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In Focus: William Henry Fox Talbot

  • Larry Schaaf

    William Henry Fox Talbot, a scientist, mathematician, author, and artist, is credited with being the inventor of photography as we know it. In mid-1834 he began to experiment with light-sensitive chemistry, and in January 1839 he announced his invention of the photogenic drawing, two weeks after Louis-Jacques Mande Daguerre's daguerreotype process debuted in France. Talbot's improved process—the calotype—was introduced in 1840. This invention, which shortened exposure times and facilitated making multiple prints from a single negative, became the basis for photography as it is practiced today.

    The J. Paul Getty Museum's collection of photographs includes approximately three hundred fifty by Talbot, and approximately fifty are reproduced here in full color with commentary on each image by Larry Schaaf, author of The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot. Schaaf also provides an introduction to the book and a chronological overview of the artist's life.

    This book includes an edited transcript of a colloquium on Talbot's career with participants Schaaf; Michael Ware, honorary fellow in chemistry, University of Manchester, England; Goeffrey Batchen, associate professor of photography, University of New Mexico; Nancy Keeler, independent photohistorian; James Fee, photographer and instructor at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena; Weston Naef, curator emeritus of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum; and David Featherstone, independent editor and curator.

    "A valuable addition to photography collections."

    "The volume is worth acquiring as a source for its images alone; the expert analysis and discussion make it all that much more accessible and valuable."
    —Reference Reviews

    144 pages
    6 x 7 5/8 inches
    56 color illustrations
    ISBN 978-0-89236-660-6

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum
    Series: In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum