• This early twentieth century studio portrait is a silver gelatin developed-out print mounted to a secondary support. The secondary support is a higher quality paper than typically seen in this era. As a result, this print is in much better condition than is typically seen as well. This baby is dressed for winter in a fluffy coat and hat. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This print, measuring 3 ¼ x 2 ½ inches, is an example of Polaroid’s "instant" diffusion transfer Type 32 roll film available in the mid 1950s. Roll film was comprised of three components: a photosensitive negative roll, a thin pod of developing agent, and a positive-receiving paper roll. To make a print, the photographer pressed the shutter release to expose the negative then pulled a paper tab protruding from the back of the Polaroid Land camera. This advanced the negative in contact with the positive receiving sheet and pulled them into the developing compartment of the camera. As the film entered the developing compartment it passed through a pair of metal rollers that crushed the reagent pod and spread the viscous solution evenly between the negative and positive. After allowing the developer to act for roughly 60 seconds, the back cover of the camera was opened and the positive could be peeled away from the negative. The negative was discarded and the positive was finished with a protective polymer coating provided by Polaroid. The paper tab is still present on this print, however, it has a perforated edge and could be removed. Many of the images made using this process are snapshots chronicling everyday life and events. This print shows two men showing off a deer pelt. Explore a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This 35mm chromogenic positive transparency (Kodachrome) was taken near Wolcott, NY in 1958. Wolcott sits east of Rochester on Lake Ontario where there are many booming apple orchards in what is known as the Fruit Belt. The Fruit Belt refers to areas in the US in which microclimate conditions are favorable for growing fruit, such as along the Great Lakes. New York is the second largest producer of apples in the United States. In this image the very large piles of apples seem to dwarf the house in the background. Kodachrome was a popular color photographic film in the mid-20th century. It is known for its relative color stability, as seen in this image which has little to no color fading. Explore a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This early twentieth century silver gelatin developed-out print is a class picture likely dating to the 1910s. Each student was individually posed with the same book, and in some instances also with a personal toy. The small negatives were then contact printed together on a single sheet of photographic paper. The warm tones of the image are the result of silver image deterioration causing the image to shift in tone from neutral blacks and grays to warm blacks and browns. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • The goat cart was quite the fad in the early twentieth century through the 1930s. Itinerant photographers would travel with a camera, a goat, and small buggy or cart enticing children to pose for an adorable photograph which they would then sell to the parents. The research collection at IPI has two such photographs printed as real photo postcards. These particular postcards are silver gelatin developed-out prints with postcard markings on the back—a section for both address and correspondence and a place for a stamp. Postcard photographic papers were also popular in the early twentieth century. These papers are both Azo brand paper. One has a divided back and one does not. Explore a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • June 28, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Pictured here is a gelatin dry plate lantern slide of the palace. The commercial introduction of gelatin dry plate in the 1880s marked the birth of the modern photographic industry. Gelatin dry plate was the first manufactured, mass-produced photographic negative material. The process was relatively easy (compared to the wet plate process) making photography more accessible and creating a new class of amateur photographers.
  • Matte collodion is a silver-based printing out process that was primarily used by high-end studio portrait photographers from 1895-1910. Amateur snapshots, such as this, are less common but can be found in collections. Notice the two older children lurking in the doorway as the baby and woman have their photograph taken. Matte collodion, like all printing out processes, were contact printed under a negative in sunlight. When printed, the image had red-orange tones which were altered by toning the silver image with both gold and platinum. A balance of each toner could yield warm black image tones that are sometimes described as a deep olive-black, as seen in this print. The dual toning also produces an image with remarkable stability resulting in little to no fading. While the mount has suffered water damage and the object overall has surface grime, the image itself is in remarkably good condition. Explore the Matte Collodion identification page to learn more about this process.
  • In the late 19th century studio portraits were sometimes printed in combination with another negative. The effect is a portrait with an interesting texture or scene surrounding the sitter(s), as in this photograph. Typically found in the cabinet card format, collodion POP, gelatin POP, and albumen prints can all be found printed in this manner. This print, taken around 1895, is a little strange as the sitters are surrounded by what appears to be dead flowers and dirt. The fact that this is a composite image is clearly visible as the shoulders of the sitters extend out beyond the circular mask into the surrounding scene. The verso has the photographer’s stamp "H. N. Josleyn, Photographer, Versaille, Ky." Hand written in front of the stamp is "Mr. + Mrs.," suggesting this is a self-portrait. Explore the Collodion POP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • The baby stroller was invented in England in 1733. Landscape architect William Kent was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire to build something to transport his children. Kent’s design was ornate and was meant to be pulled by a goat or small pony. The design was subsequently modified by others. In 1889 the first reversible stroller was designed allowing the baby to face outwards or in towards the parents. The stroller in this photograph is a fairly simple design and it may be a studio prop considering it appears too small for this baby. This prop could also be a scaled down replica carriage for dolls. Collodion printing-out papers were popular in the latter decades of the 19th century. They tend to have fairly good image stability if they were processed well, but are very susceptible to abrasions. This print has several large abrasions in which the binder layer is completely removed showing the baryta layer underneath. Explore the Collodion POP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This portrait of Anna Z. Veinatte (written on verso) holding a kitten is an early 20th century silver gelatin developed-out print. Silver gelatin prints from the early 1900s are often mounted to a secondary support, are matte, and exhibit silver image deterioration. This image has faded and the images tones have shifted from neutral black to yellow-brown tones. The image deterioration is due in part to the poor-quality secondary support, which has also become brittle and cracked. The introduction of silver gelatin papers coincided with the popularity of the gelatin dry plate negative. The relative ease of use of the dry plate meant more middle-class individuals could practice photography resulting in an increase in amateur photographs, such as this. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • The verso of this photograph bares the photographer’s stamp, “J. M. Havis, Official Photographer, Cheyenne Cañon. Views of All Kinds…” Cheyenne Cañon is a canyon and park outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado established in the 1870s and 1880s. Havis is listed in the 1900 Giles City Directory of Colorado Springs, Colorado City, and Manitou a co-proprietor of the Cheyenne Cañon Burro Line and as proprietor of Cheyenne Cañon Burro Photographerie (sp). His wife, Fanny, is listed as proprietor of the Cheyenne Cañon Curio Store. The Havis businesses were located at the terminus of the Colorado Springs Rapid Transit Railway, an urban electric trolley that brought visitors from the city to the canyon and other locations. They advertised burros and guides as well as photographs. No doubt the women depicted here enjoyed a guided burro ride through the scenic trails of the park and purchased a photograph to remember their adventure. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This 1963 snapshot depicts young Dudley Palmer playing with his new Christmas presents, a cowboy outfit and figurines. The print is part of a larger collection of photographs from the Palmer family. Dudley’s gifts are evidence of the extreme popularity of westerns from the 1940s through the 1960s. The Palmer collection not only gives insight into popular culture of the mid-20th century, but also gives insight into amateur snapshot photography and photographic materials. The collection has both silver gelatin and chromogenic prints. The prints in the collection exhibit several characteristics of prints made by professional photofinishers. This print has a back print in light gray that says “A Kodak Paper”, it has scalloped edges, and it has been ferrotyped—a finishing process that gives the print a glossy surface sheen. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This early twentieth century silver gelatin developed-out print portrays a large group of children of various ages dressed in costume. They are posed on and in front of what appears to be a stage suggesting this photograph is documenting a school or community play. The print has common forms of silver image deterioration due in part to environment and the poor quality secondary support. The image has silver mirroring and has shifted from black image tones to more brown image tones. Explore the Silver Gelatin DOP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • A closer look at this gelatin dry plate, taken around the turn of the last century, reveals the individuals portrayed in this image are in fact women. This image is not uncommon—subverting gender roles for the camera as a form of amusement was fairly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While a number of women did transition and live as men, escaping prescribed social roles and perhaps living as their authentic selves, it was more common for women to don men’s suits, facial hair, and take up masculine behaviors like smoking as a form of entertainment within their private social circles. The presence of the bicycle alludes to the bicycle craze of the 1890s which, along with the Suffragette and New Woman movements, challenged traditional dress codes in which shorter dresses, bloomers, and pants were worn by many women. The gelatin dry plate process was introduced in the 1880s, coinciding with these social movements. The photographic plates were purchased pre-sensitized, making photography easier and more accessible to a wider range of people. This 5 x 7 inch plate is a negative that has been digitally inverted showing how it would appear if it were printed. The plate has experienced significant deterioration, likely mold, which has solubilized the gelatin binder resulting in loss of image obscuring the fifth sitter. Explore the Gelatin Dry Plate identification page to learn more about this process.
