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Chronology of Stieglitz’s Processes and Techniques

Julia Thompson


Stieglitz’s Photographic Practices and Processes: Section Home

Originally published 2002; minor adaptations have been made for the presentation of this text online.




Enrolls at the Königliche Technische Hochschule, Berlin


Probably studies with the renowned photo-chemist Professor Hermann Wilhelm Vogel and learns the collodion process, a silver printing-out process which does not require chemicals to develop; probably buys a dry plate camera, which accommodates glass plate negatives that are approximately 5 × 8 inches


Elected member of the Verein zur Förderung der Photographie, Berlin (Association for the Advancement of Photography)


Uses Aristotype paper, a silver chloride printing-out paper (gelatin or collodion) manufactured by Paul Edward Liesegang, Düsseldorf

Letter from Stieglitz read by Vogel before the Verein zur Förderung der Photographie describing experiments using yellow filters in combination with Vogel azaline plates, the first panchromatic plate, with an emulsion sensitive to the full visible spectrum



Publishes letter describing experiments with Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company’s silver bromide (developing-out) paper, which he considers second only to platinum paper


Publishes article on intensifying glass plate negatives using mercury chloride and ammonia


Publishes article on Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company’s innovative stripping film, with a photosensitive emulsion that can be transferred from its paper support to a gelatin surface to create a flexible transparent negative

Elected member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft von Freunden der Photographie (German Society of the Friends of Photography)


Publishes article on the platinum process
Uses Vogel-Obernetter erythrosine plates, the first commercially manufactured orthochromatic plate, with an emulsion sensitive to ultra-violet, blue, and green parts of the spectrum


Exhibits Aristotypes, platinum prints, and silver bromide prints (enlargements)


Publishes article on two new processes: the negative paper manufactured by the Vergara Film Company, which is developed and fixed in the same way as glass negatives but is easier to handle; and the “U” paper, a photographic paper manufactured by Liesegang

Publishes letter describing the new platinum process invented by Captain Giuseppe Pizzighelli, Vienna; marketed under the name Pizzitype, the process produces direct (contact) printed-out platinum prints


Publishes article on fixing negative plates in daylight


Elected member of the Wiener Klub der Amateur-Photographen


Publishes letter on toning Aristotype prints with gold chloride to achieve tones varying from a rich purple to a soft green


Exhibits Aristotypes toned with platinum and Pizzitype prints


Publishes articles on experiments with transferotype paper, a silver bromide paper with a coating of soluble gelatin under the photo-sensitive emulsion, which allows it to be separated from its paper support and transferred to a variety of supports; and the new platinum paper manufactured by William Willis, London, the inventor of the platinum process and founder of the Platinotype Company


Publishes article on correct exposing and developing times


Publishes article with details of the new Willis cold development platinum process, which allows development at any temperature and produces prints with neutral gray tones

Publishes letter describing experiments begun two years earlier using platinum and potassium chloride salts, and neutral potassium oxalate to tone Aristotype paper; current experiments are with a slightly alkaline (sodium phosphate) or acidic bath in order to achieve perfectly black tones; these experiments show conclusively that gold toning baths can be replaced by platinum baths for Aristotypes as well as other silver papers


Publishes article on coated celluloid sheets that can be used as substitutes for glass plates, manufactured by John Carbutt, Keystone Dry Plate and Film Works, Philadelphia


Serves as juror for the division of apparatus and chemicals at the Photographischen Jubiläums Ausstellung, Berlin


Publishes article on the impossibility of printing Aristotypes in artificial light; comments on the durability of gold-toned prints, which he feels are no more permanent than untoned prints


Publishes article on the influence of the temperature of developers on negatives

Uses isochromatic (orthochromatic) plates produced commercially by Leon Warnerke and Company, London



Exhibits platinum prints


Publishes article on the new platinum-toned silver paper manufactured by Blanchard, and a recipe for toning Aristotypes in a bath of gold chloride and uranium nitrate


Travels to Vienna to study at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt, the state printing and photography school, headed by photo-chemist and historian Josef Maria Eder


Publishes article on how to accelerate the drying of gelatin negatives using alcohol

Begins a managerial position with a struggling photoengraving firm, the Heliochrome Company, New York, which soon goes bankrupt and is reorganized as the Photochrome Engraving Company; the firm experiments with both black-and-white and color printing processes, including photolithography, halftone, and, later, photogravure

