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Henry Fox Talbot
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Inventor
    (February 11, 1800-September 17, 1877)
    Born in Dorset, England, United Kingdom
    Photography pioneer
    Invented the calotype, a photographic process using silver iodine on paper
    Member of Parliament for Chippenham (1832-35)
    He is usually passed over as the 'father of photography' in favor of Louis Daguerre, even though Daguerre's technique would become obsolete in the 1860s, while Talbot's was the basis for modern photography.
    Because they were printed on paper, his calotypes were fuzzier than glass daguerreotypes.
    His decision to take out and enforce a patent for the calotype (unlike Daguerre making his process free in return for a stipend from the French government) was blamed for stifling the development of photography in Britain.
    His system created a negative image on photosensitive paper which could then be used to create any number of positive prints. (Unlike the daguerreotype, which could be reproduced only by taking another photo of the original.)
    Since he had spent thousands of pounds of his own money developing the calotype, it was hardly surprising that he wanted to recoup his investment.
    He eventually responded to criticism by waiving the patent fee for amateur photographers.
    After the invention of the collodion process (which created a calotype-style negative on a glass plate), the courts ruled the new process sufficiently different that Talbot could not enforce his patent against its users (1854).

Credit: C. Fishel


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