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Home Page About this site Acknowledgements Bibliography Museums of Interest Other sites RPS About the Author How Photography Began Significant People: A-D

A History of Photography from its beginnings till the 1920s by

Dr. Robert Leggat MA M.Ed Ph.D. FRPS FRSA

Significant People: E-H Significant People: I-M Significant People: N-S Significant People: T-Z Significant Processes Š Robert Leggat, 1995 Visits since 1st December '95

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A History of Photography From its beginnings till the 1920s Introductory remarks This is not designed to be a course on the history of photography such as a resource to dip into. In addition to pen-portraits of many of the most important photographers of the period, it contains information on some of the most significant processes used during the early days of photography. The project was confined to the first eighty years or so, as this is often a convenient cutoff point in books and when dividing courses into a syllabus. To some extent this has been a frustration, in that there have been many important developments and many interesting photographers who practised during and subsequent to that date. It is hoped that a sequel will be forthcoming in due course. This work is intended to be of general interest, but it may also be a useful starting-off point for students preparing for courses which include brief study of the history of photography. The site will be revised regularly in the light of feedback and further study.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people have freely given of their advice in the making of this resource. In particular I would wish to thank the following: * Kenneth Warr, Hon.FRPS, former Secretary of the Royal Photographic Society. No single person within the Society has ever provided me with the same measure of support and encouragement as he has, over very many years. It was he who first gave me the opportunity to come on to the Society's Council and ultimately become its Education Officer, and I owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his help in so many areas. * Professor Margaret Harker, Hon.FRPS, and the late Arthur Gill Hon.FRPS, both experts in this area, whose enthusiasm and expertise made the history of photography come alive to the author. Other people to whom I am indebted include Pam Roberts, Curator of the Royal Photographic Society, Tirath Bhavra, Colin Harding, Michael Harvey, Richard Morris FRPS, Dr. Amanda Nevill, FRPS, Colin Osman, Hon.FRPS, Valerie Lloyd, FRPS, Michael Langford, Hon. FRPS, Frank Hawkins, HMI, FRPS, Michael Pritchard, FRPS and Dr. Larry Schaaf. Matt Skipp also deserves a mention; I used to work in his photographic shop in the holidays, learned a great deal, and developed a fascination for the art. Much of the detail about the early history of the Society comes from the painstaking work of the late J. Dudley Johnston Hon. FRPS. All inaccuracies and omissions, of course, are solely mine! Readers are invited to write to me in relation to any amendments and/or additions to be taken into consideration in future revisions. Robert Leggat can be contacted at photohistory@rleggat.com Back to the top page

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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JOHNSTON, J. Dudley b. 1868; d. 1955 Dudley Johnston was a man of many parts. A student of music, at one point he became director of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society. He became a member of the Linked Ring in 1907. Twice President of the Royal Photographic Society, he was instrumental in creating the Permanent Collection of photographs and equipment, and he later became Curator of the Royal Photographic Society's print collection. He was later awarded the OBE for his services to photography. He was a pictorialist, specialising in landscapes, and originally worked on gum-bichromate, and platinum prints.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Emails to the author Since I placed this work on the Internet back in December 1995 I responded to all requests for additional help. However, earlier this year I began to realise that I was receiving, at times, as many as thirty emails a day, and the pressure has begun to take its toll! There are several reasons why I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I would be unable to continue. First, though I had made it clear that I was not qualified to value or comment upon collections others may have, these queries kept on coming relentlessly. Secondly, it was becoming all too easy for school students to expect me to do their research for them, or to complete sometimes quite meaningless questionnaires, and when a particularly abusive e-mail was received from a pupil in California I decided that this was enough! Finally, it seems to make sense for me to spend what time I have revising and adding to the work. Most questions, for what it is worth, are already answered in the body of the work, and of the remainder, most answers are readily obtainable from standard books or from libraries. I say this because I have received several emails saying something like this: "I'm 14 years old and am very interested in photography. I have not yet read anything about it, and would be very grateful for any info. anyone may have that will help me." This work can most certainly be used as a reference, but not as a substitute for work! The guestbook remains open for general comments but for the time being I regret that I am unable to attend to any requests for additional information. I do hope that readers will understand! info@rleggat.com Back to the top page Š Robert Leggat, 2001. Last updated undefined


BIBLIOGRAPHY, A select Bibliographies can often be daunting! This is a very brief selection of books which may be useful for those studying the history of photography. Further advice could be sought from The Royal Photographic Society, The Octagon, BATH, Avon, England. This Society also has a thriving Historical Group to which most of the leading photographic historians belong; one does not need to be an expert to belong to this group, and will find that there are many who are only too willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

1. To get one started: For those studying photography for GCSE, GCE "A" levels or the City & Guilds 9231 examination, the following are particularly recommended: Beaton, Cecil, and Buckland, Gay. The Magic Image: The genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day. London: Pavilion Books, 1989 Gernsheim, Helmut. The Concise History of Photography: Thames & Hudson, 1986 Langford, Michael. The Story of Photography. Focal Press, 1980. A concise and interestingly written book. Newhall, Beaumont. The History of Photography from 1839 to the Present. Secker and Warburg, 1986

2. For more detailed study: Brewster, David. The Stereoscope, its history, theory and construction: John Murray, 1856, facsimile published by Morgan and Morgan Buckland, Gail. Reality Recorded: Early Documentary Photography. New York Graphic Society Coe, Brian. Cameras: From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures. Crown Publishers 1978 Coe, Brian. The Birth of Photography. London: Ash and Grant Coke, Van Deren. The Painter and the Photographer, From Delacroix to Warhol. University of New Mexico Press Daval, Jean-Luc. Photography: History of an Art. New York: Rizzoli International Publications Eder, Josf Maria. History of Photography. Dover Publications, 1945. Long out of print, this is a fascinating and comprehensive account of the technical


developments of photography up to 1900. Emerson, Peter Henry: Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art (1899) Reprinted Arno Press Fabian, Ranier et al. Masters of Early Travel Photography. Vendome Press Ford, Colin (ed) An Early Victorian Album: The Photographic Masterpieces (1843-47) of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. New York: Alfred Knopf Gernsheim, Helmut and Alison. The History of Photography. New York: McGraw Hill Gernsheim, Helmut. Julia Margaret Cameron: Pioneer of Photography. Aperture Goodridge, L et al. The Face of China as Seen by Photographers and Travellers, 18601912. Millerton, N.Y.: Aperture Hannavy, John. Roger Fenton of Crimble Hall. Boston: David Godine Hannavy, John : Fox Talbot. Shire Publications Harker, Margaret. The Linked Ring: The Secession Movement in Photography in Britain. Heineman Hercock, R, and Jones, G: Silver by the Ton: A History of Ilford Limited 1879-1979. McGraw-Hill Hirsch, Robert: Seizing the Light - a History of photography. McGraw-Hill, 2000, ISBN 0697-14361-9 Hopkinson, Tom. Treasures of the Royal Photographic Society, 1839-1919. Focal Press Jay, Bill. Robert Demachy; 1859-1936: Photographs and Essays. Academy Edition. Jay, Bill. Bernard Shaw on Photography: Equation, Wellingborough Jay, Bill. Victorian Cameraman: Francis Frith's views of rural England, 1850-1898. David & Charles Jones, Edgar. Father of Art Photography, O.G.Rejlander 1813- 1875. New York Graphic Society Lloyd, Valerie. Photography: the first eighty years: Colnaghi, London Martin, Elizabeth. Collecting and Preserving old photographs. Collins Newhall, Beaumont. Latent Image: The Discovery of Photography. Doubleday Newhall, Beaumont (ed). Photography: Essays and Images. Museum of Modern Art, USA Pollack, Peter. Picture History of Photography. New York: Harry Abrams Riis, Jacob. How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York


