a frame and was produced in a mere sixty seconds on silver gelatin reversal paper. Due to the fast processing time, these prints often contain residual fixer, indicated by an unfavorable yellowing of the image. Residual sulphur compounds from the fixer have also interacted with the metal in the frame to produce rainbow-colored bands of tarnish in the image areas around the frame. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This collodion POP depicts a group of ladies (and one boy) behind a love seat displaying pillows, which the group likely made. The photograph bares hallmarks of amateur, or snapshot, photography. For example, most of the women are looking to the right suggesting there is another photographer present giving the image a haphazard feel. It was common for amateur photographers to mount prints to card mounts. While professional studios used standardized sized mounts, such as the cabinet card, a wider range of shapes and sizes were available for the amateur market. The rectangular, textured cream colored mount seen here was a popular choice for amateurs. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Dufaycolor Film was a "combined system" on a cellulose acetate base. In combined screen plate or film systems, the panchromatic emulsion is applied directly to the screen film. Dufaycolor was a revival of an earlier screen plate product on a glass support called Dufay Dioptichrome, which was available from 1909 to 1914. It was produced by Guillemino Boespflug et Compagnie of Paris and marketed by the Societe des plaques et pruduits. Dufaycolor was re-introduced in 1932 as a motion picture film. In 1935 it was re-introduced as roll, sheet and pack film by Ilford that included processing services. Dufaycolor was the last popular screen film manufactured, ceasing production in 1958. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This Polaroid dye diffusion transfer print in a souvenir frame is from Gilley’s Club, a Pasadena, Texas honkey tonk bar founded in 1971 by country singer Mickey Gilley. It featured live music, multiple bars, and mechanical bulls, as seen here. The 1980 film, Urban Cowboy, was shot there, which helped give the establishment national notoriety. Gilley’s closed in 1989. Polaroid introduced color peel apart pack film in 1963. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This woodburytype is a page from the popular 19th century magazine, The Theatre: A Monthly Review and Magazine. The Theatre published critical reviews of performances throughout Europe and articles on popular actors and actresses. The magazine also included woodburytype prints of thespians with printed inscriptions. This print depicts actress Lizzie St. Quinten dressed for the role of Mephisto, possibly for the operetta, Le Petit Faust, a parody of the operatic version of Faust. The inscription is lithographically printed and consists of a line from the play "I am sincerity itself" as well as the name of the character, actress, and the date (1881), presumably all in St. Quinten’s handwriting. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This negative features portraits of two different individuals. To save time and money, wet plate photographers offten utilized cameras manufactured with multiple lenses or a movable back or lens. Multiplying cameras allowed photographers to maximize the number of exposures made on a single wet-plate, thus lowering the cost of producing portraits. While this negative features just two exposures, extreme versions of the multiplying camera were used in the production of small tintype portraits called gems, and could make up to seventy-two portraits on a single 4x5 inch plate. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This ruby glass ambrotype is one of a set. Both are housed in cases covered in brown leather with simple, but elegant gold tooling. Each portrait is well executed and the plates are exquisitely made. This combination of good-quality materials and craftsmanship suggest they were made by a high-end professional studio photographer. An ambrotype is a slightly under exposed wet plate collodion negative that when put against a dark background appears positive. The term “ruby glass” refers to the fact that this ambrotype was made on dark red glass, rather than clear glass, and therefore requires no dark background. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Known as a magic lantern slide, this woodburytype positive transparency was typically viewed by transmitted light with a magic lantern. The process for creating a woodburytype lantern slide was similar to making a woodburytype print: the printer produced a gelatin matrix from a photographic negative, used a hydraulic press to create a lead mold of the gelatin matrix, filled the lead mold with pigmented gelatin and pressed it against a glass plate. This created a positive pigment image on the plate with a slight relief; the gelatin is thickest in the image’s shadows. