Viewing Lippmann Photographs

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Most Lippmann photographs in museums are covered with a prism to bounce the first surface reflection from the eye. They are also painted black from the back to increase contrast.

Darran Green writes:

For daylight viewing select a room with one window through which an unobstructed region of sky can be seen. A hazy white sky or diffuse cloud is preferable to blue, but if blue select the brightest region for illuminating the plate. Stand the plate on a table or shelf, or just hold it at arms length, lower the cover glass to reveal the emulsion side of the plate,and arrange the emulsion side facing the sky and around two meters from the window. Once you see the sky mirrored in the plate you should also see any diffracted colours reconstructed from the image. It isn't absolutely necessary, but you can block out some of the light to reduce effective size of window and improve viewing conditions, as recommended by Ives, an early Lippmann photographer.

For viewing by artificial light, black out a room, and use a diffuser such as a 8x10 transparency sleeve mounted in black card matt, arranged about 18" above the plate and a bright halogen spot above the diffuser. Arrange the plate emulsion side up with cover glass lowered, and when you see the diffuser mirrored in the plate the colours should appear.

Another thing you could try for a bit of fun, is to find a room in which direct sunlight shines. Allow full sunlight to illuminate emulsion side with cover glass lowered. Using an opaque white card reflect the image onto the card at as close a range as possible without obstructing the projected image and to maintain image sharpness. The image will be laterally reversed.