Centro de la Fotografía y la Imagen Histórica de Guadalajara

Democratization of the portrait. Relief and Colour

Patented by the Frenchman André Adolphe Eugéne Disdéri in 1854, la carte de visite or visit card is a paper copy (generally albuminized) from a collodion negative. The picture, in a 58 x 94 mm format, is glued to a 63 x 102 mm cardboard. The pictures were taken with special cameras of four, six and even eight lenses to have the same amount of views of only one plate. The system made the portrait much cheaper and was used massively in Europe in the 1860’s.

A stereoscopic picture is an image produced by a camera equipped with two lenses placed separately with a distance between them similar to the distance between the eyes (about 7 centimetres). The method is based then, in binocular human vision. If the two pictures are seen with the appropriate scope, the observer perceives only one 3D image. In 1851 Universal Exposition, stereoscopic daguerreotypes taken by Jules Duboscq were shown and soon the stereoscopic positives were sold at a very economic prices. The popularity of stereoscopy didn’t diminish until the 20th century was already well under way.

The autochrome was invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiére and was presented by them in the Paris Science Academy. It was the first colour processed photography that has had a real success since its commercialization in 1907. The glass plate was coated with emulsion made from grains of starch (potato starch) dyed with three-coloured printing, mosaic that filtered the light before it affected the silver coating. The use of autochrome continued until 1930’s, when it was replaced by a more perfect suctractiv synthesis system such as Kodacolor or Agfacolor.

The museum archives are composed of dozens of cartes de visite, many stereoscopic images in glass and even some autochromes, and also many old pieces that correspond to other typologies.