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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Postulation of a different Photographic History

    Some may think this is a bit of a mad thread starter and they are probably right, but perhaps it may produce some interesting thoughts and ideas. At the outset of photography we had the Daguerreotype and Talbot’s neg/pos process, with both processes running along with their various pros and cons. As we know from history the neg/pos process eventually came to dominate for obvious reasons of replication and for over 100 years it was steadily improved and produced many off-shoot processes, camera designs, etc. If we were to imagine the neg/pos process was never discovered and only Daguerreotypes were thought the way forward, how do you think this process may have evolved and with what imaginary off-shoots over the same time span?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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    You really need to get with the times and get a digital Daguerreotype camera. Chemical Daguerreotypes are so dead....LOL
    * Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
    * When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
    * When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *

  3. #3
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    I have no problem with mad thread starters. Sometimes it gets slow around here.

    I do sometimes think that this site is too focused on process at times, and fails to remember that photography was a means to an end. To get a picture.

    All the processes and innovations all the way up to today is about the evolution of a tool.

    Granted there are nice hammers and saws and chisels and woods and glues but the goal was still always to make that chair.


    I do appreciate (and participated heavily) in many processes until now I'm enthralled in the D word. (world)

    I can understand the process fetish, the careful alchemy manipulation, the perfect negative, and the meticulous setting up of the shot, but the power and impact of the final image, I think, is still the reason for the exercise.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #4
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    The Daguerreotype process would be improved until it would be quite fast, with, of course, 3200 speeds, etc. Mercury development would be rare, being replaced by the (oh the name escapes me, developing by exposure to red light, figured out by the fellow who produced electricity from vegetables, I think his name starts with a B.).

    Grafmatic-type holders would have been common, and of course there would be motorized holders that interface directly into the camera sensing system.

    Anyways, Kodak would have gone nuts in 1975 with the first digital camera, and would have backed it like a maniac. "A true end to toxic mercury development!"

    Now, what wouldn't have happened is the motion picture industry. Yes, that whole industry would never have started without film. So when the consumers all grabbed the Kodak cameras in, oh, 1978 to 1980, the entire Daguerreotype industry would have collapsed, because there would be no film industry to prop it up. However, since it's much easier to produce Daguerreotype plates than film, niche players would still be in business.

    Another thing to consider is color photography. That would not have happened with Daguerreotypes. The introduction of a color camera for the consumer would have been absolutely fabulous.

    Of course, video would have been invented and used within its normal time frame. Color television would have become popular in the mid-1960's. Now, would there have been a color home printer for the video camera? I'm guessing late 1970's for that.

  5. #5
    MDR
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    Brian Hillotypes daguerreotypes in natural colors did exists and were apparently no hoax as often believed so color photography would exist.
    http://notesonphotographs.org/images...es_for_web.pdf

    Dominik

  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    Now, what wouldn't have happened is the motion picture industry. Yes, that whole industry would never have started without film.
    I’m not so sure about this, as when ultra-thin metallic dry Daguerreotype plates came into existence, different formulation (but still direct positive) with much improved sensitivity, why not high speed capture on different plates in repetition and then projection by reflection.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Just FYI, the major advantage in neg-pos systems is QUALITY. Pos-pos duplication causes inevitable deterioration of image quality due to the printing of toe to toe and shoulder to shoulder. Tsk! Tsk! Don't eliminate the most important factor and build on a weak link.

    In addition, at EK efforts were made to speed up and spectrally sensitize many of the old processes, and they failed. It turns out that the grains grown in gelatin are the key to today's HS photographic films.

    This is a nice premise based on totally incorrect starting assumptions that just, for me, terminate the discussion at the outset.

    Sorry.

    PE

  8. #8
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    What would we have now?
    Digital.

  9. #9
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Just FYI, the major advantage in neg-pos systems is QUALITY. Pos-pos duplication causes inevitable deterioration of image quality due to the printing of toe to toe and shoulder to shoulder. Tsk! Tsk! Don't eliminate the most important factor and build on a weak link.

    In addition, at EK efforts were made to speed up and spectrally sensitize many of the old processes, and they failed. It turns out that the grains grown in gelatin are the key to today's HS photographic films.

    This is a nice premise based on totally incorrect starting assumptions that just, for me, terminate the discussion at the outset.

    Sorry.

    PE
    I think you are missing the point here, as I don't have an incorrect starting assumption. This is not about preference quality chemistry for pos/neg V positive process, but generation of ideas. But just as an aside, are you seriously saying that the neg/pos process won on a quality issue against a Daguerreotype? I think not.
    Last edited by cliveh; 01-18-2012 at 06:19 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: add

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  10. #10
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    D-types were a dead end in my opinion. I don't think there'd many offshoots from that at all. It's a very limited technique.

    Anyway, photography almost certainly started with leaf prints, long before Scheele and all the rest. Starting with leaf printing, on the other hand, I can well imagine an incremental process of isolating light sensitive pigments and making colour images and so forth.

    But it's really very remarkable that we are where we are with photography. There were a great number of shot-in-the-dark experiments done by people who didn't always understand what they were doing but whose curiosity and patience drove photography forward. It's really one of the most amazing histories in all of technology.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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