Taches & traces premiers essais photosensibles d’hippolyte bayard
Stains and traces
Consisting of sixty-nine boards of photographs, Hippolyte Bayard’s Album d’Essai attests to his trials and errors, test and experimentation, at a time when photography was not yet photography.
His prints on paper « were like nothing we’d ever seen » wrote critic Francis Wey in the review La Lumière in 1851: they evoked « The idea of sorcery ».
Each one is a poem in itself:
« They marry the impression of reality to the fantasy of the dream. (…) The light Gazes them and the shadow caresses them: the day seems fantastic and the singular sobriety of the effect gives them a monumental appearance ».
The density of the first test with negative prints are intermingled with the softness of newer direct positive images. We contemplate these prints « as through a thin curtain of vapors » said Wey: « the drawings are so prodigiously blurred that it is impossible to discern a line »