Instantaneous Photography – Freezing motion in the 19th century [EN]

Christian Klant

 

Even though early photography evolved at an impressive rate, the actual exposure times were
very slow. Starting with hours, dropping down to minutes and thanks to the increasing
sensitivity of the wet-plate collodion process, exposure times finally decreased to fractions of
seconds.

An increasing number of photographers (many of them former painters) started experimenting
with chemical and technical elements to freeze motion with the use of photography. The rise of
an instantaneous photographic movement was an exciting adventure for both photographers
and viewers of this new medium. The reactions to the first street scenes or breaking waves
must have been deeply impressive. It was the skilful work and the visionary mind of Eadweard
Muybridge who took instantaneous photography to the next level by capturing a horse in full
gallop.

 

Christian Klant is demonstrating technical strategies for instantaneous photographers using
daguerreotypes and wet plate collodion as processes of choice. Major milestones are
interpreted by showing various examples from the 1840s to the 1870s.

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