(1890). Reprinted New York: Dover Publications Rosenblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography (1997) Third Edition. Aberville Press Sharf, Aaron. Art and Photography. Allen Lane Sharf, Aaron. Pioneers of Photography. Harry Abrams Thomas, David B. The First Negatives. London: HMSO, 1964

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MUSEUMS of photographic interest There is nothing quite like seeing the real thing! The following are a few of the major museums which display equipment and/or images relating to the history of photography; Bath, Avon: The Royal Photographic Society Museum Since writing this work, the Royal Photographic Society has passed on the contents of its vast treasure to the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. In the hands of an organisation better equipped to display and store the equipment and works of art, it will at long last mean that the many items donated to the Society over many years will become unlocked, and more generally available to people who are interested in the history of photography. Birmingham: The Reference Library Bradford, Yorkshire: National Museum of Photography, Film and Television This Museum also incoprporates the vast collection of the Royal Photographic Society. Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh: Public Library Guildford, Surrey: The Guildford Museum (pictures by Lewis Carroll) London: The Victoria and Albert Museum London: The Science Museum London: MOMI (The Museum of the Moving Image) London: The Imperial War Museum London: Kingston-on-Thames Public Library Manchester: The Northwest Museum of Science and Technology Oxford: Museum of the History of Science Lacock, Avon: The Fox Talbot Museum Edinburgh: The Royal Scottish Museum


Š Robert Leggat, 2001

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Other sites Since this site came on to the Net there have been many excellent sites put up - too many to list! The best search engine at the moment, in my view, is "Google", hence it is the first item listed here. Others are cited either because they came up during surfing, or because they have been recommended. Search for History of Photography on "Google" Photography in Edinburgh American Museum of Photography Magic lanterns Stereo views of 19c.


Fodors

Hints on various aspects of photography

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The Royal Photographic Society today The Photographic Society was founded very soon after photography was discovered, and amongst its membership can boast the names of several of the pioneers in the craft. (See The Photographic Society) Its patron is HM The Queen. The RPS currently has over ten thousand members all over the world, and continues to enjoy prestige as the world's leading photographic Society. With such a diverse membership controversy and hotly argued opposing opinions remain a sign of a healthy, democratic body, and meetings of Council can still have the heated debate that was characteristic a hundred years ago. Indeed, just occasionally even the same issues and party fragmentation can rear their ugly heads! But it is a very different Society even from from what it was even as recently as the early seventies, when members of Council attended meetings in "proper dress". In the mid seventies the author was invited, along with some others, to join the membership of Council, and remembers being advised by the then President that it was not quite the done thing to speak at Council meetings until one had been there some time! Now, Council meetings are a very different matter! The Society occupied premises in various parts of London until 1980, when it moved to its new headquarters in Bath. Since then its activities have expanded enormously, as has its influence. It has regular exhibitions at Bath, and a full programme of events all over the United Kingdom. The Society's Photographic Journal has been published regularly since the earliest days of photography. Though the Society owns many priceless treasures relating to the history of photography, this aspect has always been a drain on its resources. The entire collection in in the process of being moved to the National Museum of Photography Film and Television in Bradford. This positive move will enable the Museum to do what it does best, and also allow the Society to concentrate upon its educational activities. As part of its strategy to encourage high standards, the Society awards distinctions to members who are able to produce evidence of outstanding ability in any major branch of photography. These distinctions are the Licentiateship (LRPS), Associateship (ARPS) and Fellow (FRPS), the latter being the highest. These distinctions are much valued throughout the world, and though members are encouraged to work towards these distinctions, they are not awarded lightly. The Society (or RPS as it is more generally known) has fifteen groups catering for specialised interests, which any member may join. Of particular interest to users of these pages may be the Society's Historical Group, which has amongst its membership distinguished photographic historians. For anyone who has an interest in photography, membership is highly recommended. One does not have to be an expert; in fact, we have a large number for whom photography is still very much a new avenue to explore. Nor does one need to be resident in England - a great number of members are overseas. The RPS is on the web. See The RPS page or e-mail the Secretary General: RPS Centre for further details.

Š Robert Leggat, 2003.


The origins of the Royal Photographic Society Though there had been previous attempts to form a society bringing photographers together, it was not until the Great Exhibition of 1851 that the idea began to catch on. The following year, on 22 December, a souree was held at the Royal Society of Arts, London, at which some seven hundred or so photographs were displayed, including pictures by Roger Fenton (Highgate Cemetery), Delamotte (The Great Exhibition), Du Camp (View, Nubia), and Fox Talbot (The Haystack). It was on this occasion that Fenton proposed the foundation of a photographic Society. One of the obstacles to the development of photography had been Fox Talbot's patent enforcements. Negotiations had been taking place behind the scenes, and by this time Fox Talbot had agreed to give a free licence to every member of the Society to practise, on the clear condition that they did not trade in the art. (See Talbot and patents.) The following month, on 20 January, a public meeting was held at the Royal Society of Arts, and it was agreed to form a "Photographic Society." Fox Talbot had been asked to become its first President, but when he declined, Sir Charles Eastlake, then President of the Royal Academy, accepted the invitation, and the Society's first secretary was Roger Fenton. The Society's aims were spelled out in the first edition of its Journal, published 3 March 1853: The object of the Photographic Society is the promotion of the Art and Science of Photography, by the interchange of thought and experience among Photographers, and it is hoped that this object may, to some considerable extent, be effected by the periodical meetings of the Society." Six months later Sir Charles Eastlake announced that Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert had graciously consented to be the Society's first patrons. Both had a keen interest in photography from the start, and The Times for 22 March 1842 describes a visit paid by Prince Albert to Beard's institution, commenting that "he ... expressed himself much gratified with what he saw." By the end of the first year, the Society's membership totaled 370, and the Journal was proving an outstanding success, four thousand copies being printed each month. In 1894 the Queen granted the title of "Royal" to the Society. The Society has ever since been encouraged by the Royal Family, and the Queen is the current patron. A major development occurred during the presidency of J. Dudley Johnston, who created and developed the Society's Permanent Collection of equipment and photographs. This, one of the largest in the world, includes many of the original prints, negatives, transparencies and equipment a collection which is priceless. The RPS over its long history has had to adapt to changing times. Some of its earliest concerns (for example, the "Fading Committee", chaired by Fenton, and later its "Collodion Committee") may seem quaint, but were very real issues at the time. The RPS has always been the butt of criticism, as indeed does any organisation whose membership is so diverse, and which straddles both the scientific and the artistic dimensions of its sphere of activities. Striking a balance is almost impossible. Strictly speaking, as the first edition of the Journal shows, the aim of the Society was to be "the promotion of the Art and Science of Photography." However, one of the first Presidents, Sir Frederick Pollock, clearly had other priorities; at the AGM in 1856 he questioned whether it ought to be an art: "...the real name of photography is that it is a practical science." He was succeeded by a photographic chemist and the next President Sir William Abney who at his inaugural address had said quite unequivocally: "One of the main objects, I should say the main object of the Society, must be to encourage the scientific aspect of photography..... stick to science though the art critics denounce.." One needs to take into account the fact that photography was very much at its infancy; the process was by no means easy, the chemicals used were often dangerous, and if photography was to flourish in the future, it was inevitable that the scientific aspects would be very much in the forefront of one's thinking. Herein lay the tension - one that has never been totally resolved, for even now an innocent question as to whether photography is an art or a science can almost be guaranteed to evoke some very heated and passionate debate! However, in the 1880s the feeling was growing that it had become too much centred round scientific