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This photograph depicting two men and a truck labeled “explosives” is a Polaroid diffusion transfer (peel-apart) print. It was made using Polaroid Type 41 film, which was the second generation Polaroid peel-apart pack film introduced in 1950 and marketed until 1959. Type 41 film was orthochromatic meaning it was only sensitive to blue and green light. The prints have characteristic deckled edges and measure 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ inches. Polaroid was introduced as the world’s first instantaneous photographic process. The film consisted of negative film and positive receiving paper sandwiched together with a pod of processing chemicals. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This print was likely made in the early 1920s as evidenced by the sitter’s style of dress. While the leaders of the Photo Secession began to move away from Pictorialism by the late 1910s, the movement remained popular with amateur fine art photographers until the 1930s. Many photographers championed the bromoil transfer process because it allowed them a great amount of control over the final image. They could print on a variety of papers, use a variety of colors of ink. By hand applying the ink they had control over contrast and detail, and the process gave a desired soft, painterly image. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This image was taken by Scotty Welbourne, head of the stills department at Warner Brothers between 1941 and 1945. As a photographer, Welbourne produced images of Hollywood notables such as Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis. Later in his career he worked as a cinematographer and director of photography under the name Charles S. Welborn. Likely taken in the early 1940s, this silver gelatin print includes the photographer’s stamp on the back and is exhibiting signs of deterioration. Exposure to air pollutants commonly leads to fading and silver mirroring along the edges of silver gelatin prints. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The daguerreotype was the very first commercially successful photographic process. Introduced in 1839, the daguerreotype bears the name of its inventor, Louis Jacque Mandé Daguerre. The process is unique in that it is based on the light sensitivity of pure silver metal to the halogens, iodine, bromine, and chlorine. Other silver based photographic processes require the combination of silver ion in solution (silver nitrate) with a halide (iodide, bromide, and chloride) also in solution. Following Daguerre’s specifications the process was slow, suitable only for landscapes and still lifes. However, after several improvements to the process by many artists and chemists the process was capable of exposures short enough for portraiture by the early 1840s. This plate is hand colored, which was relatively common for portrait daguerreotypes. The colorant consists of finely ground pigment and is usually applied to cheeks, lips, and sometimes clothing. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • Eighty years ago Kodachrome, the first commercially viable chromogenic photographic material in the form of transparency film, was introduced. This chromogenic print depicts the inventors of this process, professional musicians and university-trained scientists, Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky. The chromogenic process relies on the interaction of colorless compounds, called dye couplers, with oxidized developer to produce visible color dyes where silver is present. The materials consist of an integral tripack in which three silver gelatin emulsions are superimposed, each spectrally sensitive to red, green, or blue light. The dye couplers were also incorporated into each emulsion layer, however, scientists could not keep the dyes from migrating between emulsion layers. This problem was overcome by Godowsky and Mannes by incorporating the couplers into the developer and introducing them during development. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This is an example of an amateur photograph taken ca. 1900. Notice this domestic scene lacks the sophistication of a studio portrait; there is motion blur and the subject is harshly lit from the right, but the light falls off in the upper right corner. These image characteristics point to an important transition in the popular use of photography and the advent of a new kind of amateur. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • Underwater photography was possible as early as the mid-1850s. Advancements in photographic technology and cameras made photographing in water increasingly easier until the late 20th century when camera manufacturers offered disposable, one time use, water proof cameras. This chromogenic print was likely made from a negative made using a disposable water proof camera on what may be an amateur snorkeling excursion. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This commercial studio portrait is an albumen print mounted on a standard-sized cabinet card, a format which replaced the carte de visite as the dominant medium for portraiture in the last quarter of the 19th century. The tan mount has rounded corners and its edge is colored with bronze ink. The image has a warm brown-purple tone, typical of albumen prints. The use of the albumen process, the color of the mount, and the studio composition of the standing figures suggest this portrait dates from the 1880s. Take a guided tour of a this object.
