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Photography Magazine

The Low Down

Exposure, Part Five


It is a thing of simple beauty: all wood, brass and glass, just a box really with a lens in one end. No dials, no buttons, no controls at all, in fact. The box has a drawer at one end to load the plate coated with noxious, gooey, light sensitive chemicals into, and at the other end is a single element meniscus lens with a fixed aperture – that's it. The Box is, in fact, one of Henry Fox Talbot's early cameras, dating from around 1850. Put it next to any one of our modern cameras, whether it be a black, purposeful DSLR or a lurid iPhone, and it’s difficult to believe they have the same function.

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