aspects, and out of this grew the Linked Ring. Only a few years later, George Bernard Shaw, in a playful mood, was suggesting that the Society was now becoming slightly paranoiac: "the Royal Photographic Society mixes up optics and fine art, trade and science, in a way that occasionally upsets the critical indigestion..... To add to the muddle, the R.P.S. has been so effectually laughed out of its old notion that photographs are to be esteemed according to certain technical conditions in the negative, that it has now arrived at the conclusion that a pictorial photograph is one in which the focusing and the exposure are put wrong on purpose. Consequently.... it is afraid to give a medal to any picture that does not look more or less mildewed, lest it be ridiculed for Philistinism. And whenever it gets a photograph which in its secret soul it thinks very good, it is ashamed to say so, and puts it in the "professional" section. As it happens, the object of this guilty admiration sometimes is very good. And sometimes the fuzzygraph which the Society puts in the pictorial section because it privately thinks it very bad is very bad. Thus, whenever the poor Society happens to be right, it makes the judicious laugh - exactly what it outrages its conscience to avoid..." (Article in Amateur Photographer, October 16, 1902) During this period there was a (sometimes not so friendly) rivalry between the Linked Ring and the Society, both groups proclaiming their own virtues and making side-swipes at the "opposition". But attitudes were beginning to change, and perhaps the RPS was beginning to have second thoughts. In its exhibition of 1903 the RPS included an "Invitation Loan Section". The Amateur Photographer for September 17, 1903, in an article entitled "The Photographic Salon of 1903" suggested that this "was calculated to injure the Salon and rob it os its distinguishing characteristics.." In the somewhat verbose style of the day it continued: "One point appears to have been generally overlooked, and my not be appreciated by those of our readers who do not remember the beginning of the Salon and the early years of its existence, when it struggled against the antagonism and contempt ... which were openly offered by those who rightly or wrongly posed as the responsible representatives of the opinions of the Royal Photographic Society members: these same "representatives," or some of them and their friends, seeing that the tide of public opinion is largely with the newer movement for which the Salon stands, now conceive the not very sportsmanlike idea of profiting by all that they before repudiated, and would gather the public shillings at the turnstile by exhibiting the pick of the very work which before they ridiculed and condemned, a course which we venture to think is not quite fair play." The Society's deliberations are faithfully reported in the Journal of the Photographic Society, a Journal that has been printed continuously up to the present day and copies of which are in the Society's Library. Those seen by the author reflect the preoccupation with the scientific processes in the early days, and in some cases the jockeying for position within the Society, and fierce argument, that still exists today! There is, for example, a record of a fairly long meeting in December 1858, when a Mr. Pouncey was earnestly arguing in favour of his carbon process. The meeting is reported in over four columns of very small type, describing a heated exchange between Mr. Pouncey and a Mr. Maloney, at the end of which it reads "Mr. Pouncey was about to proceed when Mr. Bedford said - As this is an interesting discussion and it is getting late, I propose that it be adjourned to another evening. Mr. Thurston Thompson, just newly elected to the Council, immediately seconded the proposition and a doubtless exhausted audience were allowed to return to their homes! The Royal Photographic Society today. Š Robert Leggat, 1996.

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A History of Photography From its beginnings till the 1920s by Robert Leggat MA, M.Ed., Ph.D., FRPS, FRSA Robert Leggat first began photography at the age of eight. He still remembers the excitement when his first pictures emerged - only two out of twelve - and still finds it exciting when a print begins to appear in the developing dish! He trained as a teacher at Westminster College, Oxford, and it was there that he became increasingly interested in the potential of photography in education, both as a subject in its own right, and as a tool for teachers and pupils. In 1969 he moved into higher education, training and providing inservice provision for teachers. In 1992 he left his post as Head of Educational Technology to become involved in CD-ROMs and in work connected with the Internet. His book "Photography in school: a guide for teachers", published by Argus Press, was well received in the teaching profession, and inspired him to become involved in examinations in photography. He was an examiner for "O" and "A" level photography for a number of years, and served on the moderating committees of the Associated Examining Board (AEB), then the only organisation offering examinations in photography for school pupils. More recently he was intimately involved in setting up the City & Guilds "9231" photography scheme, intended specifically for non-professional photographers who wish to improve their technique. He joined the Royal Photographic Society in the early seventies, where he received much encouragement and support from the then Secretary of the Society, Kenneth Warr, Hon. FRPS. He admits that at first he had little interest in the history of photography. "Loads of boring equipment and faded pictures" he concluded. That was, until 1975, when he attended a lecture given by Professor Margaret Harker. This kindled his enthusiasm, and he has since spent many hours browsing through the extensive collection held by the Royal Photographic Society. Dr. Leggat has always had a commitment to encouraging photography amongst young people. He was Hon. Education Officer of the Royal Photographic Society for ten years, served on the Society's Council for some fifteen, and on its Executive for four. He was also former Chairman of the Society's Committee which receives and evaluates applications for Associateship and Fellowship in the Photography in Education category. A long-serving supporter of the Royal Photographic Society, he would encourage anyone with an interest in photography to become a member. T.B. 1999 Back to the top page Š Robert Leggat, 2000

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BEGINNINGS OF PHOTOGRAPHY, The First, the name. We owe the name "Photography" to Sir John Herschel , who first used the term in 1839, the year the photographic process became public. (*1) The word is derived from the Greek words for light and writing. Before mentioning the stages that led to the development of photography, there is one amazing, quite uncanny prediction made by a man called de la Roche (1729- 1774) in a work called Giphantie. In this imaginary tale, it was possible to capture images from nature, on a canvas which had been coated with a sticky substance. This surface, so the tale goes, would not only provide a mirror image on the sticky canvas, but would remain on it. After it had been dried in the dark the image would remain permanent. The author would not have known how prophetic this tale would be, only a few decades after his death. There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible. It is somewhat surprising that photography was not invented earlier than the 1830s, because these processes had been known for quite some time. It was not until the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into being. The first of these processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been in existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated 1519, of a Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an aid to drawing was being advocated. The second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography was invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colours are bleached in the sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air and light. ●

In the sixteen hundreds Robert Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society, had reported that silver chloride turned dark under exposure, but he appeared to believe that it was caused by exposure to the air, rather than to light. Angelo Sala, in the early seventeenth century, noticed that powdered nitrate of silver is blackened by the sun. In 1727 Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that certain liquids change colour when exposed to light. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Thomas Wedgwood was conducting experiments; he had successfully captured images, but his silhouettes could not survive, as there was no known method of making the image permanent.

