Oct 4, 2007

Unknown Male Sitter

Unknown Male Sitter

c. 1860

Antoine-Samuel Adam-Salomon

(French, 1818–1881)

Albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 24.4 x 18.8 cm (9 5/8 x 7 3/8 in.); Matted: 61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1996.356



Almost all early photographers relied on daylight as their sole lighting source. Adam-Salomon’s special lighting techniques yielded a rich tonal range and cast his sitters’ features into relief. A ground-glass ceiling in his studio offered an even, overall light that he accented with side light from glass wall areas that could be covered or filtered by curtains. Initially a sculptor, Adam-Salomon borrowed heavily from the conventions of portrait painting, aggrandizing his subjects by setting them amid luxurious objects and grand architectural features that may or may not have related to their lives. He produced such elegant, large prints in his Parisian portrait studio that he was able to charge four times more than his most able competitors.

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