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EdinPhoto - Home Page      Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.      At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.            At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photogrpahers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.  Details of who owns the copyright of photographs and other mateiral on this web site.

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Early Photographic Processes

Dry Plates

Some early plates were available but not widely used before 1870.

Discovery

1850s

Around 1857, Dr Richard Hill Norris formed the Birmingham Dry Collodion Plate Company to sell dry plates.  [VP:HL  

But long exposure times were required for the dry collodion plates, so wet plates continued to be used for a further twenty years.

1870s

Richard Leach Maddox made a significant discovery, suggesting, in 1871, that silver bromide held in a layer of gelatin should be used in preference to collodion for coating dry plates.

Joseph Wilson Swan who patented the carbon process for photographic printing in 1864 is also credited with having  invented the dry plate in 1871. 
[The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopaedia]

Seven years later, dry gelatin plates began to be produced in large numbers, following experiments by J Burgess and Richard Kennett, and discovery by Charles Harper Bennett of a way of treating the plates to make the emulsion more stable and far more sensitive to light  [PCH]

Process

Landscape Photography

The use of dry plates considerably simplified the process of taking photographs, particularly landscapes.

It became no longer necessary to travel, carrying a dark tent or with a cart or coach converted to enable the plates to be prepared immediately before taking photographs and to be processed immediately after.

Exposing the Plate

All that was necessary was to:

-  Put the dry plate, in its plate holder, into a camera.

-  Slide the cover from the from the plate holder, to uncover the dry plate.

-  Uncover then re-cover the lens.  [By 1880, the plates had become so sensitive that an exposure of a fraction of a second was often sufficient.] 

-  Slide the cover  on the plate holder back over the dark slide.

-  Remove the plate holder from the camera and take home for processing. 

Result

In Edinburgh 

EPS Lectures

Edinburgh Photographic Society debated the dry collodion process, and the relative advantages of the wet and dry processes at many of its Meetings from the 1860s onwards.  

Lecture titles included 

-  On Preparing Dry Plates in Daylight

-  Dry Plates versus Wet Plates

-  Dry Processing in Photography

-  Dry Plates and Wet Plates

-  Chlorido Bromide Dry Plates

-  A Few More Words on Dryplates

Please click here to see the dates of these lectures and other titles.

1897

By 1897, attention at EPS Meetings had turned to the relative merits of slow and rapid plates.

JM Turnbull claimed that slow plates should be used whenever practicable.  They allowed more latitude of exposure and kept better than fast plates.

FP Moffat claimed that rapid plates allowed more latitude of exposure than many people imagined.  He said that the developer had a great deal to do with it.

He advocated the most rapid plates for professional portrait work because 'the quicker a sitter is taken, the better' .  He also advocated them for hand-camera work.

[BJP: 1897, p.46]

1903

The Edinburgh photographic dealer, A H Baird, in his journal, Photographic Chat spoke in 1903 of the convenience of the gelatin plate for the amateur photographer

 'who finds quite enough to look after in compassing the ends he has in view without making of himself an amateur plate manufacturer as well'

However, he reported that collodion plates were still largely used in commercial work.  The reason for this, he argued was due mainly to the greater sharpness available from collodion plates, and the fact that they suffered less from halation than gelatin plates with their thicker coatings.

[Photographic Chat: April 1903,  pp.5-6]

1911
Looking back on the 1860s

In his EPS  T Mackintosh gave an insight into the early days of the dry plate.  He said that dry plates were introduced in the late 1860s, but at first was so slow that many photographers preferred to continue using wet plates.  He added:

"The only advantage of the slow plate, so far as I am aware, was that if our friend the photographer was taking what the poets call a sylvan glen, he might expose the plate, pose himself in the centre of the subject, and after an interval of fifteen minutes or half an hour, return to his camera and replace the cap."

 

 

Early Photography -  More pages

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Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page      Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.      At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.            At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photogrpahers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.  Details of who owns the copyright of photographs and other mateiral on this web site.

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Frequently Asked Questions

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