(Continuation of Types of Photographs - Part 1)
Cartes-de-visite were one of the most popular types of photographs and entered the scene in the 1850s. Their small size, measuring at approximately two by four inches, made them easy to share and collect amongst family and friends. It is also the size that sets them apart from other types of photographs. Albumen prints were one of the most common types of prints mounted on a carte-de-visite. These prints are very thin which is why they are commonly found mounted on thicker cardstock. It is interesting to note that egg whites are used in the making of albumen prints. This in turn can alter the print to a yellowish tone with deterioration over time.
These examples of cartes-de-visite are from the Photograph Collection.
In the 1860s, Cabinet cards made their debut. Cabinet cards were considered to be the new and improved form of cartes-de-visite. Their larger size and enhanced colouring displayed an advancement in photographic prints. The measurement of a cabinet card was approximately four by six inches, similar to the most common size of photo print today. The name is very literal as they were most often kept in cabinets. One fairly prevalent aspect not only with cabinet cards, but cartes-de-visite as well, was the use of vignette. Vignette is fading around the photograph which is commonly done in white or black. In addition, a photographer’s stamp can frequently be found on the mount of both types of photographs.
Photographic prints were typically a printing out process (POP), meaning that they were produced through negatives as opposed to a directly developed photograph which is called a developing out process (DOP). Prints can be found loose or mounted (for example on a carte-de-visite or cabinet card). Some different types of prints include salt prints, silver gelatin, platinum, albumen, and collodion. Although some may be difficult to differentiate, others have determining features. Prints can deteriorate in varying ways such as silver gelatin prints displaying a mirroring effect or the yellowing of an albumen print. Prints have been ever changing since the 19th century and continue to be a window into historic photographic processes.
The various processes employed in the creation of all these different types result in uniquely stunning photographs. They offer a glimpse of the photographic processes used, as well as the evolution of photography presented throughout the years. Special Collections & Archives houses incredible material that has the potential to connect us to various historic areas of interest, photography being one of them.
https://www.parisphoto.com/en/Glossary/ [This link broken as of 2020-06-12]