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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[The Head of Christ from a Painting on Glass]
William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800 - 1877)
Photogenic drawing negative, iodide fixed
20.8 x 17.6 cm (8 3/16 x 6 15/16 in.)
William Henry Fox Talbot was still experimenting with the negative/positive process in photography when he made this negative of a painting on glass. Because the painting was on a transparent support, Talbot was able to make a direct-copy negative from it. The background of the negative was darkened with ink so that it would appear light when it was printed as a positive. The Getty Museum owns four negatives and two positives of this image. These multiple variants indicate the usefulness of this glass plate in Talbot's experimentation. They also indicate that this experiment was an important step in Talbot's understanding of the possibilities of the negative/positive relationship in photography.