William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877) is one of the key figures in the invention of photography. He established the basic principle of photography as a negative/positive process.
In 1834, five years before the public announcement of the daguerreotype, Talbot developed a process which produced a negative image on sensitised paper. The negative could then be used to create multiple positive photographs by contact printing. This photograph, Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey, taken in August 1835, is the earliest known surviving negative.
In September 1840, Talbot made a further vital breakthrough when he discovered that invisible, or ‘latent’, images were formed on sensitised paper even after relatively short exposure times. These images could be made visible, or ‘developed’, if treated with chemicals. By inventing the processes needed to make latent images visible and ‘fix’ them to stop them from fading, Talbot made the future development of photography possible.
brisbane melbourne professional photographer family pet newborn family professional photographer photography pet photographer studio photographer professional family pet photographer family photography pet portraits Brisbane family photographer family portrait
Anna Atkins (1799–1871) was one of the first female photographers and is known for having produced the first photographically illustrated book in Britain. Entitled British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, the three-volume publication appeared in instalments over a ten-year period from 1843 onwards. The completed work contained over 400 photographs of British algae. Sir John Herschel had invented the cyanotype process in 1842, and Atkins used it to make her images.
Cyanotypes, also known as blueprints and commonly used by the engineering industry, were made using chemically photosensitive paper. Relatively cheap and easy to produce, cyanotypes became very popular in 19th century amateur photographic circles.
melbourne park photography location laneway photography photos melbourne studio melbourne professional photographer melbourne pet melbourne children melbourne babies melbourne newborn
Atkins made her images by laying specimens directly onto sensitised paper and exposing them to sunlight. Once exposed, the prints needed only washing and drying, as no further chemicals were required in the production of the images.
Atkins went on to produce several more cyanotype albums featuring many striking images, mainly of ferns and other plants. This particular image dates from 1851 and bears the inscription ‘From the great conservatory, Chatsworth’. It is now kept in the National Science and Media Museum collection, along with the rest of the album.