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Who’s Here Now?

William Henry Fox Talbot

Creator: Antoine Claudet (1779 – 1867)
Date: c. 1844
Format: Photograph; daguerrotype process
Material: Paper
Collection: The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum
Inventory no: 2003-5001/2/20882
Blog post: Snappy 5th birthday Flickr Commons

Talbot sat for a number of daguerreotype portraits, by both Beard and Claudet. Talbot returned the compliment and photographed Claudet on a number of occasions.

Talbot is widely recognised as the inventor of modern photography. He spent most of his life at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire where he conducted the majority of his photographic experiments. In August 1835, Talbot made the earliest surviving photographic negative (Latticed Window at Laycock Abbey), which we have in our Collection.

In 1839, the Daguerreotype, invented by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre (1787 – 1851), became the first photographic process to be announced to the public. Daguerreotypes are unique images which may appear positive or negative, depending on how light hits the surface. A highly-polished silver surface on a copper plate was sensitised to light by exposing it to iodine fumes. After exposing the plate in a camera it was developed with mercury vapour.

Antoine Francois-Jean Claudet (1797 – 1867) was a French photographer and artist who produced daguerreotypes. He was born in Lyon, active in Great Britain and died in London; He was a student of Louis Daguerre and had a share in the invention of the daguerrotype. He as one of the first portrait daguerreotypists to operate in London; made improvements to the sensitizing process, developed the red darkroom safelight and is thought to have invented the use of painted back drops. From 1841 to 1851 he operated a studio on the roof of the Adelaide Gallery, London; subsequent studios at the Colosseum in Regent’s Park (1847 – 1851) and at 107 Regent Street (1851 – 1867), known as the ‘Temple of Photography’. In 1848 he produced the photographometer (an instrument designed to measure the intensity of photogenic rays); and in 1849 he brought out the focimeter (for securing a perfect focus in photographic portraiture). He was elected a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1853, and in 1858 produced the stereomonoscope.

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We’re happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons, although certain restrictions apply. More about reproductions and image licensing

For obtaining reproductions of selected images, please visit the Science and Society picture library, which represents the visual collections of the National Media Museum, the Science Museum and the National Railway Museum.

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