Photographing Carte-de-Visite

Venstre: Carte-de-Visite kamera fra samlingen (foto: Helle K. Hagen/Preus museum) Høyre: Berg & Høeg, visittkort

Visittkortfotografi / Carte-de-Visite

Berg & Høeg, scene med to menn som spiller kort, 1895-1903, sølvgelatin

Visiting-card cameras

Carte-de-Visite kamera fra samlingen (foto: Helle K. Hagen/Preus museum)

Våtplateprosessen

Johanne Seines Svendsen er fotograf og kunstner, og er en erfaren utøver av våtplateteknikken.

Photographing Carte-de-Visite

The French photographer Disdéri is thought to have invented carte-de-visite, or visiting card, portraiture.

As early as 1853 he received a patent for a frame that made it possible to take several images on the same glass plate negative. Photography became less expensive, and more people had the financial means to be photographed. In 1860 when such photography became a craze, the first albums of these photographs also appeared. The portraits are ca. 10.5 x 6.5 cm in size and were glued on cardboard. Larger versions, ca. 16.5 x 11 cm, were called cabinet cards. Gradually photographers began to advertise for themselves on cardboard.

Visittkortfotografi / Carte-de-Visite

This small visiting-card photograph isn't a completely normal portrait, but a little staged "party" with two friends.

They're playing cards and have a bottle of wine and glasses on the table. The location is the studio of the photographers Bolette Berg (1871-1944) and Marie Høeg (1866-1949) in Horten. Such scenes were very popular around 1900.

Visiting-card cameras

 In French and by extension in English the name is carte-de-visite photographs, the Norwegian phrase being "visittkortfotografier." They are ca. 6 x 9 cm in size and mounted on cardboard. Found in most homes, they were treasured family pictures or collectible images of the era's celebrities. Ancestors of serious mien look out at us from these small photographs and awaken our curiosity.

Before photography was invented in 1839, the upper class had its portraits painted. When photography made it possible for more people to have the means for a portrait, carte-de-visite photography became the first great fad. The Frenchman Adolphe Eugéne Disdéri started with the format at the end of the 1850s. Cameras with four lenses meant that photography went quickly and the price of pictures was low: a photographer could expose four images on one glass plate. In the 1870s England alone produced 300-400 million carte-de-visite photographs.
The camera in the picture is a wet-plate version from the 1860s.

Våtplateprosessen

Fra 1851 begynte glassplatene å erstatte sølvplatene og papiret som negativmateriale.

Glassplaten ble påført det klebrige stoffet kollodium før den ble dyppet i sølvnitrat for å bli lysfølsom. Etter framkalling kunne man lage papirkopier fra glassnegativet. Hele prosessen med sensibilisering, fotografering og framkalling måtte foregå mens kjemikaliene var våte. Det gjorde at fotografen måtte ha med seg et mørkerom når han skulle fotografere ute. Prosessen ble patentert av Frederick Scott Archer i 1851. I bruk mellom 1851 –1880.

Venstre: Carte-de-Visite kamera fra samlingen (foto: Helle K. Hagen/Preus museum) Høyre: Berg & Høeg, visittkort

Berg & Høeg, scene med to menn som spiller kort, 1895-1903, sølvgelatin

Carte-de-Visite kamera fra samlingen (foto: Helle K. Hagen/Preus museum)

Johanne Seines Svendsen er fotograf og kunstner, og er en erfaren utøver av våtplateteknikken.