The first successful picture was produced in June/July 1827 by Niépce, using material that hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure of eight hours. On 4 January 1829 Niépce agreed to go into partnership with Louis Daguerre . Niépce died only four years later, but Daguerre continued to experiment. Soon he had discovered a way of developing photographic plates, a process which greatly reduced the exposure time from eight hours down to half an hour. He also discovered that an image could be made permanent by immersing it in salt. Following a report on this invention by Paul Delaroche , a leading scholar of the day, the French government bought the rights to it in July 1839. Details of the process were made public on 19 August 1839, and Daguerre named it the Daguerreotype. The announcement that the Daguerreotype "requires no knowledge of drawing...." and that "anyone


may succeed.... and perform as well as the author of the invention" was greeted with enormous interest, and "Daguerreomania" became a craze overnight. An interesting account of these days is given by a writer called Gaudin , who was present the day that the announcement was made. However, not all people welcomed this exciting invention; some pundits viewed in quite sinister terms. A newspaper report in the Leipzig City Advertiser stated: "The wish to capture evanescent reflections is not only impossible... but the mere desire alone, the will to do so, is blasphemy. God created man in His own image, and no man- made machine may fix the image of God. Is it possible that God should have abandoned His eternal principles, and allowed a Frenchman... to give to the world an invention of the Devil?" At that time some artists saw in photography a threat to their livelihood (see Artists and Photography ), and some even prophesied that painting would cease to exist. The Daguerreotype process, though good, was expensive, and each picture was a once-only affair. That, to many, would not have been regarded as a disadvantage; it meant that the owner of the portrait could be certain that he had a piece of art that could not be duplicated. If however two copies were required, the only way of coping with this was to use two cameras side by side. There was, therefore, a growing need for a means of copying pictures which daguerreotypes could never satisfy. Different, and in a sense a rival to the Daguerreotype, was the Calotype invented by William Henry Fox Talbot , which was to provide the answer to that problem. His paper to the Royal Society of London, dated 31 January 1839, actually precedes the paper by Daguerre; it was entitled "Some account of the Art of Photogenic drawing, or the process by which natural objects may be made to delineate themselves without the aid of the artist's pencil." He wrote: "How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably and remain fixed on the paper!" The earliest paper negative we know of was produced in August 1835; it depicts the now famous window at Lacock Abbey, his home. The negative is small (1" square), and poor in quality, compared with the striking images produced by the Daguerreotype process. By 1840, however, Talbot had made some significant improvements, and by 1844 he was able to bring out a photographically illustrated book entitled "The Pencil of nature." (See note HERE). Compared with Daguerreotypes the quality of the early Calotypes was somewhat inferior. (See comments on Claudet). However, the great advantage of Talbot's method was that an unlimited number of positive prints could be made (see also Brewster ). In fact, today's photography is based on the same principle, whereas by comparison the Daguerreotype, for all its quality, was a blind alley. The mushrooming of photographic establishments reflects photography's growing popularity; from a mere handful in the mid 1840s the number had grown to 66 in 1855, and to 147 two years later. In London, a favourite venue was Regent Street where, in the peak in the mid 'sixties there were no less than forty-two photographic establishments! In America the growth was just as dramatic: in 1850 there were 77 photographic galleries in New York alone. The demand for photographs was such that Charles Baudelaire (1826-1867), a well known poet of the period and a critic of the medium, commented:


"our squalid society has rushed, Narcissus to a man, to gloat at its trivial image on a scrap of metal." Talbot's photography was on paper, and inevitably the imperfections of the paper were printed alongside with the image, when a positive was made. Several experimented with glass as a basis for negatives, but the problem was to make the silver solution stick to the shiny surface of the glass. In 1848 a cousin of Nicephore Niépce, Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor, perfected a process of coating a glass plate with white of egg sensitised with potassium iodide, and washed with an acid solution of silver nitrate. This new ( albumen ) process made for very fine detail and much higher quality. However, it was very slow, hence the fact that photographs produced on this substance were architecture and landscapes; portraiture was simply not possible. Progress in this new art was slow in England, compared with other countries. Both Daguerre and Fox Talbot were partly responsible, the former for having rather slyly placed a patent on his invention whilst the French government had made it freely available to the world, the latter for his law-suits in connection with his patents. In 1851 a new era in photography was introduced by Frederick Scott Archer , who introduced the Collodion process. This process was much faster than conventional methods, reducing exposure times to two or three seconds, thus opening up new horizons in photography. Prices for daguerreotypes varied, but in general would cost about a guinea (£1.05), which would be the weekly wage for many workers. The collodion process, however, was much cheaper; prints could be made for as little as one shilling (5p). A further impetus was given to photography for the masses by the introduction of carte-de-visite photographs by Andre Disdéri . This developed into a mania, though it was relatively short-lived. The collodion process required that the coating, exposure and development of the image should be done whilst the plate was still wet. Another process developed by Archer was named the Ambrotype , which was a direct positive. The wet collodion process, though in its time a great step forward, required a considerable amount of equipment on location. There were various attempts to preserve exposed plates in wet collodion, for development at a more convenient time and place, but these preservatives lessened the sensitivity of the material. It was clear, then, that a dry method was required. It is likely that the difficulties of the process hastened the search for instantaneous photography. Skaife, in a pamphlet, aptly commented (1860): "Speaking in general, instantaneous photography is as elastic a term as the expression 'long and short.'" The next major step forward came in 1871, when Dr. Richard Maddox discovered a way of using Gelatin (which had been discovered only a few years before) instead of glass as a basis for the photographic plate. This led to the development of the dry plate process. Dry plates could be developed much more quickly than with any previous technique. Initially it was very insensitive compared with existing processes, but it was refined to the extent that the idea of factory-made photographic material was now becoming possible. The introduction of the dry-plate process marked a turning point. No longer did one need the cumbersome wet-plates, no longer was a darkroom tent needed. One was very near the day that


pictures could be taken without the photographer needing any specialised knowledge. Celluloid had been invented in the early eighteen-sixties, and John Carbutt persuaded a manufacturer to produce very thin celluloid as a backing for sensitive material. George Eastman is particularly remembered for introducing flexible film in 1884. Four years later he introduced the box camera, and photography could now reach a much greater number of people. Other names of significance include Herman Vogel , who developed a means whereby film could become sensitive to green light, and Eadweard Muybridge who paved the way for motion picture photography. Popular in the Victorian times was stereoscopic photography , which reproduced images in three dimensions. It is a process whose popularity waxed and waned - as it does now - reaching its heights in the mid-Victorian era. Other topics: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Architectural photography The Linked Ring Lighting Photo Secessionist movement Social record Travel photography Unusual ventures War photography

(*1) Well, actually, not quite. Whilst Herschel used the term first in a lecture before the Royal Society on March 14, 1839, he was in fact beaten to the post by an anonymous writer with the initials "J.M." a few weeks earlier, on February 25. Eventually a scholar was able to determine that this anonymous writer was in fact Johann von Maedler (1794-1874), who was an astronomer in Berlin. However, Hershel was undoubtedly the person who, with his fame and position, made the word "photography" known to the world. © Robert Leggat, 2000


