Daguerrotype, Ambrotype, Tintype
These are three words most people have never heard, but roughly 150 years ago they rocked the world. At any given moment be it our smart phone, iPod, or point-and-shoot, nearly everyone has a camera within reach. Today, people upload three and a half million pictures to Facebook every minute and photos feel more a novelty than a privilege.
Once upon a time when there was more than one button, and before saying “cheese” was ever invented, photography was a much purer art form. Costly, tedious, and often dangerous, the act of capturing an image required a now long lost skill set. Those lucky enough to live at the dawn of photography are now gone, but the results of their ability and ingenuity still exists today, in the eyes of people of the portraits they took.
© Jordan M. Lockhart/ AmericanDSLR 2012
Lately I have been collecting images from the 1840′s to the 1890′s; and whenever I try to tell people about them they just don’t get it or don’t care. So I thought it would be easier to show others what I feel they should be seeing rather than tell them. The video showcases some of my collection of Ambrotypes.
Daguerrotype- /dəˈɡɛrətaɪp/ (French: daguerréotype) was the first commercially successful photographic process. The image is a direct positive made in the camera on a silvered copper plate. The raw material for plates was called Sheffield plate, plating by fusion or cold-rolled cladding and was a standard hardware item produced by heating and rolling silver foil in contact with a copper support.  The surface of a daguerreotype is like a mirror, with the image made directly on the silvered surface; it is very fragile and can be rubbed off with a finger, and the finished plate has to be angled so as to reflect some dark surface in order to view the image properly. Depending on the angle viewed, and the color of the surface reflected into it, the image can change from a positive to a negative.
Ambrotype- The ambrotype (from Greek: ἀνβροτός — “immortal”, and τύπος — “impression”) oramphitype is a photograph that creates a positive image on a sheet of glass using the wet plate collodion process. In the United States, ambrotypes first came into use in the early 1850s. The wet plate collodion process was invented just a few years before that by Frederick Scott Archer, but ambrotypes used the plate image as a positive, instead of a negative. In 1854, James Ambrose Cutting of Boston took out several patents relating to the process and may be responsible for coining the term “ambrotype”.
Tintype- Tintype, also melainotype and ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a sheet of ironmetal that is blackened by painting, lacquering or enamelling and is used as a support for a collodionphotographic emulsion.
Photographers usually worked outside at fairs, carnivals etc. and as the support of the tintype (there is no actualtin used) is resilient and does not need drying, photographs can be produced only a few minutes after the picture is taken.