Vintage Japanese
Albumen Prints
from the late
1800’s

High quality reproduction prints of the images displayed on the website are available for purchase.

Our reproduction images are printed using Epson archival UltraChrome inks our preferred paper stock is 310gsm Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl.

The following sizes are available:

  • 203 x 254mm
  • 280 x 350mm
  • 400 x 500mm
  • Larger sizes are available on request.

The original hand-coloured albumen photographic images are in the collection of the Japanese Photography Gallery in Surry Hills, NSW.

About the photography

After photography was introduced in Japan in 1848, the medium soon became popular. The Japanese called photography Shashin, meaning a reproduction of reality.

The first cameras came to Japan through the Dutch trading post Dejima located in the Nagasaki Bay around the middle of the nineteenth century. The trading post’s physician offered instruction in photography and wrote the first manuals for the Japanese on the use of the camera and photographic techniques.

From 1870 onwards the number of photo studios increased significantly and the production of photographic albums became a small industry. Images of famous views and important religious sites were popular, as were images depicting people in domestic settings.

The introduction of photography and European printing methods to Japan in the nineteenth-century unfortunately precipitated the decline in popularity of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The themes being used in the creation of woodblock prints were taken up in photography and the artisans who had previously worked with colour printing-blocks applied their talents to hand colouring the albumen photographs using soft water-soluble pigments.