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Unknown Photographer

Making his way slowly at a depth of twenty feet, a diver examines an anti-torpedo net, September 1941
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print with applied pigment on paper
8 1/16 x 6 7/16 in. (20.48 x 16.35 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.399

A hush-hush project during war years, the development and use of underwater photography for the benefit of the Navy’s Mine Disposal Service was finally revealed. The Bureau of Ordnance so perfected the technique that photographs now can be taken in depths over 300 feet by lowering the camera by cables and controlling the exposure electrically from the surface. In shallower water, divers themselves go down with the camera. In addition to permitting the study of mines prior to recovery or disposal, underwater photography has been used successfully for many other purposes, including the examination of anti-torpedo nets, recording damage on ships that have gone to the bottom and their identification, and the study of underwater ordnance equipment in operation. Making his way slowly at a depth of twenty feet, a diver examines an anti-torpedo net, September 1941.

Sheet: 8 7/8 x 6 15/16

Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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  • Image Dimensions: 8 1/16 x 6 5/8 in. (20.48 x 16.35 cm)

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