Fine art photographers - Fine art Photography -

William Notman (1826-1891) - Composite Photographs

William Notman
Niven's two children 1864
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process, composite photograph.

William Notman
E. Bulmer, posed for camping composite, Montreal, QC, 1875

William Notman
Group of dogs for Mr. Sandham, composite, QC, 1875

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Notman Photographs courtesy of the Notman Photographic Archives at the McCord Museum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Notman's composite photographs - These composite photographs were created in the 1800's using the following technique. Each subject (sometimes there were 20 or more subjects per photograph) was photographed individually in the studio (see above E. Bulmer, posed for camping composite for an example). The negative was developed and then printed on photographic paper. The main subject was then carefully cut out from the studio setting in the background. The edges of the main subject were feathered, and then placed on a studio background (canvas) that already had a rough sketch on it. The background was carefully painted in and then rephotographed to make the composite appear seamless. (Information courtesy of Nora Hague - Photographic archivist at the McCord Museum)

Notman Photographic Archives Collection Overview - Institutions and researchers from all over the world consult the Notman Photographic Archives. Through its thousands of images ­ landscapes, well-known people, families, places, events, activities ­ these historically invaluable Archives provide a visual history of Montreal, Quebec and Canada from the 1840s to the present. As well as the iconographical data bank of some 850,000 photographs, the Archives include various items of early photographic equipment and accessories.

William Notman, b. 1826; d. 1891 Born in Scotland, William Notman immigrated to Canada in 1856 and soon after his arrival established himself as a photographer in Montréal. Notman's business thrived and he became the most important photographer in Canada. His fame as a portrait photographer drew the Montréal elite, prominent visitors to the city, and ordinary citizens to his studio. Although the major portion of his work was devoted to portraits, he also did landscapes, street scenes, and city views across Canada. Over the years the business expanded to include two studios in both Montréal and Boston with one studio in Toronto, Ottawa, St. John and Halifax as well as several in New England. After William Notman's death in 1891 the family business was passed on to two of his sons, William McFarlane Notman and Charles F. Notman. The Montréal business was sold by Charles F. Notman in 1935 to Associated Screen News. (from: McGill University Archives, Montreal)