Learn from the nation's TOP PROFESSORS live at One Day University! Coming to Dunkin Donuts Park December 7th

Photography From 1840-1860 At Yale Center For British Art

Photographs from the 19th century have a ghostly quality, preserved pieces of history in high-contrast, or murky, or overexposed black and white. A show at Yale Center for British Art examines photography in its earliest days — not on metal a la Louis Daguerre, but on paper, a la William Henry Fox Talbot.

In that era, photography was not yet considered art, but rather an experiment in chemistry and an efficient, affordable and realistic way to create landscapes and portraits. It also was used to visually inventory objects, to reproduce text like an early Xerox machine, to document current events — what today is called photojournalism — and to create images to be used in publications.

The last two usages made Talbot’s salt-and-silver process the longer-lived one. Daguerreotypes were one of a kind and could not be reproduced. Talbot and his followers used glass-plate negatives that could be reprinted. “In this period, illustrated magazines were taking off. People were hungry for visual representations of things that were happening around the world,” said Chitra Ramalingam, assistant curator of photography.

An 1844 Talbot photograph of the construction of Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square was one of those historical events recorded on glass plate, as are Edouard Baldus’ shot of flood damage in Lyon in 1856, the American Civil War photography by the studio of Matthew Brady and Roger Fenton’s earlier scenes from the Crimean War (1853-56).

The most captivating photos were taken in small villages, of fishermen, industrious women and field laborers, and a boy standing next to a Stonehenge-esque dolmen as if the prehistoric megalith was the most normal playground in the world.

SALT AND SILVER: EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY, 1840-1860 is at Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel St. in New Haven, until Sept. 9. Britishart.yale.edu

On Other Walls

Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut will present a collection of multisite visual art shows, "Accessible Art," from July 9 to Sept. 14. The shows will run concurrently in various commercial and other public locations in the greater Danbury area. The locations, and artists are Clarice Azzoni of Southbury, at Mothership Bakery & Cafe, 331 Main St. in Danbury; Nancy Breakstone of Westport, at Pour Me Coffee & Wine Cafe, 274 Main St. in Danbury; Debra Burger of Danbury, at CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main St.; Barbara Courtain of New York, at Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main St. in Danbury; Colin Harrison of Brookfield, at Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave.; Toni Miraldi of Sandy Hook, at Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Ave.; Keith Raphael of Danbury, at Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples St. in Danbury; and Wendy Wong of Danbury, at YMCA's ESCAPE to the Arts, 293 Main St. in Danbury. artswesternct.org.

“Spatial Contextual Awareness: Kathleen Jacobs + Rick Fox,” an exhibit of work by two abstract painters, is at Melanie Carr Gallery, 1 North Main St. in Essex, from Aug. 4, opening with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., until Sept. 9. melaniecarrgallery.com.

Lyman Allyn Art Museum, 625 Williams St. in New London, presents “Hidden Water: Paintings and Sculpture by Judy Cotton,” an exhibit of global warming-inspired pieces, until Nov. 11. lymanallyn.org.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now