William Henry Fox Talbot and the Birth of Photography

May 17, 2018 - July 15, 2018

William Henry Fox Talbot was a scientist, inventor, and, if your definition of "photography" is the process whereby an image is formed in its negative (tonalities are reversed: Whites are black and blacks are white) from which unlimited positive prints could be made, he was also the father of photography. But even in 1839 (at age 39), when Talbot presented his discovery to the British Royal Society there were many for whom the invention was not only of dubious provenance, but of questionable use. The exhibition William Henry Fox Talbot and the Birth of Photography celebrates the Norton’s recent acquisition of one of Talbot's “photogenic drawing negatives” made sometime before 1845. The exhibition examines Talbot's process, his rivalry with Parisian Jacques-Louis Mandé Daguerre whose own "invention" of photography was celebrated by the French, and Talbot's concerted effort to explain to a Victorian public why the invention mattered. 

Organized by the Norton Museum of Art.