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Valentine Blanchard

Innovative nineteenth-century photographer and inventor Valentine Blanchard was born in the small town of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire in 1831. Not much is known about his childhood except that he apparently came from a working class family. He found work as a printer’s apprentice, but his paltry income prevented him from purchasing the chemicals he needed explore photographic processing. He complained, "The fearful price of the chemicals cleaned out the shallow pocket of the apprentice."

Eventually, Mr. Blanchard had the sufficient means to become a portrait photographer, and his style - particularly his interesting use of shadows - is reminiscent of that of Adam-Salomon, one of Paris's premier photographers and sculptors. Although Mr. Blanchard's artistry continued to evolve, comparisons to the French artist’s work that commenced with his first London exhibit continued throughout his career. Mr. Blanchard's studio, however, was uniquely his own. Instead of letting in as much light as possible, it was dark. He explained, "I consider that the most perfect lighting a photographer can have is when the sun is obscured by a white cloud," which is the effect he sought to recreate in his studio. His careful plans for the studio restricted light to come from the south and the east. He manipulated the sun’s rays with the use of glass and a translucent screen. He positioned sitters so that their eyes would not be affected in any way by sunlight.

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2012-12-18 04:30:06
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