  • Tintypes were popularized in the 1860s as a less costly and more durable alternative to the ambrotype, which utilized glass plates. Tintypes have a thin, lacquered iron support—tintype is a misnomer referring to the thinness of the metal support, which was cut into smaller sizes using tinsnips. Both ambrotypes and tintypes are a variation of the wet plate collodion process in which the support is coated with salted collodion (collodion with iodide and bromide salts), sensitized in a silver nitrate bath, exposed in camera and processed while still wet. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This silver gelatin DOP features a boy not so proudly displaying the day’s catch. This print is on resin-coated (RC) paper; the paper base is sandwiched between two layers of polyethylene. Commercially introduced in the late 1960’s, RC papers are more water-resistant and require less darkroom processing time than fiber-based papers, making them a popular paper for amateur and student work. In addition, RC papers have also been used for press prints. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • In this chromogenic slide, Hawaiian Hula dancers pose in front of Diamond Head, a volcanic tuff cone located on the island of O’ahu. Known to Hawaiian as Lēʻahi, this landmark received its English name from 19th century sailors who mistakenly identified calcite crystals on a nearby beach as diamonds. As the volcano has become a symbol of the Hawaiian Islands, tourist shops and have capitalized on Diamond Head’s distinctive silhouette, selling souvenir items like this chromogenic slide. Likely purchased with a set of Hawaii-Chrome Travel Slides, this slide was mass-produced. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This is a late 19th or early 20th century example of a photographic print on silk using the salted "paper" process. Interest in printing photographs on fabric extends almost as far back as the invention of photography itself. Early photographers experimenting with photographic processes extended their interest to printing on fabric as an alternative surface. There are early accounts of printing on silk in addition to wood, glass, and ivory, among other surfaces and fabrics. In addition, patents were taken out to provide instructions for printing on fabric. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • Featuring a finely bearded gentleman, this albumen portrait is a carte-de-visite (CDV), one of the most popular photographic formats of the mid to late 19th century. An imprint on the back of the CDV indicates the producers: Bonta and Curtiss of 24 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York. The CDV was a popular photographic format from the 1860’s to 1890’s when the Cabinet Card largely replaced it. This CDV is includes the sitter’s head and shoulders, is vignetted, and has a plain background; this portrait style is typical of a mid-period CDV. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This gelatin dry plate negative has been digitally inverted to display as a positive. It depicts two exposures of the same individual, creating the illusion that the subject is conversing with himself. To create this trick photograph, the photographer made two separate exposures, masking one half of the photograph while exposing the opposing half. From the 1860’s to the 1930’s, trick photography was a popular form of entertainment. The introduction of the gelatin dry plate process in the 1880’s only increased the prevalence of trick photography. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • In the early 1880s Friedrich Carl Hoesch invented a new method for making color collotypes called Hoeschotypes. Often utilized to reproduce paintings, the process used only five colors: yellow, red, blue, gray, and black, which could be combined to make over 1,600 shades. These early color collotypes were made in a similar manner as chromolithographs (color lithographs). Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This stereoview is an example of a paper stereo transparency, also known as a hold-to-light stereocard or French Tissue. Stereoviews consist of two images mounted to board for parallel viewing. Images were usually taken with a special two lens camera to capture the subject from two points of view roughly 2 ½ inches apart to replicate binocular vision. When viewed with transmitted light, this monochrome image becomes colored. Paper stereo transparencies constructed after 1856 consist of a cut out window mat, albumen print with hand applied color on the verso, tissue paper and a cut out window backing. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This dye imbibition image is an experimental Dye Transfer print made by Louis M. Condax in the early 1950s. Condax and his business partner, Robert P. Speck, are credited with inventing the Kodak Dye Transfer, a proprietary form of dye imbibition process. In August 2014, IPI acquired a portion of Condax’s research materials, including five "dichroic" or two-color prints. This photograph, likely printed from a negative used for a Kodak advertisement then donated to the research laboratory, is reminiscent of early Kodachrome glass plates and motion picture film. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • From the Edith and Silvio J. Treves Collection, this stereo transparency features Mrs. Treves posing on a camel in front of an Egyptian pyramid. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Treveses were accomplished tourists; their travels took them to Northern Europe as well as parts of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Latin America. Mr. Treves, an avid amateur photographer, documented their adventures in 3-D with Kodachrome stereoview slides. To create this effect, Mr. Treves used a special two lens camera to capture the subject from two angles roughly 2 ½ inches apart to replicate binocular vision. The resulting pair of 23 x 24mm slides were then mounted together for parallel viewing. