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Introduction to Photographic Equipment, Processes, and Definitions of the 19th Century -  

photography edition information written

George Eastman House and International Museum of Photography

This edition of the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography has been written at a time when the industrial production of silver halide materials is rapidly declining as a result of digital photographic technologies and practices. At this same time, the movement to preserve the technology of handmade processes from the 19th century is becoming stronger. The greatest challenge for future photohistorians will not be the understanding of photographic processes of the 1800s but rather the photographic industry of the 20th century that is being dismantled at this time.

The concept of photography was conceived two centuries and many technologies ago. Since 1802, when Wedgwood first made images with silver on paper and leather, every generation of photographer has seen the natural progression of technological changes, followed by their obsolescence. Deciding what information to preserve and publish from previous technologies is a difficult task when space is limited, and the decision will certainly create unavoidable disappointment for some readers. Limits, of course, are necessary within constraints of a physical book. We have made choices to anticipate what will be useful, instructive, and possibly influential. Unlike most references on the technological history of photography, including the previous edition of the Focal Encyclopedia , much of the information written for this new edition comes from observation of historic texts and experience with nineteenth century photographic processes.

Many of the following entries have been the topic of extensive research by scholars and practitioners over the years. Additional information for any of the subjects can be found in other publications and on the Internet. Unlike the printed page, anyone can post information on the Internet with implied authority and with much less effort. Primary research should always be considered as the best way to gain insight in the history and practices of photography.

The following pages contain entries written by this editor, Mark Osterman, and entries that were published in this encyclopedia’s Revised Desk Edition (1969) or Third Edition (1993) by the following authors: Ira Current, John Fergus-Jean, Michael Flecky, Roger Hailstone, Grant Haist, Mike Leary, Judy Natal, Michael Teres, Paul Schranz, Martin Scott, Leslie Stroebel, Sabine Süusstrunk, Hollis Todd, Howard Wallach, and Richard Zakia.


Introduction to the Biographies of Selected Innovators of Photographic Technology - Biographies of Selected Innovators of Photographic Technology from the 19th Century [next] [back] Introduction: The Uncertainty of Sound

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