Historical Photographic Printing Processes

Updated: Jul 11

Photographic technology over the last few decades has allowed us to create near perfect images sometimes in seconds and there are very few of us today who stop to think of the revolution in the field of photography that has allowed us to reach where are today. Traditional photographic printing processes take us back in time and help us understand how the art form developed and grew across the world. At Museo, we have been experimenting with and teaching a few different printing processes and through this blog will be sharing relevant content that will help you all dig deeper into the world of alternate processes.

1. Daguerreotype

The Daguerreotype was one of first commercially available and successful printing processes. Formally announced to the public in 1839 by French inventor Louis Daguerre, this process allowed photographers to create images on highly polished silver plates. Read more about the process below -

- Britannica

- The Met

- The Atlantic

- Science & Media Museum

- George Eastman Museum (video)


Introduced to the world in 1842 by Sir John Herschel, this printing process gets its name from the greek word "Cyan" which means "Dark Blue impression". The process inspired Anna Atkins, An English Botanist and Photographer to publish a series on "British Algae" using Cyanotype Photograms. Museo Camera regularly hosts cyanotype workshops. (To know more details click here

To know more about the process, click on the links below!

- My Modern Met

- George Eastman Museum (Video)

- The Getty Conservation Institute

3. Salt Prints

The Salt Print technique was created in the mid 1830's by English Scientist and inventor, Hery Fox Talbot . For all those wondering, yes, this process does use table salt! This is a process that makes light sensitive paper bby coating it with table salt and silver nitrate, which further produces a coating of silver chloride.

Museo Camera regularly hosts salt Printing workshops. To know more details click here.

To know more about the process, click on the links below!

- Alternative Photography

- George Eastman Museum (Video)

4. Wet Collodion

The Wet Collodion or Collodion process was invented by Englishman Fredrick Scott Archer in 1851 and was the dominant printing process from the 1850's-1880's. The process required a number of manual steps including carrying around a portable darkroom! If you think Instagram is all about the quickness, imagine coating, exposing and developing images all under 15 minutes while dealing with chemicals that could potentially become poisonous or explosive! The Wet collodion process was truly a game changer in many ways!

- Britannica

- Victoria & Albert Museum (Video)

- The Getty Museum (Video)

- A First-Timer’s Foray Into Wet-Plate Photography

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