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Fox Talbot's system.
Fox Talbot's interest in photography was sparked in 1833 when using a camera obscura to draw, his mind was set to pondering to a means of recording the image chemically. In Fox Talbot's process, paper was coated with chemicals to make it light sensitive, the preparation of the photographic paper needed to be completed shortly before use, as it would not keep for many days. Once made it was placed in the camera and exposed in the normal way. In his earlier experiments the exposure was continued until the image appeared on the paper simply as a result of continued reaction. However, this was unacceptably long and Fox Talbot found that in common with the Daguerreotype system a "latent" image existed after a short exposure and this could be made visible with treatment - development. After this the paper needed to be "fixed" to prevent the image continuing to process until obliterated by the action of light. This could be done in a saturated solution of common salt. The result would be a negative image on paper, which when placed against another similarly treated sheet of paper and exposed through the back, would create a positive. The name of this process was Calotype. Any number of rather grainy copies could be generated from the first sheet, in this respect it had the advantage over the Daguerreotype system which created a single positive original. The Calotype system did not enjoy quite the commercial success of the Daguerreotype, but it pointed the way for the future and can rightly be regarded as the beginning from which modern photography came.

Replica Fox Talbot "Mousetrap" Camera

Replica Fox Talbot "Mousetrap" Camera. During his experimental stage Fox Talbot had made a number of simple cameras his Mother dubbed little "mousetraps". They were fairly crude affairs, but obviously served the purpose admirably. This replica was made in May 2000 for the museum.

 

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