The Magic Art of French Calotype. Paper Negative Photography 1846 – 1860

Wednesday 15 May - Sunday 19 May 2024
Embankment West Gallery
Charles Nègre, Street Vendor, c.1852. Courtesy of Robert Hershkowitz Ltd.



Photo London is pleased to present ‘The Magic Art of French Calotype: Paper Negative Photography 1846-1860’ – an exhibition that celebrates the magic of early French photography (presenting works never previously exhibited in the UK) as part of the 2024 Public Programme. 

Curated by Robert Hershkowitz, ‘The Magic Art of French Calotype: Paper Negative Photography 1846-1860’ references Francis Wey’s pronouncement in 1851 that “Photography has attained a magic feeling that neither painting nor drawing could have reached.”

Hershkowitz explains the appeal of these early images: “When the pursuit and acquisition of fine photographs became the common passion of a very mixed group of art savvy individuals and American and Canadian museums in the late 1970s, early French paper negative photography was considered the most desirable, the images the most intriguing intellectually, the prints the most delectable. This exhibition introduces this body of photographic work to a British audience; it is almost non-existent in British institutions with perhaps a few dozen examples buried among hundreds of thousands of British ones, and these never exhibited.”

The Public Programme Exhibitions also include ‘See/Change — Art Collection Deutsche Börse @25’, a celebration of Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation for the 25th anniversary of its collection and ‘Silent Stories’, a solo show  by this year’s Master of Photography, Valérie Belin, an exhibition spanning three decades of her work.