Name Amon First

Ambrotype

To produce the negative part of this unique object, one side of a clean glass plate is covered with a thin layer of collodion containing ammonium or potassium halides (iodide or iodide and bromide). This collodion emulsion is richer in ether than the one used for producing conventional collodion negatives so as to produce a whitish image, making it show up better against the dark background used for viewing it. Dipping in a silver nitrate solution ensures that it will be uniformly sensitive to light prior to exposing the plate when still wet. After development in a nitric acid and iron sulphate developer, sometimes with added silver nitrate, the image is fixed in a bath of sodium thiosulphate or potassium cyanide. Using iron sulphate gives the ambrotype its characteristic creamy tint. After drying, a transparent varnish is applied, and sometimes, additional colour highlights.

The dark background against which the negative is placed may be of various kinds: paper, velvet or a varnish made from a base of bitumen of Judea and turpentine.

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