The Portrait Path (ca. 1830s–1890s)

Part of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work book series (CSCW)


In the first decades of the nineteenth century the invention of photography involved low-hanging fruit. There was existing demand in the growing middle classes for affordable ‘likenesses’ (i.e., portrait pictures), a practice well established in that stratum of society. The camera obscura, technology known for centuries, could render a more detailed image than any painting or carving and without apparent effort. Also, the light-sensitive nature of silver salts (silver nitrate and silver chloride) was widely known among contemporary practitioners. All that was needed was a way to permanently record the camera obscura’s image in order to produce likenesses for an existing market.


Metal Plate Head Start Silver Salt Social Networking Service Public Figure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer London 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIITAalto UniversityHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Digital World Research CentreUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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