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Giza: The Sphinx and Pyramid of Cheops (1864 photo)
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The Pyramid of Cheops and the Sphinx at Giza (photo: Beato 1864). .




In this albumen print, Antonio Beato, an early Italian photographer who travelled extensively in Egypt, portrays of group of Japanese diplomats who are visiting the monuments at Giza. Beato's photos typically show sharp detail and a wide range of gray tones.

The albumen printing method, invented in 1847 by French photographer Louis  Blanquart-Evrard, was the first widely effective and practical method of producing a photographic print from a negative. 
After a glass negative was created by the collodion process, a contact print was made using the ultaviolet light in sunlight. The glass negative was laid over paper coated with an emulsion of egg white (albumen) and salt (sodium chloride), which had been dipped in a solution of silver nitrate and water to form silver chloride, making the paper's surface sensitive to UV light.

The albumen silver process became  the dominant method of printing photographic positives in the latter half of the 19th century. It was used effectively by Frith, Beato, and a number of other photographers in recording Egyptian sites and monuments from the late 1850s onward.


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