Fern fronds by Talbot, 1839

Fern fronds by Talbot, 1839

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Credit: THE GETTY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fern fronds by Talbot. British physicist William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) invented a pioneering photographic method using silver chloride paper, that he called 'photogenic drawing'. He held a public display of his photogenic drawings in 1839, later patenting the first negative-positive photographic process, the calotype. His botanical studies took place alongside correspondence with Sir John Herschel. Talbot's images were at times rudimentary with uneven tones, usually due to the paper not being properly 'fixed' or stabilized. This photogenic drawing dates from 1839.

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