Photographic Processes: 1839 – 1889

SALTED PAPER PRINT (salt print), 1840-1870s

Silver-based paper print without a binder, usually printed from either paper or glass negatives

Paper is brushed with a salt solution, dried, and brushed with a silver nitrate solution to form light sensitive silver halide. The sensitized paper is placed in direct and tight contact with a negative and exposed to light. The image appears during the exposure, a process commonly known as “printing-out.” The prints are then washed and fixed in hypo (sodium thiosulfate) to halt further image formation.

The newly made salted paper print has warm brown to purplish-brown image tones. However, the silver image of the salted paper print is prone to oxidation, resulting in fading and a shift to ochre tones.

Unidentified. Salted Paper Print, ca. 1849. [zoom]
4 7/8 x 4 1/4 in.

On loan from the Stephan and Beth Loewentheil Family Photographic Collection.

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