17.10.2015 Billy The Kid (BTK) or a Rare Occasion to Investigate an Alleged Lost Treasure

BTK face

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International medias are widely informing our planet of the coming auction of a photography which could become the most expensive (desirable ?) photograph on Earth. Wikipedia, Telerama in France and Reuters are quoted at the end of this article.

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The value being established on the recognition of a human character of XIXth century, BTK, by comparison with a unique photographic document. Without the match the value is 20 us $, with the match it could eventually convince some collector to be more than a million us $.

This article will not give any answer, just propose a method and quote some published comments.

Here is a list of 12 decisive but not sufficient questions which can help making an opinion:

1.  Is the picture an actual tintype as claimed : a late-1870s plate ?

Continuer la lecture de « 17.10.2015 Billy The Kid (BTK) or a Rare Occasion to Investigate an Alleged Lost Treasure »

27.10.2007 Carnet de Chine

27.10.2007 couv Belchior Carnet de chine

Hommage à Francisco Belchior, chasseur de petits trésors


“Faux-titre : Portrait volé, 1903. Le photographe a utilisé un appareil dissimulé qui surprenait les dames à leur insu, avec un objectif en coin. Son reflet ne le trahissait même pas, car comme le chineur, il est resté imperturbable quand il s’est senti observé ; archive trouvée lors d’un vide-grenier dont l’adresse est toujours bonne” (Collection RPH)

Accès au pdf ; 27.10.2007 Belchior Carnet de chine

15.10.2005 Lee Marks & John Deprez : The Hidden Presence

28.05.2006 couv Hidden Presence

Le premier carnet en langue anglaise, conçu par Lee Marks et John Deprez :

“For young subjects, a portrait session could be quite a terrifying experience. Consider that before a toddler reached the age of understanding, they were admonished to remain still for an eternity of many seconds. They were instructed to stare at a large camera and lens operated by an unfamiliar man who was mostly hidden beneath a black cloth.

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Perhaps most frightening, all the while they were being held by either a total stranger, or worse still, their own mother who had been hidden beneath enough fabric to make her look more like an overstuffed chair than the child’s loving protectress.

America’s contribution of the tintype in the history of photography was a modest one compared to the dramatic inventions of the French daguerreotype and England’s paper negative.

Humble in appearance and price, the tintype nonetheless was extremely durable — both physically and commercially. It had a longer life span than the daguerreotype and ambrotype combined, and its popularity was more widespread than either process.

On February 19, 1856, the United States Patent Office issued a patent for the Melainotype (eventually called ferrotype, and finally, tintype) to Hamilton L. Smith, a professor at Kenyon College in Ohio.

Borrowing from the ambrotype on glass, Smith’s process involved brushing an opaque black or dark brown japan varnish on a thin iron (not tin) sheet. The sheet was then heated in a drying oven to harden and dry, producing a glossy, dark japanned surface on one or both sides. Just before inserting this sheet in the camera for exposure, it was coated with wet collodion, a highly flammable, viscous solution of nitrocellulose and alcohol to which silver salts were added.

Exemple 1 hidden presence

Immediately following exposure, the plate was removed from the camera and developed. The finished product was a unique, laterally reversed, direct-positive image that could be duplicated only by rephotographing the entire object.”

Access to the pdf :maquette LEE Hidden presence 2005_maquette geppetti