Sunday, April 10, 2016

Archival Photos

I had a nice discussion with New Ipswich resident Norma Dennis Straitiff about digitizing antique photographs. Norma does genealogical research of her family and in possession of a number of
daguerreotypes that were taken in the 1880s. These present a challenge to photograph because they are fragile and sealed in frames. The surface is highly reflective and the image can appear as a positive or negative depending upon the field of view.

Some of these photos are members of the Grimes/Maxwell family who had a farm in New Ipswich which includes my present home in New Ipswich.

Photography is a time machine. Here is a look back over a hundred years ago. All the photos can be seen at my online Portfolio of Archival Photographs.

Daguerreotype photos peaked 1842-1858. The process involved exposing a plate of silver coated copper to the fumes of bromine and iodine both powerful halogens which would react to the silver making it light sensitive. After being exposed to the image, they are "developed" by exposure to mercury vapor. Each image is unique, there is no negative. All the chemicals involved are toxic.

The images where often hand tinted as the ones that Norma has.

Norma was most curious about the document that this gentleman was holding which might have been a claim to a gold mine

Of the photographs I find this one to be the most interesting.

This photo is almost contemporary, not unlike photos taken today

I believe this is a membe of the Maxwell family

Nobody smiles in these photos

Serious expression

Possibly a civil war soldier

I'm guessing this woman had blue eyes

Quite an elaborate hat

Emma Maxwell