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Spirit Photography Methods
Research Post
January 31, 2023
Spirit photography has been created using various techniques, each with its own unique process and methodology. While some methods utilize cameras and equipment, others rely solely on the medium. Standard Spirit Photographs The standard spirit photograph originated in the 1860s and is created by a spirit photographer, sometimes with the assistance of a medium, in a studio environment. The sitter would position themselves in front of the camera, ready for the photograph to be captured. The photographer would then take the picture, and after development, the photograph would show one or more spirits present. The spirits could appear in a number of forms, ranging from full or partial body figures to just faces. Notable spirit photographers include included William H.…
Feature: The History of Spirit Photography
Research Post
August 3, 2020
EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY Spirit photography originated with the invention of the daguerrotype in 1839. The daguerrotype process required individuals to pose for as long as 30 seconds before their portrait fully developed. Since people often shifted positions during the sitting, blurred and transparent images were frequently produced. An 1840s daguerreotype portrait of an unidentified male subject. His eyes appear glassy due to blinking during the sitting. BREWSTER’S GHOSTS The earliest account of a ghost photograph appears in Sir David Brewster's 1856 book The Stereoscope: It’s History, Theory, and Construction. In the text, Brewster describes how he was developing a daguerreotype when his subject moved and created a blurry image. He goes on to suggest that if a white clothed figure is…