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PART 5 :THE CARTE DE VISITECRAZE ( 1862-1870 )
TheCarte de Visite Format
In the early 1850s, a number of French photographers put forwardthe idea of mounting a small photographic portrait on a card thesame size as the customary calling card. In 1854, a Parisian photographercalled Andre Adolphe Disderi (1819-1889) devised a multi-lenscamera with a collodion plate that could be moved to capture betweenfour and twelve small portraits on a single glass negative. Thismeant that a photographer equipped with a camera with four lensescould take a total of eight portraits, in a variety of poses,all on one camera plate. From the resulting negative, the photographercould produce a set of contact prints on albumenized paper, whichcould then be cut up and pasted on to small cards. The card mountswere the same size as conventional visiting cards (roughly 21/2inches by 41/4 inches or 6.3 cm by10.5 cm) and so this new format of photograph came to be knownas 'carte de visite' - the French term for visiting card.
LEFT:Anearly carte de visite camera. RIGHT: Anuncut sheet of 8 carte de visite portraits by Disderi. c1862
In 1857, Marion and Co, a French firm of photographic dealersand publishers, introduced the carte de visite (cdv) formatto England. By 1859, the carte de visite portrait was fashionablein Paris, but the new format was not immediately popular in thiscountry.
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