Hand-Coloring of Century Photographs. After initial excitement for the daguerreotype wore off, disappointment at the lack of realistic coloring set in. The public clamored for the ability to capture the natural colors of the world through photography, and though many attempts were made, none were able to create a lasting image.
The most notorious of attempts at natural color photography was by L. Hill who claimed to have discovered a technique to create color daguerreotypes, which he called heliochromes.
He published his findings in A Treatise on Heliochromy in Hill,but no one was able to reproduce his results.
He was labeled a fraud and gave up daguerreotyping Burns, From its beginnings, photography was seen as an alternative to traditional portraiture.
Clients of photographic portraiture knew that the image would be considered to be true to life, so they wanted to take every precaution to capture themselves in the most flattering way possible.
In the early days of daguerreotypes, exposure times were long, contrast was low, and to combat those effects, subjects were made to wear and do outrageous things. Head restraints were bolted to chairs to prevent subjects from moving and blurring the photograph Burns, Sitters were discouraged from wearing black velvet very light colors such as light blue and pink.
Thus retouching of negatives and photographs began — the first Photoshop!
Negatives Dating ambrotypes varnish chipped photographs were retouched using India ink and scratching tools to highlight the most desirable and delicate features.
This served not only enhance the features of the subject, but to maintain the image in the event of fading Henisch, ; Burns, While the world awaited the discovery of natural color photography, an alternative was sought and found in the use of pigments to hand-color photographs.
Later that same year, a second American patent for coloring daguerreotypes was granted Rinhart, As photographic imaging processes became more sophisticated, with photographic images appearing on everything from glass to leather Towler, to ceramics, so did the coloring techniques Henisch, For every photographic medium, a method for hand-coloring was developed. Photographs were colored in one of two ways: Over-painted images mainly served as modern portraiture or as a way for an artist to pawn off an image as a freehand work of art, and often involved altering undesirable aspects of the original photograph.
The cost of a painted photograph depended greatly on the amount of paint applied to the print Burns, Before the introduction of the tintype, any photographic portrait was too costly for most people, but the tintype was a much cheaper alternative and brought photographic portraiture to the masses. Having a hand-colored photographic portrait became a status symbol, though most lower class people could only afford a rosy tint on the cheeks and gold "Dating ambrotypes varnish chipped" on jewelry Burns, ; Henisch, As photography and photographic portraiture became available to people all across the United States, photographers realized their need for colorists, who were usually women artists Henisch, Most photographers offered a hand-coloring option for their portraits whether they employed a colorist, contracted out for coloring, or colored their own photographs.
Crayon portraits were paper prints that were made by enlarging a photograph to near life-size, mainly a life-size head or head and shoulders Henisch, All a person had to do was send in a photograph and they would be returned a life-size colored print Burns, The first of such life-size portraits were made using large cameras, but the invention of the solar enlarger in gave better results Henisch, Hand-colored photographs grew in popularity to the point that people began to write in to prominent photography and art journals inquiring about methods of coloring photographs.
InArt Amateur ran a series of articles describing in detail how to color a photograph: Many books were written giving similar detailed instructions for novices Tobias, ; Towler, Coloring photographs was no longer just for professionals.
Despite all the interest and progress in the field of hand-coloring photographs, discontent plagued both the photographic and artistic communities Henisch, Some photographers believed that to artificially color a photograph was to alter its truth-telling nature and was considered blasphemy to the profession.
Artists saw coloring photographs as an uncreative way to create works of art, and they saw the downfall of traditional portraiture in the rise of photographic works. Even though it was sneered at from both sides, the hand-colored photograph flourished, and hand-coloring kits and books are sold today.
In the first widely accepted natural color photographic process, the autochrome was invented Baldwin, Photographic Coloring Techniques for Different Photographic Processes Any photograph could be colored in a variety of ways, but most colorists preferred to work Dating ambrotypes varnish chipped photographs that were not overdeveloped and contained the entire range of tonal values Henisch, Since the silver layer absorbed color differently than the Dating ambrotypes varnish chipped of the photograph, the colorist would often use a coating of varnish to create an even appearance.
Coloring was seen as something that should enhance the photograph and not obscure it except in the case of overpaintingso it was recommended to apply a few light layers of color until the right shade was achieved rather than dark coating Towler, ; Henish, Most colorants needed the addition of a binding material such as gum arabic to adhere to the photographic substrate.
The colors most often used for coloring photographs were India red and pink madder for coloring cheeks, and gold paint for coloring jewelry Rinhart, The first American patent for coloring daguerreotypes involved coating the surface of the photograph with varnish or gum after fixing and washing Rinhart, ; Burns, ; Henisch, The layer of varnish could then be easily painted.
Most colorists, however, followed a previous, more complicated method of hand-coloring daguerreotypes that was invented by a Swiss photographer named J. It involved tracing the image onto a transparent surface and creating stencils from this image, one for each color that was to be applied. Dry color was then mixed with a little gum arabic and sprinkled over the stencils. Breathing on the colors activated the gum arabic and fixed the colors in place. Silver jewelry was accentuated on daguerreotypes by scratching the image to reveal the silver plate below.
Overall tinting of a photograph was accomplished by placing it in a chemical bath and hooking it up to a galvanic battery to create a current until the desired tone was reached Rinhart, ; Burns, ; Henisch, Ambrotypes, invented inwere a collodion positive image on glass with very low contrast so that a dark background had to be placed behind the image glass in order to properly see the photograph Burns, For colored ambrotypes, a backing of maroon or violet colored velvet was recommended.
Colored and painted papers were used in "Dating ambrotypes varnish chipped" with black varnish as backings for ambrotypes as an alternative to painting on the image Prescott, Ambrotypes were colored similarly to daguerreotypes, but the paint scratched and wore off easier, so a varnish layer was often applied over the color.
These images were typically mounted collodion side up so that the color was viewed through the image Prescott, Another way of coloring ambrotypes also took advantage of their transparent nature. Paint was applied to the collodion imaging side of the glass plate rather than the viewing side. For this method, the collodion was first made permeable to the pigments by applying an alabastrine solution. It was then painted over, coated with clear varnish, and placed collodion side down over a black background.
Velvet was the recommended background so as not to scratch the image Burns, ; Henisch, ; Towler, Tintypes, also called ferrotypes, were direct positive collodion images on black lacquered iron plates Burns, ; Rinhart, They were much less expensive than daguerreotypes and ambrotypes and were much less prone to breaking, though the image produced was much flatter.