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Handwritten text on the verso of this matte collodion print indicates this photograph was taken in July of 1915. The mount is stamped with the photographer’s name and studio location. Johanne Hesbeck operated a portrait studio in Holte (Denmark) from 1914 until her death in 1927. Here she has depicted a soldier with his two children. Because Denmark was a neutral nation throughout WWI, this soldier was presumably a foreigner. Based upon his sword, shoulder insignia and geographic proximity, he was probably a member of the German cavalry. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This is an example of an Agfacolor screen product likely on a glass support. Agfacolor is a "combined system", meaning the panchromatic emulsion is applied directly to the screen plate. Agfa Color Plate on a glass support, or Agfa Farbenplatten, was first introduced in 1916 despite the struggles of WWI. After the war, the product underwent several improvements and was released outside of Germany. Each improvement resulted in a slight change in the product name. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • Warren’s Portraits, founded by George W. Warren inventor of the photo-illustrated college yearbook, was known for its performing arts and collegiate portraiture. This albumen CDV was made at the 465 Washington Street studio in Boston, MA. The studio operated at this location from the late 1870s until 1884 when it was purchased and renamed. It is likely this woman was a university student; the crucifix suggests she was enrolled in a local school of theology. Prominently displayed are her pince nez eyeglasses. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Between the 1940s and 70s, dye imbibition was the preferred method for producing color photographs to be used in advertising and fashion. This print presumably served as source material for an advertisement – although the product it sought to promote is a matter of speculation. Dye imbibition prints are in the family of subtractive color assembly processes in which cyan, magenta and yellow images are layered to produce a full color image. This print is comprised of the three aforementioned color dyes in a gelatin-coated paper. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • In 1854, American photographer and inventor James Ambrose Cutting developed a method for adhering two pieces of glass together using Canada balsam (resin). Though meant as a way to hermetically seal the ambrotypes as a preservation method, the process was ultimately unnecessary as the varnish layer itself worked extremely well as a protectant. In fact, ambrotypes that utilized Cutting's patent are known to exhibit deterioration caused by the technique, as seen in the yellowish-green hue of this image. Interestingly, Cutting's lasting contribution to the ambrotype was his naming of the process, which was taken from the Greek word meaning "imperishable" and suggested to him by fellow photographer Marcus A. Root. Cutting changed his middle name to Ambrose in honor of the process later in his life. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • Highly decorated novelty postcards were extremely popular in Europe during the early 20th century. This silver gelatin postcard was manufactured in Paris, home to several major postcard publishing houses. The publisher’s trademark "KF" is located in the lower right corner of the card. The image was extensively embellished during and after the printing process. The white fleck pattern appears to have been added to the negative then further enhanced with glitter paints. Small sequins were strategically glued to the surface. The top right corner includes a handwritten note in Spanish. The sender, Carmen, has included the date in the bottom left corner: May 11, 1905. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This postcard was printed in Austria by an American stationery company run by Max Straube. Located at 56 Fifth Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, Straube was an importer and manufacturer of postcards during the early 20th century. This postcard depicts a chaotic scene in Chicago’s Loop Community Area, the city’s central business district. The accompanying caption reads, "Chicago in 50 years" projecting, from roughly 1906, a vision of the city’s future. Elements of the image are derived from current events and comical exaggerations of the district’s rapidly developing infrastructure and booming population.Take a guided tour of this image.
  • This Dye Transfer print depicts a young girl and a taxidermy lamb, likely used to overcome the inherent problems of photographing live animals. In the years following WWII dye transfer became popular for fashion and advertising photography and was embraced by artists beginning in the 1970s. This print was likely made for an advertisement. Dye Transfer was a proprietary dye imbibition process introduced by Kodak in 1946. Prints were made using subtractive color assembly: cyan, magenta and yellow dye images were layered to produce a full color image suspended in gelatin. As seen here, the resulting images were vibrant and exhibited little to no fading or shift in color balance. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • April Fool! Notice how this picture is…not interesting. After decades of research and development, Polaroid Corporation released its first integral film, Type 778, in 1972. The product and accompanying camera were popularly referred to by the brand name "SX-70." Because the camera and film were fully automated, inventor and Polaroid cofounder, Edwin Land, deemed the technology “absolute one-step photography.” The photographer only needed to load the film pack into the camera, focus the image and press the shutter release. The final print ejected from the camera and developed within 90 seconds, materializing in broad daylight. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Peering out of the eyehole of an oversized rabbit head, this young man (or woman) poses as the Easter bunny in this mid-twentieth century portrait. A young boy sits on the bunny’s lap staring gleefully into the camera. Enveloped in a decorative folder that reads, "We’ve been to Bunnyland," this silver gelatin print exhibits a pebbly, semi-matte surface. Applying specific patterns to the paper base, the baryta layer, or the gelatin emulsion, Kodak and other photographic manufacturers produced silver gelatin papers with a variety of finishes. