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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Levi L. Hill

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Other: Levi Hill 
Other: Reverend Hill 
Other: Reverend Levi L. Hill 
Dates:  1816, 26 February - 1865, 9 February
Born:  US, NY, Greene County, Athens
Active:  US
He worked in West Kill, New York, in the late 1840s and 1850s and claimed to have created very early experimental colour photographs that became known as "hillotypes". As the chemical formulae and exact processes used were never clearly explained he was seen as a charlatan by his contemporaries. His book "A Treatise on Heliochromy: Or, The Production of Pictures, by Means of Light, in Natural Colors. Embracing a Full, Plain, and Unreserved Description of the Process Known as the Hillotype, Including the Author's Newly Discovered Collodio-chrome, Or Natural Colors on Collodionized Glass" (NY: Robinson & Caswell, 1856) did little to clarify the process he used. In 1933 sixty-two of the experimental plates were donated by his son-in-law, Dr. John Boggs Garrison, and are now in the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. In 2007 a Getty Foundation Conservation grant was used to investigate the surviving plates and revealed portraits, landscapes and reproductions of European coloured lithographic prints. The research revealed monochromatic plates, some with a violet-reddish brown colour and others that showed evidence of pigments and dyes used to enhance the colours. He can no longer be dismissed from photo-history as a charlatan and further research is necessary.

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Levi L. Hill
Reverend Levi L. Hill, Baptist minister and early daguerreotypist, West Kill, New York and New York City, b. 1816-d. February 9, 1865. 
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