Experimental Photography: Discovery and Invention (January 17 to April 2, 1989)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 17 to April 2, 1989
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Leaves of Orchidea
William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800 - 1877)
Photogenic drawing negative
17.1 x 20.8 cm (6 3/4 x 8 3/16 in.)
On January 25, 1839, in London, William Henry Fox Talbot held the first public display of his
This botanical study resulted from his intensive period of experimentation. Talbot was in correspondence with Sir John Herschel, the preeminent scientist of his day and Talbot's mentor. Talbot created numerous specimen studies that he carefully chronicled and discussed with Herschel. At this stage, Talbot's images were still fairly rudimentary, and almost all were negative images. The splotchy, uneven tones in this image are perhaps the result of the paper not being properly "fixed," or stabilized. In 1839 Herschel invented "hypo," a stabilizing fixative bath.