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Papier salé

The successors to photogenic drawings, salted paper prints were introduced in 1839 by William Henry Fox Talbot. They were the first positive prints obtained from paper negatives, called calotypes, which is why they are sometimes erroneously called "positive calotypes."

Preparing the paper for these prints requires two steps: salting and sensitizing. A sheet of cotton paper free from impurities is first salted by being dipped in a solution of sodium chloride (sea salt) and dried. It is then placed in a mixture of water and silver nitrate, which reacts with the sodium chloride to produce light-sensitive silver chloride. This floating technique for the sensitizing stage is a definite improvement contributed by Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Évrard: it is more effective at coating the paper than the paintbrush application used in Talbot's procedure, resulting in a clearer image. After it is dried, the coated sheet can be used for daylight printing: the sensitized sheet is exposed to light in contact with a paper negative on a printing-frame.

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