Drawing techniques: the age of photography
Dissatisfied with his own efforts at tracing images formed by his camera lucida, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77) began to experiment with chemicals to fix images photographically. Using a camera obscura and light-sensitive paper, he succeeded in making fixed paper negatives in 1834 and positives in 1839. At around the same time Louis Daguerre (1787-1851), building on earlier experiments by Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833), developed a different photographic process resulting in images that he named daguerreotypes. Photography was born.
Fascinated by the perfectly detailed representations of nature that could be achieved, many painters began to use photography in place of studies and sketches. However, many concealed their use of photography, fearing that such a practice would reflect poorly on their artistic skills.
Other photographers began to explore the particular characteristics and expressive potential of photography as an artistic medium in its own right. Henry Cole (1808-82), the founder of the V&A, collected photography as an art form from 1856 and hosted an international exhibition of photographs here in 1858. Far from being simply an easy way of drawing, photography became an independent art.