HERSCHEL, Sir John Frederick William b. 7 March 1792; d. 11 May 1871 The only son of the

book on the subject.

distinguished British astronomer William Herschel, Sir John himself also became a wellknown astronomer, and published an influential

He became interested in capturing and retaining images, and in 1839 had managed to fix pictures using hyposulphite of soda. In fact it was he who had discovered twenty years previously that hypo could dissolve silver salts. Herschel, of course, had the fortune to be around just at the time both Daguerre and Fox Talbot were announcing their discoveries. He was evidently very smitten by the Daguerreotype, and conveyed the following news to Fox Talbot: "It is hardly too much to call them miraculous. Certainly they surpass anything I could have conceived as within the bounds of reasonable expectation.... Every gradation of light and shade is given with a softness and fidelity which sets all painting at an immeasurable distance.... If you have a few days at your disposition....come and see!" Fox Talbot, for his part, would not have been very happy about this news, as he was already upset that Daguerre had pipped him to the post in announcing his discovery! It is also to Herschel that we also owe the word "photography", a term which he used in a paper entitled "Note on the art of Photography, or The Application of the Chemical Rays of Light to the Purpose of Pictorial Representation," presented to the Royal Society on 14 March 1839. He also coined the terms "negative" and positive" in this context, and also the "snap-shot". The picture of Heschel, on the left, was taken by J M Cameron, and on the right is the very first photograph to be taken on glass. It was taken by Sir John Herschel in 1839, and shows his father's telescope in Slough, near London. (Science Museum, London).


Š Robert Leggat, 2000

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CAMERA OBSCURA The Camera Obscura (Latin for Dark room) was a dark box or room with a hole in one end. If the hole was small enough, an inverted image would be seen on the opposite wall. Such a principle was known by thinkers as early as Aristotle (c. 300 BC). It is said that Roger Bacon invented the camera obscura just before the year 1300, but this has never been accepted by scholars; more plausible is the claim that he used one to observe solar eclipses. In fact, the Arabian scholar Hassan ibn Hassan (also known as Ibn al Haitam), in the 10th century, described what can be called a camera obscura in his writings; manuscripts of his observations are to be found in the India Office Library in London. In his essay "On the form of the Eclipse" he wrote: "The image of the sun at the time of the eclipse, unless it is total, demonstrates that when its light passes through a narrow, round hole and is cast on a plane opposite to the hole it takes on the form of a moon-sickle. The image of the sun shows this peculiarity only when the hole is very small. When the hole is enlarged, the picture changes... ." The earliest record of the uses of a camera obscura can be found in the writings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). At about the same period Daniel Barbaro, a Venetian, recommended the camera as an aid to drawing and perspective. He wrote: "Close all shutters and doors until no light enters the camera except through the lens, and opposite hold a piece of paper, which you move forward and backward until the scene appears in the sharpest detail. There on the paper you will see the whole view as it really is, with its distances, its colours and shadows and motion, the clouds, the water twinkling, the birds flying. By holding the paper steady you can trace the whole perspective with a pen, shade it and delicately colour it from nature." In the mid sixteenth century Giovanni Battista della Porta (1538-1615) published what is believed to be the first account of the possibilities as an aid to drawing. It is said that he made a huge "camera" in which he seated his guests, having arranged for a group of actors to perform outside so that the visitors could observe the images on the wall. The story goes, however, that the sight of up-side down performing images was too much for the visitors; they panicked and fled, and Battista was later brought to court on a charge of sorcery! Though Battista's account is wrapped up in a study of the occult, it is likely that from that time onwards many artists will have used a camera obscura to aid them in drawing, though either because of the association with the occult, or because they felt that in some way their artistry was lessened, few would admit to using one. Several are said to have used them; these include Giovanni Canale better known as Canaletto (1697- 1768), Vermeer (1632-1675), Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), and Paul Sandby (1725-1809), a founding member of the Royal Academy. Though some, including Joshua Reynolds, warned against the indiscriminate use of the camera obscura, others, notably Algarotti, a writer on art and science and a highly influential man amongst artists, strongly advocated its use in his Essays on Painting (1764): "the best modern painters among the Italians have availed themselves of this contrivance; nor is it possible that they should have otherwise represented things so much to the life... Let the young painter, therefore, begin as early as possible to study these divine pictures...


Painters should make the same use of the Camera Obscura, which Naturalists and Astronomers make of the microscope and telescope; for all these instruments equally contribute to make known, and represent Nature." About the same time, the lens was being developed. Once again Roger Bacon's name is associated with this; some have claimed that it was he who invented spectacles. Gerolomo Cardano (15011576), an Italian mathematician, introduced a glass disc in place of a pinhole in his camera, and Barbaro also used a convex lens. Why the name lens? It is claimed that because Italian lenses were by-convex, they seemed to resemble the brown lentils they used to make soup - so the lens came from the Latin for lentil. The first cameras were enormous. Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) in a book written in 1646, described one which consisted of an outer shell with lenses in the centre of each wall, and an inner shell containing transparent paper for drawing; the artist needed to enter by a trapdoor.

Other versions also appeared. Sedan chairs were converted, and tent-type cameras were also in use even up the beginning of the nineteen hundreds. Then smaller, portable ones were made. Thus the camera obscura, as it came to be known, became a popular aid to sketching. Another aid to drawing, but which worked in a different way, was the Camera Lucida, designed in 1807. To give some idea of costs in the earliest days of photography, it is known that in 1839 Fox Talbot bought several instruments including a camera obscura for seven pounds fifteen shillings (£7.75). At that time the typical servant's wage would have averaged between ten and twenty pounds per year. Camera obscuras still have a fascination for many, and there are several in this country. For an account of a visit to some of them, see HERE. Š Robert Leggat, 2001.

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SCHULZE, Johann Heinrich b. 1684; d.1744 Schulze was a German Professor at the University of Altdorf, whose experiments paved the way towards photography. Though it was known that certain chemicals darken when exposed to the sun, it was not clear whether it was the action of light or heat which had this effect. In 1727 Schulze heated some silver nitrate in an oven, and discovering that it did not darken was able to eliminate heat as the darkening agent. Having noticed that a glass jar containing a particular chemical mixture changed colour on one side - that facing the window, he applied paper stencils to a bottle containing silver nitrate and chalk, discovering that where the substance was not exposed to light it remained white. He published details of his investigations, but these did not become popular until after he had died. He described his experiments thus: I covered the glass with dark material, exposing a little part for the free entry of light. Thus I often wrote names and whole sentences on paper and carefully cut away the inked parts with a sharp knife. I struck the paper thus perforated on the glass wikth wax. It was not long before the sun's rays, where they hit the glass through the cut-out parts of the paper, wrote each word or sentence on the chalk precipitate so exactly and distinctly that many who were curious about the experiment but ignorant of its nature took occasion to attribute the thing to some sort of trick."

Š Robert Leggat, 2002.

