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Ambrotype is a photographic process that was widely used in the mid-19th century, primarily for portrait photography. It involves creating a unique image on a glass plate using the wet plate collodion process. The glass plate is coated with a thin layer of iodized collodion, sensitized with silver nitrate, and exposed in a camera while still wet. After exposure, the plate is developed, fixed, and then backed with a dark material, usually black velvet, paint, or varnish. This dark backing turns the negative image into a positive one when viewed from the front, giving the ambrotype its distinctive appearance. Ambrotypes are known for their crisp, detailed images and the sense of depth created by the interplay of light on the glass surface. They were less expensive and more durable than daguerreotypes, another early photographic process, making them a popular choice for portraiture during their heyday. However, the ambrotype process was eventually superseded by other photographic techniques, such as tintypes and albumen prints, which were even more affordable and easier to produce in larger quantities. Despite their relatively short-lived popularity, ambrotypes remain an important part of the history of photography, representing a significant step in the evolution of photographic technology and a valuable record of the people and culture of the mid-19th century.

Wet plate collodion, portrait photography, 19th-century photography, photographic processes, glass plate negatives

John Armstrong

CITATION : "John Armstrong. 'Ambrotype.' Design+Encyclopedia. (Accessed on May 20, 2024)"

Ambrotype Definition
Ambrotype on Design+Encyclopedia

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