Photography has beenaround for a long period of time, and despite the many different earlyphotographic processes, perhaps 3 main ones stood out: Daguerreotype,Ambrotype, and Tintypes. In particular, ambrotypeis one of the many early photographic processes used to develop and “print”photographs. The ambrotype process is documented to have been created by JamesAnson Cutting in 1854 however, it is stated that the process was actually firstused by Frederick Scott Archer 3 years prior to Cutting, to create some of the earliestportraits of this method. Before ambrotype, another process known as daguerreotypewas very popular.
Ambrotype had easily overtakendaguerreotype in demand and usage as soon as it came out mainly because it was easierto view and not as expensive to produce. The main reason for this was becauseunlike daguerreotype, ambrotype did not have a surface that is mirror-like orshiny which made viewers have to tilt the photo to a certain angle to be ableto see the image. Ambrotype was also cheaper to produce and required a shorterexposure time in order to capture an image. Ambrotype are basically positivephotographs that has been exposed onto glass. Nevertheless, it must be notedthat the glass itself when the image is produced is actually negative.
However,as it is often placed against a dark background, the image appears positive. Toput it simply, ambrotype was a glass plate that was covered with collodion thatcontained iodide, and then put into a silver nitrate solution, making it sothat the glass is sensitive to light and able to be exposed to produce animage; the glass must still be wet in order to work. To develop the image, theglass must be developed in a solution that contains “nitric acid and iron sulphate”and then bathed in either sodium thiosulphate or potassium cyanide. The glasswill then be dried.
With that, a negative image is actually produced or printed.Even after drying, oftentimes a transparent varnish will be used over the image.As the last step of printing, a dark background is then placed with the glassto create a positive image. In fact, the dark background sometimes create acertain depth within the image.