Publishes article on the role the hygroscopic state of platinum paper before and during printing plays in the tinting of platinum prints


Exhibits Aristotypes and platinum prints (hot process and sepiatypes)


Publishes article recommending the use of two fixer baths to sufficiently fix negatives


Photochrome Engraving Company wins medal for photochromography (color lithography) at an exhibition in Leeds; the company’s work is also included in exhibitions in Glasgow and the American Institute, New York

Begins to use an 8 × 10-inch view camera

Publishes article on a simplified kallitype printing process, which is similar to the platinum process but the image consists of metallic silver


Experiments with lantern slides (glass transparencies projected onto a screen from a “magic lantern”)


Exhibits lantern slides and platinum prints


Reads paper before the Society of Amateur Photographers on toning lantern slides with uranium salts; includes recipes to achieve brown, red, green, and blue tones; publishes article on experiments with different lantern slide plates, and compares those manufactured by Carbutt and the Eastman Kodak Company


Publishes article on the platinum process, one of the two “finest printing processes” of the day (the other being carbon, a pigment process based on the light sensitivity of bichromated colloids)


Publishes article describing Willis’ new cold development platinum paper, which enables the photographer to use developers of varied strength and therefore “paint out the picture—that is . . . develop by means of brushes, soaked with developers of varied strength, and so force out certain parts of the print, while keeping back others”


Reads paper, “The Platinotype Up to Date,” and also gives demonstration of the cold-development platinum process before the Society of Amateur Photographers

Uses a hand camera that produces 4 × 5-inch negatives

Publishes article on a method of backing plates using a solution of asphaltum and benzole to prevent halation


Exhibits Aristotypes, lantern slides, and platinum prints

Uses a borrowed detective (hand) camera, possibly manufactured by Tisdell and Whittlesey, that produces negatives that are 3 1/4 × 4 1/4 inches, to photograph in a snowstorm


Publishes article on toning platinotypes with uranium nitrate to achieve brown and red tones


Exhibits carbon and platinum prints


Photochrome Engraving Company shows work at the Exhibition of Photomechanical Prints and Printing Processes, Society of Amateur Photographers, New York


Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum prints

Photogravure included in portfolio, Pictorial Photographs: A Record of the Photographic Salon, published by Walter L. Colls, London; photogravures are also included in the portfolios for the 1896 and 1897 Salon exhibitions

Resigns from the Photochrome Engraving Company

Uses orthochromatic plates manufactured by the Lumière brothers, Paris, and Schleussner; uses anastigmat 7 1/2-inch lens made by Zeiss, and 7- and 12-inch lenses from Goertz American Optical Company; uses a Thornton-Pickard shutter


Exhibits carbon prints, lantern slides, photogravures, and platinum prints

Publishes articles on the halftone process, which “rules the world of illustration today”; and the hand camera, which is “excellently adapted” to serious work and without which the pictorial photographer is “sadly handicapped”


Exhibits carbon prints, lantern slides, photogravures, and platinum prints

Portfolio of 12 photogravures, Picturesque Bits of New York and Other Studies, published by Robert Howard Russell, New York


Publishes article on how to develop lantern slides using partial and local toning; includes recipes for blue, green, and red tones: “such local toning is of great effect and beauty especially if the original ground color of the slide is kept and another color simply suggested in parts . . . as a general rule the monochrome slide is preferable”


Exhibits carbon prints, gum bichromate prints, and platinum prints


Publishes article on the growing popularity of the gum bichromate process in the United States

Experiments with the new lantern slide plate commercially manufactured by the M.A. Seed Dry Plate Company, St. Louis

Publishes essay on the platinum process, which is equaled only by the carbon process for its “valuable pictorial quality”


Exhibits Aristo-Platino (collodion silver chloride) prints, carbon prints, gum bichromate prints, lantern slides, photogravures, and direct and manipulated platinum prints


Publishes article on pictorial photography and latest experiments with the platinum process, which have “opened up an entirely new field—that of local brush development with different solutions, so as to produce colors and impart to the finished picture all of the characteristics of a tinted wash-drawing. . . . In the ‘gum process’ . . . the artist has a medium that permits the production of any effect desired”



Exhibits carbon prints, lantern slides, and platinum and manipulated platinum prints


Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum and manipulated platinum prints


Uses sepia platinum paper, a combination palladium and platinum cold bath paper manufactured by Dr. Jacoby, Berlin


Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum and manipulated platinum prints

Publishes article on the use of spoiled platinum paper as mounts for platinum prints, which can be toned to produce harmonious colors

Endorses the Kodak Developing Machine, which simplifies the processing of roll film and makes film development without a darkroom possible

Publishes article on enlarging bromide negatives, which allows the photographer to “retouch, intensify or reduce locally, or otherwise manipulate with greater freedom than upon a smaller surface”


Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum prints


Endorses M.A. Seed Company’s Non-Halation Ortho plates, the “most perfect all-around plate” on the market, which he has used for three years


Publishes article warning of the dangers of mishandling poisonous chemicals


Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum prints

Set of 5 photogravures published, The Work of Alfred Stieglitz


Exhibits photogravures and platinum prints

Publishes article on mounting lantern slides as prints


Exhibits photogravures and platinum prints


Endorses Graflex cameras, manufactured by Folmer and Schwing Company, Rochester, which he has owned since they have been on the market (around 1890); presently owns three, which produce negatives that are 5 × 7, 4 × 5, and 3 1/4 × 4 1/4 inches


Exhibits Autochromes, photogravures, and platinum prints

Collaborates with Clarence H. White on a series of nudes, The Cramer-Thompson Series; these experiments include the use of different lenses and processes, including platinum, gelatin silver, and gum bichromate over platinum


Hears from Edward Steichen of the demonstration in Paris of the Autochrome process, the first practical color process, given by the inventor, Louis Lumière; carries out his own experiments with the process while in Munich with Frank Eugene, Heinrich Kühn, and Edward Steichen


Publishes article on the Autochrome process, which “will be to the future of color photography what the Daguerreotype has been to modern monochrome photography”


Demonstrates the Autochrome process to the press at the Photo-Secession Galleries, 291 Fifth Avenue


Exhibits photogravures and platinum prints

Publishes article on the prevention of frilling of Autochromes plates (the lifting of the emulsion around the edges)


Exhibits Autochromes, carbon prints, and photogravures



Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and silver bromide prints


Exhibits photogravures


Exhibits carbon prints and photogravures


Orders a 14- or 15-inch semi-achromatic lens with an aluminum mount and iris diaphragm shutter from Pinkham and Smith, Boston, and returns two Doublet lenses sent on probation; later orders an 18- and a 20-inch lens


Exhibits photogravures

Orders American Platinum paper Heavy from the American Aristotype Division of the Eastman Kodak Company; also orders an Autographic Kodak camera from Eastman Kodak


Exhibits photogravures

Orders Orthonon plates and several papers from the Eastman Kodak Company: American Platinum paper Heavy Smooth, American Platinum paper Extra Heavy Smooth, and Etching Black Platinum paper Heavy Smooth; also orders American Platinum Black and Etching Black developing salts from Eastman Kodak

Probably experiments with Seltona, a collodion self-toning printing-out paper manufactured by Leto Photo Materials Company, Ltd., London

Plans to experiment with Artura papers, silver chloride “gaslight” (developing-out) papers; orders Artura Aegis paper in 4 × 5-inch format and Artura Iris E paper Smooth from the Eastman Kodak Company

Orders #2 Focusing Glass, Equivalent Focus 1 9/16, from Goerz American Optical Company


Orders 4 Vestpocket Kodaks with Zeiss lenses, leather cases, portrait attachments, spools of films, and developing tank as gifts for friends; later orders Eastman View Camera, lens boards, film holders, tripod, and spools of films as gifts for friends


Exhibits photogravures


Orders papers made by Ansco Company, Binghamton, New York, manufacturers of silver gelatin bromide papers; later requests from Ansco a paper like Cyko contrast, a paper for thin or overexposed negatives, but on a warmer stock such as buff or cream

Requests Etching Black Platinum paper and American Platinum paper from the Eastman Kodak Company, which has ceased manufacturing platinum paper; later, orders a smooth platinum paper from Willis and Clements, Philadelphia


Exhibits photogravures

Uses Satista paper, a combination silver and platinum paper manufactured by the Platinotype Company; experiments with palladium paper

Orders Cyko Amateur Studio contrast double weight and Cyko Professional Studio double weight gelatin silver papers from Ansco Company; orders Kodak P.M.C. Bromide (a high-speed bromide paper with a glossy finish), Kodak Royal Bromide paper Smooth, and Artura Iris E paper Smooth Absolute Matte double weight buff from the Eastman Kodak Company

