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Re: filmscanners: open and control

I just came in on this discussion on this note. Interestingly and
coincidentally, I was reading "Photogaphy Until Now" by John Szarkowski
this morning. My historical comments will of course be colored by what
Szarkowski chose to tell me...

Part of the popularity of Daguerre's method was the openness compared to
Talbot's calotype. However, a large part was due to the product. The
daguerratype astounded people. It was something new and different. The
calotype was more of an extension of existing art at the time. Despite
its popularity, the daguerreotype rather quickly reached the limits of
its "technology". The demise of the daguerreotype was due to more than
it's "openness". Modern photography can trace its roots to Talbot.

After about 1850, both methods were superceded by the wet plate method.
Wet plate ruled photography for the next 30 years.

Aound 1880, wet plate was surplanted by the dry plate method, which was
developed by many and popularized by Eastman. With wet plate, the
photographer was required to control the entire process. Essentially, he
had to create the plate, expose it and then develop it all on the spot.
With dry plate, the chemistry became so difficult that the creation of
the plate and often the developing was done by a third party. George
Eastman made that third party ubiquitously Kodak. To paraphrase
Szarkowski, after the adoption of dry plate, the methods and materials
available to photographers were what Kodak and the other photographic
companies decided to supply them.

While the hard ball tactics of George Eastman and Kodak are legendary,
they don't extend back in time to Daguerre and Fox Talbot ;).

Anyway, I found it interesting...

Andrew Robinson

Lynn Allen wrote:
> Bob Croxford wrote (very interestingly):
> > Daguerre was paid a pension by the French government to make his invention
> free to everyone, (except the Brits). Fox Talbot on the other hand
> controlled everything through his rigid patents. The result was that no one
> tried to circumvent the daguerreotype while lots of inventors tried, and
> succeeded, in
> circumventing Talbot's patents. The result was a huge boost to neg/pos
> photography while Daguerre's ideas stayed in a cul-de-sac.
> This is a story that I haven't read up on sufficiently, to my lasting shame.
> I know I *really* should stay out of this one, but you all knew I'd be drawn
> in, didn't you? ;-)
> It seems to me that George Eastman circumvented Talbot's and other patents
> very successfully vis-a-vis sensitized-paper and celuloid negatives--and
> then proceded to take over or eliminate almost every other film and
> camera-maker in the USA within a short span of time. This probably relates
> more to the variations of the nations' laws than to the hypotheses at hand,
> viz "control" vs. "open," IMO.


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