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Distributed by Airaterra Marketing, this pin-up style advertisement announces the launch of the Roylyn Mini-Tork ball bearing swivel connector for aircraft, missile, and industrial manufacturing. This image is a silver gelatin print produced from multiple negatives, making it a combination print. A thick baryta layer gives the print a smooth, high gloss surface. Kodak and other silver gelatin manufacturers produced papers in a variety of surface textures during the heyday of analog photography; high gloss papers were popular during the mid-20th century. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This silver gelatin DOP features a young boy dressed in a formal military uniform complete with military metals and an overseas cap. He is most likely wearing a homespun playsuit or one of the ready-made children’s military uniforms one could purchase from Sears Roebuck, F.A.O. Schwartz, or Montgomery Ward. Pre-made uniforms only became commercially available in the early 20th century. It was common during war time for children to dress in military uniform for play. During the WWII era, when this photograph was taken, people dressed their children in uniform for play and also to demonstrate their patriotism and support of the men overseas. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • As the popularity of real photo postcards grew during the early 20th century, many studio photographers offered them amongst the available photographic formats for sale. This example was printed on Cyko paper, a silver gelatin DOP product manufactured by Ansco Company. Backprinting indicates this image was taken around 1910. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The El Grotto Supper Club in the Pershing Hotel was a jazz club in the south side of Chicago operating from 1944 to 1947. The club hosted popular musicians, most notably "Tiny" Bradshaw. The photograph was taken by a professional photographer likely employed by the club. The photographer would photograph customers, print the picture, place it in this paper mat and sell it to the customer. It was likely printed very soon after having been taken and sold to the customer the same night or the next day.Take a guided tour of this image.
  • This postcard was manufactured circa 1915 by the German postcard company Theodor Eismann. As indicated on the back, it was printed at the company’s USA location and is part of the Theochrom Series 1340. Theochrom is likely a proprietary term describing the three color letterpress process used to print the image. The image was derived from a photograph using a copy camera and halftone screen to create a halftone negative. The negative was used to make a plate for relief printing. This image was printed from three plates: one each for black, blue and beige. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This Valentine’s Day postcard is part of the “Mischievous Cupids” series manufactured by Raphael Tuck & Sons, a popular stationery company during the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Founded in 1866 as a picture shop in London, Tuck expanded by entering the publishing market a few years later. The company’s success can be attributed to the sale of greeting and postcards. Their design competitions and collectible series bolstered the postcard boom of the early 20th century and popularized the tradition of exchanging seasonal greeting cards. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen carte de visite (CDV) features an elderly woman staring stoically into the camera. Bronze bordered yet simple in style, this CDV most likely dates back to the early 1860s (CDVs became much more ornamental as the century progressed). The woman’s lack of teeth is indicative of both her advanced age and her economic position. Dentures were available at that time for those who could afford the expense. Early versions were fashioned out of wire, ivory, animal bone, or even real human teeth.Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • Notice the subject’s contemporary hairstyle and dress; this image was printed in 2007. Although gum dichromate printing reached the height of its popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, contemporary examples of the process do exist. Gum printing enjoyed a revival in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and many photography curriculums continue to include the process. Take a guided tour of this image.
  • This cyanotype postcard was likely produced in 1906. The handwritten caption reads "Our boy his first pair of pants." This harkens the tradition of breeching, a male rite of passage initiated in the 16th century. Historically, until between the ages of 4 and 8 boys wore dresses. Breeching was the ceremonious occasion when young boys were given their first outfit, complete with a pair of pants. At the time this image was taken, the practice was nearing extinction. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The carbro and carbon processes are almost indistinguishable from one another; in fact carbro is a variation of the carbon process. The image in each is composed of pigmented gelatin on a paper support. The main difference is in how the gelatin was exposed. Carbon prints are made placing a pigmented sheet of dichromated gelatin, called a tissue, in contact with a negative and exposing it to light; the gelatin hardens in proportion to the amount of light received. Take a guided tour of this image.
  • Cigarette or tobacco cards were introduced in the mid-19th century, originally serving as an insert to stiffen cigarette boxes. By the 1870s manufacturers began printing series of collectible illustrations on the fronts of cards to bolster brand loyalty. Though lithography was most common, cards were printed by a number of methods and featured a wide variety of subjects. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.