Paper Negatives

Fine art photography using photographic paper as the negative (Calotype) in antique cameras, vintage cameras and DIY cameras.

I started my work with antique cameras using photographic paper instead of the glass plates that would have been used originally in these cameras from c1900. 

In fact, the first photographs which used a negative/positive print process were made using a paper negative and were invented by Henry Fox Talbot. They were called Talbotypes or Calotypes.

The paper is not sensitive to red light (orthochromatic) so produces an image with a "different' feel. The image produced on the paper is a negative image - back to front, upside down, light areas darken the paper, the darker areas appear light where the sensitised paper has not reacted to the light. 


Some of these negatives I have contact printed to make a positive print, whilst others stand as the intriguing and beautiful images they are.


That the paper is insensitive to red light means the exposed negatives can be developed under red light in open trays, giving the great advantage of being able to watch the development and “pulling” the paper at the desired stage of development. This was very helpful when I was learning the process.

Lots of advice on using photographic paper as film in this facebook group