  • Pet portraits are relatively uncommon, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In camera exposure of light sensitive materials was relatively slow and took a lot of guess work making it difficult to capture things that may move, like dogs. Matte collodion printing out paper was popular in the era of the gelatin dry plate negative, which was more light sensitive and therefore faster than the wet collodion negative which preceded it. This portrait of a dog and her puppies not only shows some motion blur, but the subject is also out of focus suggesting an amateur photographer took this photograph. Most matte collodion prints are studio portraits, but occasionally amateur snap shots are founded printed with this process. They are often toned with both gold and platinum giving the prints a neutral, olive-black hue. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • The bicycle craze of the 1890s ushered in new designs for women in both clothing and bicycles. The girls depicted in this Gelatin POP are wearing dresses typical of the 1890s sporting puffy sleeves and skirts with a high waist. Dresses were available specifically designed for cycling, known as bicycle suits. Here the skirt length is shorter, which reduces the risk of getting clothing caught in wheels and pedals. Some skirts even had straps and buttons that could shorten the length so clothing would be more conducive to cycling. These bicycles also have a “step though” design to give room for the skirt while cycling. Like bicycles and puffy sleeves, the Gelatin POP was popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Gelatin printing-out papers continued to have a niche market, first as studio proof paper and later used by fine art photographers and continued to be manufactured until late 2000s. Explore the Gelatin POP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This pair of Gelatin Printed-Out Prints (POP) depict the same man clothed and shirtless. On the back of the shirtless version is the handwritten phrase, “an athlete at seventy” giving some context to the image. Regardless, this is an uncommon pairing. Gelatin POP was popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It was eventually displaced by gelatin developing-out papers in the 1910s and 1920s. Gelatin printing-out papers continued to have a niche market, first as studio proof paper and later used by fine art photographers and continued to be manufactured until the late 2000s. Explore the Gelatin POP identification page to learn more about this process.
  • This illustration is from the 1949 publication Child Photography the Modern Way by Josef Schneider and published by The Camera Magazine. This image is from the chapter “We Practice Baby Charming” in which the author describes various methods for catching a baby’s attention and getting a smile. This caption, which reads “Cigarette lighters fascinate babies, even at an early age. Ten-months-old Eddie sent flying hands toward the click and flame” seems contrary by today’s standards, but is reminiscent of a bygone era. The image is printed using letterpress halftone, a photomechanical relief printing process. The original continuous tone photograph was re-photographed through a screen, breaking the image up into halftones. The resulting negative was then used to make a relief printing matrix. This was the most common method of reproducing photographs for book illustration from the late 19th century until the 1960s when offset lithography began to replace it. Take a guided tour of a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This Easter postcard, made in Germany for English speaking consumers, is not printed. It is a molded, pasted and airbrushed composite of paper and fabric. The tactile experience of it is lost in the image reproduced here. The background is molded and lacquered paper with a faux moire silk finish. All the image design elements, including the flowers, rabbit, and chicks are also molded resulting in an image in relief. The flowers and rabbit have cloth adhered to them giving them a soft, fuzzy texture with the flowers being softer and fuzzier. The details are then airbrushed with six different colors including gold for the text and highlights in the rabbit’s eye. The back of the postcard also offers a nice surprise. The handwritten note addressed Mimi from Frank and dated April 1, 12 says, "Dear Sister Just a card wishing you all a Happy Easter. Your Brother Frank." There is no stamp or postmark.
  • Ambrotypes are usually enclosed in protective cases and are assembled in many layers. They are often confused with daguerreotypes because both processes are housed in the same style. Interestingly, the method of casing daguerreotypes was itself influenced by the style of cased painted miniature portraits popular during the 17th and 18th centuries. Take a guided tour of this image.
  • This large, half plate tintype, was likely made by an itinerant photographer. The tintype process was relatively inexpensive making it possible for roving photographers to make portraits for average people. George, Eva and Leo DuBois had their portrait made out doors with just the grass beneath their feet and a plain sheet for a back drop. The paper frame has an opening on the right-hand side. On the back, instead of the photographer’s information, there is an advertisement for the Prattsville News. It is possible the DuBois family lived in or near Prattsville, NY. Explore a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This postcard was postmarked Feb 2, 1909. These comic postcards were popular in the early 20th century. There are at least two versions of this postcard. Michigan State University has an alternate version copyright 1907 by Rose Hyman. In the MSU version the couple is in a kitchen, the dog has one ear up, the positions of the couple are reversed, and their clothing is different. The gestures and expressions of the couple are identical. Both are chromolithographs, a color lithographic process in which the image is produced by hand stippling an image onto separate lithographic stones, one store for each color to be printed. Explore a similar object to learn more about this process.
  • This albumen print has been enameled, or glazed, with collodion giving it a high gloss surface and wet-like appearance. According to the instructions in the September 1904 Practical Photographer, enameling a print with collodion required coating a sheet of glass with collodion and soaking it together with the print in a solution of gelatin and water. The print was then placed face down into contact with the collodion and squeegeed together to removed air bubbles. When dry, the print easily came loose from the glass with the collodion adhered to the surface. Take a guided tour of this object.
  • This oblong postcard depicting an advertisement for Hershey Chocolate Co., has tattered edges and bent corners. Notice how the image appears slightly grainy. It was made by the letterpress halftone process, which gained popularity in the 1880s. It is a photomechanical process used for high-volume commercial printing applications where image detail and fine gradations are not critical. This print was printed in two colors, black and green. Full-color reproductions can be obtained by using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks and can be printed on any type of paper stock. Take a guided tour of this object.