Photographic techniques dating from the 19th century

Photographs can, therefore, often pre-date registration dates, or may well be later.

Could the Burns cottage photograph be earlier than 1878 or a later substitution?

To keep up with current trends and stay ahead of business rivals, several artists and editors were employed to update photographs as and when necessary.

If that was not feasible or commercially viable, new stocks replaced unwanted material, taking on obsolete numbers.

It is this physical self-referentiality that makes Hasty’s photographs so intriguing to peer into, around, and behind.

The dim lighting against the gallery’s black walls also casts ghostly projections of the images behind the glass plate and even on the gray floor, creating barely discernible projections reminiscent of negatives.

We also know that the cottage had a female licensee at the time the photograph was taken and also subsequently. Thanks to all those who dug deep into their records to help us resolve a very interesting conundrum and produce a double whammy!Robyn Renee Hasty is an artist who is drawn to the challenges presented by obsolete technologies.She is excited by the unpredictability and vulnerability they inspire, and in her current exhibition at Pioneer Works, Using the late-19th century techniques of wet-plate tintype and ambrotype developing, Hasty has shot an extensive series of nude portraits that challenges our notions of gender, identity, and sexuality.They also indicate (via crossings out or pasted in title strips) where substitutions were made for less popular or obsolete photographs as reference numbers were re-used; though, not always.Some substitutions were passed over in silence: it made perfect sense to a firm keen to ensure continued commercial success.

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The only visible evidence for the date of the original in this case was the licensing sign. Both mysteries were resolved thanks to archivist Pamela Mc Intyre of South Ayrshire Council taking up the challenge with great enthusiasm and pursuing it to a fruitful conclusion.

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