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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: [Fishwives]
Date: ca. 1845
Medium: Salted paper print
Dimensions: Image: 5 1/2 × 7 11/16 inches (14 × 19.6 cm); Sheet: 11 5/8 × 14 7/16 inches (29.6 × 36.6 cm); Mat: 16 × 20 1/2 inches (40.6 × 52 cm)
Credit Line: Acquired through the Membership Purchase Fund
Object Number: 74.015
Label Text: David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson's photographic collaboration - begun just four years after the announcement of the discovery of the daguerreotype process - involved making photographs as references from which painters could work. Hill, using his training as a painter and lithographer, set up the shots and arranged backgrounds and costumes, while Adamson manipulated the chemical processes and the cameras. Using the calotype process in which a sheet of smooth paper has been sensitized and then exposed for a period of thirty seconds to five minutes, Hill and Adamson produced more than fifteen hundred photographs of people, landscapes, and buildings in the four and a half years they worked together. Although those who preferred the sharply defined daguerreotype image were not satisfied by the calotype, Hill and Adamson's fuzzy, painterly pictures illustrate perfectly this most beautiful of nineteenth-century photoprocesses. Some of the best known and most haunting works of Hill and Adamson are the numerous representations of the fisherfolk of Newhaven, a village on the Firth of Forth only two miles from the Rock House, their Edinburgh home and studio. The Newhaven community, founded by Huguenot immigrants, depended to a large degree on the fishing trade for its livelihood. Hill and Adamson's project was conceived as a way to raise money to improve the working conditions of these "fisherfolk." The women's distinctively striped skirts identified the "fisher lassies" as they sold cod, herring, and oysters from their baskets and creels on the streets of Edinburgh. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.