Ernest Baudoux (1828-1897)

000394 – Ernest Baudoux: View across St Helier from Westmount

Soon after arriving in Jersey Baudoux produced a panorama of St Helier which seems to indicate a desire to survey the town in which he had relocated with his wife and son. However, the process he used required considerable skill. Producing “wet collodion” images on location required a mobile (often horse drawn) darkroom in which plates could be coated and sensitised, exposed while still wet, and developed immediately. The panorama shows the architecture of St Helier in tremendous detail.

Many of Baudoux’s studio portraits were produced with a sliding plate mechanism designed to give two exposures on one glass negative. After choosing the best image he often eliminated the ‘reject’ by marking it with a cross. Having selected his preferred image, Baudoux retouched the negative to enhance the complexion of the subject and conceal facial blemishes. This effect shows that the practice of photographic manipulation originated long before the digital age.