FREDERICK SCOTT ARCHER
Photography was presented as a new visual medium simultaneously in England and France in 1839. This invention had been preceded by a decade of experimentation. The aim was to fix a fragment of reality projected via a lens onto the ground glass of a camera obscura on a support sensitized to light with silver nitrate. In England, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877) developed a negative-positive process, which he called the calotype. Using this process, multiple positive prints could be made from a paper negative. The most common method used, well into the nineteenth century, was the wet collodion process (developed by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851), by which prints on albumen paper were made from glass negatives. The benefit of this process was that it produced sharp images on glass in a matter of seconds. But this method also had one major drawback: It involved multiple steps to capture, expose, and develop the plate, and the photographer needed to have equipment on hand to immediately treat the wet plate.
Adapted from: Boom, Mattie. "Photography." Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 4, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006
Archer, Frederick Scott, and the Journal of the Photographic Society. "On Rendering the Collodion Film Permanent Independently of Glass Plates." The Photographic and Fine Art Journal, vol. IX, no. I, 1856
Archer, M., et al. "Rules to Be Folowed in the Employment of Collodion Prepared by M. Archer for Obtaining Instantaneous, Positive and Negative Proofs." The Photographic Art Journal, vol. 4, no. 5, 1852