Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840–1860
William Henry Fox Talbot... Wild Fennel (1841–42, Salted paper print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gilman Collection). From the exhibition Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840–1860 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. "...This exhibition is the first to explore the opening decades of paper photography in the country of its birth, focusing exclusively on photographs printed from negatives of fine writing paper. This early process — replaced almost entirely by glass negatives by 1860 — was favored especially by men of learning and leisure who not only accepted but also appreciated the medium’s tendency to soften details and mass light and shadow in a self-consciously artistic way. At home, their most frequent subjects — ancient oaks, rocky landscapes, ruined castles and abbeys, gatherings of friends and family —provided an antidote to the ills of modern, industrialized society; abroad, they were drawn to the glories of past civilizations manifest in Roman ruins, medieval churches, or Indian temples."