Tate Britain Exhibition

Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840 – 1860

Jean-Baptiste Frénet Horse and Groom

Roger Fenton Cantinière 1855

William Fox Talbot Study of China 1844

Jean-Baptiste Frénet Women and girls with a doll 1855

William Henry Fox Talbot Plaster Bust of Patroclus 1846

D. O. Hill and Robert Adamson Newhaven fishermen, circa 1845

John Wheeley Gough Gutch Abbey Ruins, circa 1858

Roger Fenton Captain Mottram Andrews, 28th Regiment 1855

This is the first exhibition in Britain devoted to salted paper prints, one of the earliest forms of photography. A uniquely British invention, unveiled by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839, salt prints spread across the globe, creating a new visual language of the modern moment.

This revolutionary technique transformed subjects from still lifes, portraits, landscapes and scenes of daily life into images with their own specific aesthetic: a soft, luxurious effect particular to this photographic process.

The few salt prints that survive are seldom seen due to their fragility, and so this exhibition, a collaboration with the Wilson Centre for Photography, is a singular opportunity to see the rarest and best early photographs of this type in the world.

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Charlie Phillips on Salt and Silver Photography | TateShots

There is a softness in the interplay of light and shade that almost seems to anticipate Impressionism.

Shows a warmth that often seems to be lacking in 19th-century portrait photography.

Essentially, we’re witnessing photography’s remarkable emergence into the world.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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25 February – 7 June 2015

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