Intensifies negatives


Exhibits photogravures

Uses palladium paper, which he feels is not the equal of platinum paper, but is preferable to “gaslight” papers


Exhibits palladium prints

Experiments with platinum paper and black and sepia palladium papers, and achieves “splendid results in all three papers. If I had a Platinum Black as I have gotten it in the paper with the surface of the Palladium Sepia the ideal paper would have evolved for my purposes. Platinum gives more modeling but the KK [platinum] paper has a disagreeable toothy surface. I want real skin smoothness for virtually everything. The stock the Black Palladium is on is too much like blotting paper . . . all in all the Sepia Palladium developed with Black developer averages up best so far”

Waxes prints made on KK paper

Makes Artura prints from small negatives, which he thinks are “possibilities”



Makes palladium and platinum prints; experiments with solarization, in which palladium paper is overexposed to produce bronzed shadows

Experiments with platinum prints on Japine paper, a glossy platinum paper manufactured by Willis, but finds that prints lose refinement when waxed


Orders and receives proof paper (possibly Eastman Proof paper, a printing-out paper in semi-matte and glossy surfaces, or Kodak Bromide papers)


Exhibits carbon prints, palladium prints, photogravures, platinum prints, and silver prints

Uses Kodak Azo paper, a gelatin developing-out paper; and Kodak E paper, a matte gelatin developing-out paper with a texture of orange peel

Experiments with palladium paper; prints various types of negatives but complains of “cracks” in the paper

Makes “postal card” prints on Artura paper, “for the fun of it and for a certain kind of exercise”; later prints old negatives on Artura paper, which he finds “rather a revelation”

Makes platinum prints, with “very fine results”


Makes palladium prints from old paper, which he thinks may be “additions” but will “only know surely when the things are waxed”

Makes prints using Palladio Black buff paper, which he prefers to Sepia paper and finds very close to “a first class product”; believes that the papers of the Black and Sepia are the same but the difference is in the sizing

Makes prints using Artura paper


Exhibits palladium, platinum, and silver prints

Uses Artura and palladium papers

Receives one gram of Pinakryptol, a desensitizing agent used to increase development time, from Paul Strand; asks Strand to send wax


Exhibits silver prints

In a letter to the Eastman Kodak Company, complains bitterly of changes in Artura papers, which he was forced to use after the manufacture of platinum paper ceased during the war; prints made on the old paper, Artura Non-Curling Extra-Heavy stock, Soft, had “rich, deep blue-blacks and pure, singing whites and a range of intermediate values clear-cut and with a marvelous edge,” while the stock of the new paper is “gritty and disagreeable in feeling”; further experimentation reveals that the emulsions on the new papers are not like those of the old paper, and he is forced to make a new set of negatives “which will give me an A1 result with the new paper”

Later expresses concerns about the permanence of silver prints in a letter to the Eastman Kodak Company; theorizes that if a paper had “all the qualities of Artura paper at its best and platinum paper at its best the photographer would have the ideal paper”


Exhibits gelatin silver prints

Uses Artura and palladium papers


Exhibits gelatin silver prints

Uses Artura paper



Seals up the little house at Lake George so that he can “develop in it any time of day”

Experiments unsuccessfully with new platinum paper manufactured by the Platinotype Company; is disappointed at not achieving “real blacks—rich ones”

Uses white beeswax to wax prints


Uses gelatin silver papers

Uses varnish mixed by Paul Strand on palladium prints, which he finds to be “like Eastman’s. Just some poured on print and then rubbed until dry”; later, requests more of the solution from Strand, who responds by sending a larger bottle “with formula on the label”


Uses gelatin silver papers



Exhibits gelatin silver prints and platinum prints

Uses gelatin silver papers


Uses gelatin silver papers


Exhibits gelatin silver prints, palladium prints, and platinum prints

Uses Azo paper, “trying for color”

Makes new gelatin silver prints from old negatives, “to know what they would look like today when printed on commercial paper instead of platinum which I had used exclusively for the first thirty-five years of my career”


Exhibits gelatin silver prints


Exhibits gelatin silver prints and photogravures

Takes last photographs


Makes last prints



Exhibits gelatin silver prints

Opens up the little house for use by Margaret Prosser, “realizing my photographic days were definitely at an end I didn’t see why Margaret the Loyal One shouldn’t have a room of her own”


Exhibits gelatin silver prints


Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum prints