The Ancestral Foundation of Modern Portrait Photography


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The Ancestral Foundation of Modern Portrait Photography

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  2. 2. The Ancestral Foundation of Modern Portrait Photography Portrait photography is the photographic capture of a person or group of people with the main objective of displaying the likeness, mood and personality of the individual or individuals. Most portraits are not intended for public display and depict ordinary people rather than professional models. Portraits are common possessions of families today.
  3. 3. Honor Special Occasions Portraits usually focus on the face of the individual although the entire body or background is sometimes included. The portrayed usually looks directly at the camera but some portraits have them looking off to the side or feature two individuals looking at each other rather than the camera. Portraits regularly honor special occasions like, graduations and weddings and many houses have professional family portraits hanging on their walls as well. So when and where did portrait photography actually originate?
  4. 4. The Development and Popularization of Portrait Photography Portrait photography first gained its popularity in the middle of the 19th century with the invention of the daguerreotype, developed by Louis Daguerre. Though it was not the first photographic process invented, it required much shorter exposure times than the previously available processes.
  5. 5. Commercially Practical Process This made the daguerreotype the first commercially practical process with the ability to permanently record and fix an image with an exposure time well-suited for portrait photography. By 1840 daguerreotype studios could be found all over Europe and the United States, bringing portrait photography to an astonished middle class. Some of these studios produced over 500 portrait plates each day.
  6. 6. The Daguerreotype Unfortunately, the daguerreotype was not capable of duplication because it was a direct photographic process in which the image was directly exposed onto a mirror-polished surface. Further advancements in portrait photography occurred in 1851, when Fredrick Scott Archer developed the collodion , or wet-plate process.
  7. 7. The Collodion The collodion produced sharper images because the negatives were made of smooth glass, which was more durable than paper. This allowed for a lot more paper prints to be produced from one negative.
  8. 8. The Ambrotype In 1854, the United States was introduced to the ambrotype , a glass negative that was backed with black material enabling it to be viewed as a positive. The ambrotype was sold to the same portrait studios that used the daduerreptype , but at a much lower price. Two years later, the tintype was patented which used iron plates instead of glass.
  9. 9. Union Solders And Pioneer Families It was a lot cheaper than the ambrotype and soon became the most readily available form used for location portrait photography. Tintype portrait photographers mainly photographed Union solders and pioneer families, usually working out of the back of horse-drawn wagons. Modern portrait photography owes everything to the inventors and founding photographers who started it all.
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