2.5.10 Ambrotype and Carte de Visite Comparison

Both the carte de visite and the ambrotype became popular collodion processes during the mid 1800's. The top image displays an uncut sheet of carte de visites produced around 1850. The carte de visite, or visiting card, was a 2 1/4 by 3 1/2 inch photograph mounted on a paper card. Numerous exposures were made on a single wet plate (making it possible to place a variety of poses on a single sheet), decreasing the cost of one print. The carte was considered chic throughout Europe in the late 1850's and 1860's.

The latter image, a portrait of an American soldier (1861-1865), provides a good example of an ambrotype. Devised from the Greek word meaning "imperishable," the ambrotype was similar to the daguerrotype but lacked a highly reflective surface and was less expensive to make.

Both processes served their individual purposes. Ambrotypes provided a cheaper alternative to the daguerrotype, while still maintaining much of the ornateness (usually surrounded by ornate frames), and carte de visites provided for small images that could be used for social situations.

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