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WEDGWOOD, Thomas b. 14 May 1771; d. 11 July 1805 In 1802 Thomas Wedgwood (son of the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood) together with Sir Humphrey Davy presented a paper entitled "An account of a method of copying paintings upon glass and of making profiles by the agency of light upon nitrate of silver." He had worked closely with Davey, and their work was very nearly a breakthrough, for they had made what one can best describe as photograms. However, they were unable to fix the images, and the story is told that Wedgwood was reduced to examining his pictures furtively by the light of a candle. They also tried using a camera obscura, but the chemicals being used at the time were not sufficiently sensitive. In the report to the Royal Society, June 1802, Davy wrote: "The copy of a painting, or the profile, immediately after being taken, must be kept in an obscure place. It way indeed be examined in the shade, but, in this case, the exposure should be only for a few minutes; by the light of candles or lamps, as commonly employed, it is not sensibly affected." Wedgwood died three years later, aged 34. What neither he nor Davey could find was discovered in 1819 by Sir John Herschel. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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NIÉPCE, Joseph Nicephore b. 7 March 1765; d. 5 July 1833 Niépce (pronounced Nee-ps) is universally credited with producing the first successful photograph in June/July 1827. He was fascinated with lithography, and worked on this process. Unable to draw, he needed the help of his artist son to make the images. However, when in 1814 his son was drafted into the army to fight at Waterloo, he was left having to look for another way of obtaining images. Eventually he succeeded, calling his product Heliographs (after the Greek "of the sun"). Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, writing in 1857, informs us that he was a man of private means, who had began his researches in 1814. When he eventually succeeded, he came over to England later that year and sought to promote his invention via the Royal Society (then as now regarded as the leading learned body concerned with science). However, the Royal Society had a rule that it would not publicise a discovery that contained an undivulged secret, so Niépce met with total failure. Returning to France, he teamed up with Louis Daguerre in 1829, a partnership which lasted until his death only four years later, at the age of 69. He left behind him some examples of his heliographs, which are now in the Royal Photographic Society's collection. This is the first known photograph.** There is little merit in this picture other than that fact. It is difficult to decipher: the building is on the left, a tree a third in from the left, and a barn immediately in front. The exposure lasted eight hours, so the sun had time to move from east to west, appearing to shine on both sides of the building.

For further information on Niepce, see here. Though Niépce's contribution is interesting, for the purposes of photography as we know it today, it is irrelevant. ** I have been taken to task by some who point to the picture in the Turin Shroud as being the first photograph. Whether the shroud dates back to the time of Jesus Christ, which most scholars discount, or whether it dates from around 1000AD, it does certainly show an image of a dead person. Whether this was produced intentionally though is more unlikely. The picture shown here is generally acknowledged to be the first image produced intentionally. © Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DAGUERRE, Louis Jacques Mande b. 18 November 1787; d. 10 July 1851 Daguerre (pronounced Dagair) was perhaps the most famous of several people who invented photography. He began work as an apprentice architect, and at the age of sixteen was an assistant stage designer in a Paris theatre, his elaborate stage designs winning him considerable acclaim. He had an astonishing ingenuity in the handling of light and lighting effects, and he supplied the scenic and lighting effects for a number of operas in theatres in Paris. He developed an impressive illusions theatre, which he termed Diorama; it was a picture show with changing light effects and huge paintings measuring 22 by 14 metres, of famous places. This became the rage in the early twenties. He regularly used a camera obscura as an aid to painting in perspective, and this had led him to seek to freeze the image. In 1826 he learned of the work of Nicephore NiĂŠpce, and on 4 January 1829 signed up a partnership with him. The partnership was a short one, NiĂŠpce dying in 1833, but Daguerre continued to experiment. He made an important discovery by accident. In 1835, so the story goes, he put an exposed plate in his chemical cupboard, and some days later found, to his surprise, that the latent image had developed. Daguerre eventually concluded that this was due to the presence of mercury vapour from a broken thermometer. This important discovery that a latent image could be developed made it possible to reduce the exposure time from some eight hours to thirty minutes.

Though he now knew how to produce an image, it was not until 1837 that he was able to fix them. This new process he called a Daguerreotype. Daguerre advertised his process and sought sponsorship, but few seemed interested. He then turned to Francois Arago, a politician, who immediately saw the implications of this process, took his case up, and the French government commissioned a report on the process, to be chaired by Paul Delaroche. On 7 January 1839 an announcement was made of the discovery, but details were not divulged until 19 August when the process was announced publicly, the French government having bought the rights to the process from him, and given it free to the world. However, this process had also been patented in England and Wales on 14 August - only five days previously. As Lady Eastlake pointed out: "...by some chicanery a patent for the daguerreotype was actually taken out in England, which for a time rendered this the only country which did not profit by the liberality of the French government. The early history of photography is not so generous in character as that of its maturity." From the day the announcement was made of this new discovery, the process came to be used widely. The claim was made that the daguerreotype "requires no knowledge of drawing...." and that "anyone may succeed... and perform as well as the author of the invention."


The Literary Gazette for 7 January 1839 read: "Paris, 6th January 1839. We have much pleasure in announcing an important discovery made by M. Daguerre, the celebrated painter of the Diorama. This discovery seems like a prodigy. It disconcerts all the theories of science in light and optics and, if borne out, promises to make a revolution in the arts of design. M. Daguerre has discovered a method to fix the images which are represented at the back of a camera obscura; so that these images are not the temporary reflection of the object, but their fixed and durable impress, which may be removed from the presence of those objects like a picture or an engraving." An article in La Gazette de France, of the same date, also showed one of the limitations of the process: "Nature in motion cannot reproduce itself, or at least can do so only with great difficulty, by the technique in question. In one of the boulevard views.... it happened that all which moved or walked did not appear in the drawing...." The early daguerreotypes had several drawbacks. ●

the length of the exposure necessary all but ruled out portraiture. the image was laterally reversed (as one sees oneself in a mirror). Many of the portraits reveal this from the way the coat was buttoned; if one required a picture the right way round, the camera would be pointed at a mirror reflecting the sitter's image. Initially this will not have bothered people, who were used only to seeing their mirror image in any case. (However, see Wolcott). it was very fragile. perhaps most limiting of all, it was a "once only" system; what was needed was a means whereby copies of a photograph might easily be made. Taken in 1839, this picture of a boulevard gives the impression of empty streets, because with long exposures moving objects would not register.


However, there was an exception when a man stopped to have his shoes shined, (see bottom left of the larger picture) and though he and the person shining the shoes remain anonymous, they may have the distinction of being the first people ever to have been photographed.

In 1851 Daguerre died. In a sense this symbolically ended an era, for that very same year a new technique was invented, which was another milestone in photography - the wet collodion process by Frederick Scott Archer.

