92nd Gordon Highlanders at Edinburgh Castle April 1846
  • Scottish Art
Soldiers know how to stand still for long periods and for that reason were often used as life models by artists. To show them as men of action was more difficult. The blur in this photograph is deliberate and gives an impression of movement. Hill 'would during the exposure give his camera an almost imperceptible jerk' to achieve this effect. The artist preferred the blur of the calotype to the more precise daguerreotype because the former looked like 'the imperfect work of a man' and the latter like 'the much diminished perfect work of god'.

Glossary Open

Calotype

The first effective version of photography, using drawing or writing paper for both the negative and the positive. The paper was sensitised with potassium iodide and silver nitrate, exposed and developed in gallic acid and silver nitrate.

Daguerreotype

One of the first two effective photographic processes. A unique image on a silvered copper plate, sensitised by iodine, is exposed and then developed with mercury vapour. The surface of the daguerreotype is vulnerable and it is usually encased or framed.

Exposure

The length of time a photosensitive surface is exposed to light. The term ‘multiple exposure’ is used to describe the act of recording more than one image on a single sheet or frame of film.

Calotype, Daguerreotype, Exposure

Details

  • Acc. No. PGP HA 347
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 19.00 x 14.10 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown