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Frog x-rays

Photographers: Josef Maria Eder (1855 - 1944) and Eduard Valenta (1857 - 1937) 

'X-ray photographs of frogs, c.1896'

This image is one of 15 x-ray photographs published in 1896. While the book from which it comes is primarily a document on the technical aspects of x-ray photography, these finely printed photographs are elegantly beautiful images of both man-made and natural objects.

Wilhelm Röntgen’s almost accidental discovery of X-rays in late 1895 produced huge public excitement, not only for its potential applications in fields such as medical diagnosis, but for the glimpses it offered of a hitherto invisible world.

Photogravure process

Photogravure is a photo-mechanical rather than a true photographic printing process. Still in use for high-quality monochrome reproduction, the process involved transferring a photographic image onto a grained copper plate, which was then etched to depths corresponding to the shadows and highlights of the original. 

The resulting image could then be used as a printing plate in the normal way. 

Photogravure dates back to the early days of photography, when William Henry Fox Talbot devised a printing system that would produce photographic reproductions in ink. Talbot's process, which he termed 'photoglyphic engraving', saw little commercial application until Karl Klic perfected the process in the 1870s.

From Josef Maria Eder and Eduard Valentia, Versuche über Photographie mittelst der Röntgen’schen Strahlen (Vienna, 1896)

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