Phillips Bros. (A. H. Phillips and A. T. Phillips), Pontiac, Michigan
Man Reading with Female Spirit Behind

Albumen carte de visite, 2.25 x 4 inches

circa 1870

 

A mysterious image, quite unlike other spirit photographs in the same format. How was it done? The spirit appears to be part of the backdrop, and that may be an important clue. In the book Photographic Amusements (first published in 1896) Walter E. Woodbury offered several different techniques for making spirit photographs. One involved painting a picture of a ghostly figure with "fluorescent substances, such as bisulphate of quinine... This compound, although almost invisible to the eye, photographs nearly black. If a white piece of paper be painted with the substance, except on certain parts, the latter only will appear white in the picture."
 

 

 

 

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