The Photographic Exhibition


    THE Photographic Exhibition which is now open at 5A, Pall Mall East, is well worthy of a visit by all lovers of the art-science, exemplifying as it does the progress that has been made in dry-plate processes. The perfecting of these processes must have a marked effect on the future of photography, as when they are capable of being employed under ail circumstances, the heavy paraphernalia attendant on the wet process nay be consigned to the lumber-room, and the worker in the field or laboratory need only be dependent on his box of sensitive plates and his camera. We cannot enumerate all the processes, examples of which are exhibited. We may mention, however, that the simple bromide of silver emulsion either held on the plate embedded in collodion or gelatine appears to bear away the palm for excellence, unless it be the process with which Mr. England has produced his splendid collection of Swiss views, in which (though no information is given in the catalogue regarding it), we think we can trace the delicacy due to albumen in the sensitive film, combined probably in some way or another with of silver. Another feature of the exhibition are the enlargements which are shown by various exhibitors, amongst whom we may name, as being specially worthy of mention, the Woodbury Company; the Royal Engineers, and the Autotype Company. The enlargements taken by Mr. E. Viles with the microscope are also worthy of more than a passing remark. They are all beautifully executed, but perhaps the picture of the proboscis of the common blow-fly should be specially singled out, being almost perfectly enlarged to 200 diameters. We believe thit a comparatively low-power objective was employed, and that from the small negative obtained by it an enlargement in Monckhoven's solar camera was produced. These pictures are hung too high to be well seen, and Mr. Viles perhaps might be persuaded to show them at some of this season's scientific soirées. As regards the application of photography to scientific purposes there are no other examples to be found in the exhibition, a matter which we deeply regret, seeing the large use that is made of the art-science in nearly every investigation of the present day. As regards the artistic element present, it is not in our province to dwell upon it. In many examples of portraiture it would have been well had that abomination — retouching of the negative—been avoided. As showing what a grand pencil is sunlight to the artist, we may mention the exhibits of Robinson, Blanchard, Mrs. H. Roscoe, and Slingsby, in all of which are to be found true artistic feeling and perfect manipulation. The works of Payne-Jennings, Bowness, the Royal Engineers, Stephen Thompson, and England may be classed amongst the best of the landscape work.

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    The Photographic Exhibition . Nature 16, 525–526 (1877).

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