There is considerable material to be found in the Daguerrian Society's web-site. Do have a look. A postscript

Š Robert Leggat, 2000

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DELAROCHE, Paul b. 1797; d. 1859 Paul Delaroche, one of the foremost history painters of his time, was not, as far as it is known, a photographer, but he was influential in promoting the Daguerreotype. In June 1839 he was asked to head a committee to present a report on Daguerre's invention to the French government. At a time when photography is taken totally for granted, one needs to appreciate the sensation caused by the announcement of the Daguerreotype. The idea that a picture could be captured without the need for an artist was mind-blowing at the time, and many artists who made a living out of miniature portraits saw their means of livelihood coming to an end. Time has proved this to be wrong, for whilst photography had taken over as a means of recording objectively, it forced artists into a new form of expression. Delaroche is particularly remembered for his much-quoted remark, on seeing the Daguerreotype, that "from today, painting is dead!" Though it makes an interesting story, the author has yet to find any evidence that Delaroche actually said this! He was, in fact, a leading advocate of photography, as the following observations, some of which come from his report to the French government, show: "Daguerre's process completely satisfies all the demands of art, carrying essential principles of art to such perfection that it must become a subject of observation and study even to the most accomplished painters." "The painter will discover in this process an easy means of collecting studies which he could otherwise only have obtained over a long period of time, laboriously and in a much less perfect way, no matter how talented he might be." "To sum up, the admirable discovery of M. Daguerre has rendered an immense service to the arts." Like many good artists of the day, he had students at his studio, amongst whom were Roger Fenton, the first Secretary of the Royal Photographic Society, and Gustave Le Gray. His most well-known work is "Children of Edward" (1830) depicting Edward IVth sons imprisoned in the Tower of London. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The DAGUERREOTYPE This was a positive image on a metal support. The Daguerreotype was the first successful photographic process, the discovery being announced on 7 January 1839. The process consisted of ●

● ●

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exposing copper plates to iodine, the fumes forming light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be used within an hour. exposing to light - between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon the light available. developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees Centigrade. This caused the mercury to amalgamate with the silver. fixing the image in a warm solution of common salt (later sodium sulphite was used.) rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.

Daguerre's choice of chemicals was such that the action of light left a milky white image or mercury amalgam. His first plates were 8 1/2" by 6 1/2"; it is interestting to note that this still remains the standard "whole-plate" today. The quality of the photographs was stunning. However, the process had its weaknesses: ● ●

● ●

the pictures could not be reproduced and were therefore unique; the surfaces were extremely delicate, which is why they are often found housed under glass in a case; the image was reversed laterally, the sitter seeing himself as he did when looking at a mirror. (Sometimes the camera lens was equipped with a mirror to correct this); the chemicals used (bromine and chlorine fumes and hot mercury) were highly toxic; the images were difficult to view from certain angles.

Many of the daguerreotypes that remain are noticeable for their detail, and this caused quite a sensation at the time. Indeed, the Spectator (2 February 1839) called daguerreotypes the "self operating process of Fine Art." The reaction in America was also one of amazement. The Journal "The Knickerbocker" for December that year quoted: We have seen the views taken in Paris by the 'Daguerreotype,' and have no hesitation in avowing, that they are the most remarkable objects of curiosity and admiration, in the arts, that we ever beheld. Their exquisite perfection almost transcends the bounds of sober belief. Carl Dauthendey, a photographer who became the first professional daguerreotype photographer in St. Petersburg, makes an interesting comment on the way Daguerreotypes were viewed: "People were afraid at first to look for any length of time at the pictures he produced. They were embarrassed by the clarity of these figures and believed that the little, tiny faces of the people in the pictures could see out at them, so amazing did the unaccustomed detail and the unaccustomed truth to nature of the first daguerreotypes appear to everyone" Sometimes the details might reveal something that the photographer had not intended. Fox Talbot, Daguerre's rival, observed:


"It frequently happens, moreover - and this is one of the charms of photography - that the operator himself discovers on examination, perhaps long afterwards, that he has depicted many things that he had no notion of at the time. Sometimes inscriptions and dates are found upon the buildings, or printed placards most irrelevant, are discovered upon their walls: sometimes a distant dial-plate is seen, and upon it - unconsciously recorded - the hour of the day at which the view was taken." This capacity to record minute detail was put to good use by Jean Baptiste Louis Gros, an amateur who made the first images of the Parthenon whilst on a mission in Greece. On his return to Paris he discovered that on close inspection details which he had not observed could be examined, including the minutest sculptural elements. In the museum at the Royal Photographic Society one of Daguerre's cameras is displayed. It was used by Talbot for his own process. However, there is an interesting omission: Daguerre's cameras always had a label on the side, bearing his signature, but Fox Talbot appears to have removed this! One problem with early daguerreotypes was the length of exposure required - 10 to 15 minutes in bright sunlight. In fact, a daguerreotype in the International Museum in Rochester, depicting a chapel, states that the picture was taken between 4:40pm and 5:30pm on 19 April 1840. Such lengths were hardly suitable for portraiture. Fox Talbot noted in a letter dated 21 May 1852: "Ld Brougham assured me once that he sat for his Dabguerreotype portrait half an hour in the sun and never suffered so much in his life." To make photography possible, rests were used to keep the head still, and sitters had often to cope with brilliant sunlight. One photographer even used to run flour on the sitter's face, in order to reduce exposure time! There was clearly a need to find some more effective ways of reducing the exposure time: â—?

â—?

On the chemistry side, J.G. Goddard started using bromide as well as iodine to sensitise plates, while Antoine Claudet experimented using chlorine. On the optical side, J. M. Petzval invented a portrait lens with an aperture of f3.6 (as opposed to f14, which was currently being used.) Petzval's lens was still being widely used almost a century later.

Taken together, these improvements enabled photographers to use exposures of between ten and thirty seconds, thus making portraiture more of a practical proposition. By March 1841 Beard had opened a studio at the Royal Polytechnic Institution, while Claudet opened one three months later, behind St. Martin's church, Trafalgar Square. In 1853 Daguerre's patent expired, and many daguerreotypists began to open for business. At that time, of course, all photographs were monochrome (it was not until after the time of Maxwell that colour photography became a possibility), so many artists turned to hand-colouring the photographs, which were almost invariably presented in ornate cases. Colouring was a skilled and delicate affair. Typical of the kits was the Newman kit, dated 1850, with thirty-six colours. The colours would be applied very carefully with a fine brush, and then fixed simply by breathing on the plate itself. The daguerreotype, aptly called a "mirror with a memory", was an amazing development, and one cannot but marvel at the intricacy of the detail. However, it was a blind alley as far as photography was concerned.


Typical prices of a Daguerreotype would be: 2.5" x 2" (1840) - 21/- (£1.05) 2.5" x 2" (1850) - 10/6 (£0.55) To see a short video clip showing how a daguerreotype is made, see HERE.

Some additional trivia Do have a look at the site dedicated exclusively to Daguerre. The address is http://www.daguerre.org

© Robert Leggat, 2000

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GAUDIN, Marc Antoine In a book written in 1844 Marc Gaudin gives us an eyewitness account of the excitement with which the announcement of the Daguerreotype process five years earlier had been greeted: "The Palace...was stormed by a swarm of the curious at the memorable sitting on 19 August, 1839, where the process was at long last divulged. Although I came two hours beforehand, like many others I was barred from the hall (and) was...with the crowd for everything that happened outside. At one moment an excited man comes out; he is surrounded, he is questioned, and he answers with a know-it-all air, that bitumen of Judea and lavender oil is the secret. Questions are multiplied but as he knows nothing more, we are reduced to talking about bitumen of Judea and lavender oil. Soon a crowd surrounds a newcomer, more startled than the last. He tells us with no further comment that it is iodine and mercury... Finally, the sitting is over, the secret divulged... A few days later, opticians' shops were crowded with amateurs panting for daguerreotype apparatus, and everywhere cameras were trained on buildings. Everyone wanted to record the view from his window, and he was lucky who at first trial formed a silhouette of roof tops against the sky. He went into ecstasies over chimneys, counted over and over roof tiles and chimney bricks - in a word, the technique was so new that even the poorest plate gave him unspeakable joy....."

