Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Historical Society examines a moment in history of photography

February 22, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Cartes de Visite displayed in the “Personal Correspondents: Photography and Letter Writing in Civil War Brooklyn” exhibition at Brooklyn Historical Society. Photo by Meredith Duncan.
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Julie May, the Brooklyn Historical Society’s (BHS) managing director of library and archives, will discuss cartes de visite, the popular 19th-century portraits that are featured in the BHS’ exhibit “Personal Correspondence: Photography and Letter Writing in Civil War Brooklyn” during a talk titled “Tales from the Vault: the Carte de Visite” on Feb. 25.

The carte de visite — a photograph printed on paper, approximately 2.5-by-4-inches in size — could be made rapidly and cheaply. Printed in multiples, mounted on cardboard and costing only a few dollars per dozen, these small portraits were meant to be exchanged, similar to business cards today. 

Highlighting a particular moment in the history of photography, May will take into account this type of photograph’s process and popularity throughout its heyday, share rarely seen examples from Brooklyn Historical Society collections and note the many studios that participated in its proliferation throughout Brooklyn. The Penumbra Foundation will supply an example of a camera and other equipment used to create cartes de visite.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. The Brooklyn Historical Society is located at 128 Pierrepont St. in Brooklyn Heights.


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