In the Eye of the Camera, 1840-1867

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Notman studio photographers' camp, Trois Rivières, QC, about 1860
William Notman (1826-1891)
about 1860, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
7.3 x 7 cm
Gift of Mr. James Geoffrey Notman
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Miscellaneous (671) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

The wet collodion process, used from about 1855 to about 1880, produced negatives on glass, from which paper prints were made. There was only one big problem: the negative, which was made on the spot, had to be developed before it dried. This meant that photographers working outside the studio had to carry a lot of equipment: camera and tripod, plate holders, many glass plates, chemicals and a portable darkroom to coat and develop negatives. In winter, the emulsion would freeze on the plate, and in hot climates it would boil off the plate, before it could be developed.