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Negative paper

A paper negative is a negative image obtained on a light-sensitized sheet of paper exposed in a view camera. Invented simultaneously with the Daguerreotype, it brought photography into its modern era by introducing the "negative-positive" process for the first time, making it possible to produce more than one print from the same negative image. The term "paper negative" covers a variety of techniques which can be difficult to differentiate. All of them are variants of the calotype (or talbotype) visually process patented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1841 after his discovery of the photogenic drawing.

Calotypes are produced as follows: a high-quality sheet of paper is coated with a silver nitrate solution using a paintbrush, then dried. Next, it is dipped in a potassium iodide solution for several minutes, for an initial round of sensitization by forming silver iodide. After being dried again, this time in the dark, it is treated with "gallo-nitrate of silver," a solution consisting of silver nitrate, gallic acid and acetic acid. Once it is rinsed, the sheet, wet or dry, must be quickly placed in the camera to capture the image.

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