Posted in Learning Activity GRA 1

Learning Activity – Delving Deeper Into the History of Photography

Question 1:


Also known as a melainotype or ferrotype. Tintype was invented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith. He used collodion process on a metal plate. A thin iron sheet was covered with a dark lacquer. This way a positive was made. The whole process took only a few minutes, was much cheaper and allowed a photographer to travel.

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While looking for information about Tintype, I found a photographer from USA who takes Tintype pictures (



The first dry plate was made in 1879.
A glass plate was coated with gelatin emulsion which contained silver salts. Once dry, glass was cut into desired sizes. Dry plate made the negatives better quality, it could also be stored. This invention made photographers job easier, as they did not need theirs darkrooms.



The very first roll film was invented by Peter Houston. His younger brother David created first holders for flexible roll film.45_763df59579dfab375ffcdfe5b3872f5b
In 1889, the patent was sold to George Eastman, which he used in his Kodak 1881 box camera.
The roll film was a huge step in photography development and made mass-produced box camera dream reality.

Question 2:

Go to the library or search on the Internet and find a photograph from the 19th century (taken before 1900). Write a short “think piece” about this photograph. You are free to select any image you would like to write about, as long as the photograph was taken during the 19th century. Examine the photograph carefully and write about what you see and what the photograph makes you think about. Some (but not all) things you could consider are:

  • What does the photograph tell you about the photographer?
  • What does it tell you about the subject of the image?
  • Does the technical quality of the image (or lack thereof) help or hinder the success of the photograph?
  • Where did the photographer stand when he or she took this picture?
  • How does his or her camera position or angle affect the outcome of the image?
  • Why does this picture interest you?

PDF File with answer to Question 2


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