In the Eye of the Camera, 1840-1867

IntroductionPrevious 5
Next 5Conclusion
MP-1974.114.3 I-6243.1 N-0000.157 I-43974.1 I-26442 I-3702 N-0000.193.81.2 I-18328
The most recent version of the Flash plugin must be installed
Get Flash Player
Creative Commons License
Mr. George H. Frothingham and daughters May and Hattie, Montreal, QC, 1867
William Notman (1826-1891)
1867, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
12 x 17 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  family (800) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Select Image (Your image selection is empty)

Visitors' comments

Add a comment

Keys to History

By 1866 the cost of a portrait had come down to the level where the average middle-income family could afford a visit to the photographer. For instance, Notman charged $1.50 for three cartes de visite (2 ½ " x 3 ½", or 6.25 cm x 8.75 cm), and additional copies were three for $1.00. Cabinet photographs (5" x 7", or 12.5 cm x 17.5 cm) were three for $3.00 and hand-coloured cabinets were $5.00. Stereoscopic views were also available for $0.25 apiece.

The exposure time was constantly dropping and on a good sunny day could be as short as a second. On a cloudy day, a subject might have to hold a pose for 20 seconds. Larger negatives required more light, so for a whole-plate negative (8" x 10", or 20 cm x 25 cm), the exposure could take as long as two minutes.