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ARTISTS and Photography The invention of the Daguerreotype caused considerable concern to many artists, who saw their means of livelihood coming to an end. Delaroche is credited with claiming that painting was now dead, whilst it is said that Sir William Ross, on his death-bed in 1860, commented sadly that "it was all up with future miniature painting." It is also claimed, but with scanty evidence, that Turner, looking at an early daguerreotype, commented that he was glad he had had his day! Charles Baudelaire despised photography as being a product of industry. He felt it provided an impression of reality that did not have the 'spiritual momentum' which came from the imagination. Whilst reviewing a photographic exhibition in 1859, clearly saw the need to put photography firmly in its place: "If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether....its true duty..is to be the servant of the sciences and arts - but the very humble servant, like printing or shorthand, which have neither created nor supplemented literature.... "Let it rescue from oblivion those tumbling ruins, those books, prints and manuscripts which time is devouring, precious things whose form is dissolving and which demand a place in the archives of our memory - it will be thanked and applauded. But if it is allowed to encroach upon the domain of the... imaginary, upon anything whose value depends solely upon the addition of something of a man's soul, then it will be so much the worse for us." Some painters dubbed the new invention "the foe-to-graphic art." Certainly those artists who specialised in miniature portraits suffered; in 1810 over 200 miniatures were exhibited at the Royal Academy; this rose to 300 in 1830, but thirty years later only sixty-four were exhibited, and in 1870 only thirty-three. On the other hand, the painter, Gustave Courbet, recognised photography as a useful aid in depicting motifs. However, his paintings seem to illustrate, by the thickness of colour, that he saw photography as consisting merely of a copy of reality, and that painting went much further. A number of artists, seeing the writing on the wall, turned to photography for their livelihood, whilst others cashed in on the fact that the images were in monochrome, and began colouring them in. Baudelaire's assertion that photography had become "the refuge of failed painters with too little talent" was rather unfair, but it is true that a number turned to this new medium for their livelihood. By 1860 Claudet was able to claim that miniature portraits were no longer painted without the assistance of photography. In any case, absolute likeness was not always what the sitter wanted. Alfred Chalon, one of the last miniaturists, when asked by Queen Victoria whether photography was a threat to miniature painting, replied "No Madam - photography can't flatter!" Lady Eastlake, wife of the Director of the National Gallery (who also was the first President of the Photographic Society) also had her reservations, claiming that whilst photography was more exact, it had also become less true, and that in portraiture the broad suggestion of form had been replaced by a fussy accumulation of irrelevant detail: "Every button is seen - piles of stratified flounces in most accurate drawing are there but the likeness to Rembrandt and Reynolds is gone!"


Clearly she did not share the dread that painting was an art of the past. However, a further blow to miniature portraiture was to come when the Carte-de-Visite craze began to develop. By 1857 an Art Journal was reporting that portrait photography was becoming a public nuisance, with photographers touting for custom (much as artists do today at the Montmartre, in Paris). "It has really now become a matter for Police interference both on the grounds of propriety and public comfort!" the writer thundered. In that same journal Francis Frith claimed that photography "has already almost entirely superseded the craft of the miniature painter, and is on the point of touching, with an irresistible hand, several other branches of skilled art." In 1865 Claudet, by then a respected photographer, came to the defence of photography, following a blistering article in a French journal: "One cannot but acknowledge that there are arts which are on their way out and that it is photography which has given them the death-blow! Why are there no longer any miniaturists? For the very simple reason that those who want miniatures find that photography does the job better and instead of portraits more or less accurate where form and expression are concerned, it gives perfectly exact resemblances that at least please the heart and satisfy the memory." Miniature painting, in fact, made a comeback at the turn of the century. Though photography was seen by some as the invention that was killing art, this is a one-sided view, because it also proved to be an aid to their work. Portrait photographers found that by employing photography the number of sittings required could be reduced or even eliminated. Joshua Reynolds sometimes needed up to fifty sittings for portraits; it is said that his painting of Sir George Beaumont had required twelve sittings for the painting of the cravat alone! A problem is that few painters would readily admit to using photography as an aid, almost as though this were a form of cheating! David Octavius Hill used photography to make a record of people to be painted, whilst in the 1860s Robert Howlett was employed to take photographs of groups of people attending the Derby from the top of a cab, these photographs later being used as group studies in William Powell Frith's painting "Derby Day." This however did not stop William Powell Frith from observing, thirty years later, that in his opinion photography had not benefited art at all. Others who used photography to assist them in painting included Negre, Tissot, Gaugin, Cèzanne, Lautrec, Delacroix and Degas. An example of photography being used for this purpose can be seen in a portrait of Sir William Allen, by Sir John Watson Gordon (1837), Royal Academy; this clearly comes from an 1843 Calotype. See also Muybridge, whose work led to a change in the way artists painted horses on the move. Man Ray, born later than this period, made an interesting observation on this apparent controversy. (See here). Š Robert Leggat, 2000.

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CALOTYPE process, The The Calotype was a positive/negative process introduced in 1841 by Fox Talbot, and popular for the next ten years or so. Strictly speaking the term refers only to the negative image, but it is commonly taken to mean both. A piece of paper was brushed with weak salt solution, dried, then brushed with a weak silver nitrate solution, dried, making silver chloride in the paper. This made it sensitive to light, and the paper was now ready for exposure. This might take half an hour, giving a print-out image. It was fixed in strong salt solution - potassium iodide of hypo. Fox Talbot, who devised the process, showed his results at the Royal Institution on 25 January 1839, delivering a paper on the last day of that month. The following year Fox Talbot succeeded in improving the "photogenic drawing" process, renaming it the calotype. He discovered that if he added gallic acid, the paper became more sensitive to light, and it was no longer necessary to expose until the image became visible. With further treatment of gallic acid and silver nitrate, the latent image would be developed. In 1844 Fox Talbot opened a photography establishment in Reading in order to mass produce prints. To make a print, the negative was placed on top of more photo paper, laid flat in a glass frame, and allowed to develop in sunlight. The Calotype process was not as popular as its rival one, the Daguerreotype. There were various reasons for this: ● ● ●

its popularity was to a great extent arrested by patent restrictions; the materials were less sensitive to light, therefore requiring longer exposures; the imperfections of the paper reduced the quality of the final print; Calotypes did not have the sharp definition of daguerreotypes. the process itself took longer, as it required two stages (making the negative and then the positive); the prints tended to fade.

One might also suggest that the fact paper was used as a negative lessened the detail of the picture, though from an artistic point of view some would regard this as a desirable feature. However, the calotype also had its advantages compared with the daguerreotype: ● ● ● ●

it provided the means of making an unlimited number of prints from one negative; retouching could be done on either negative or print; prints on paper were easier to examine, and far less delicate; the calotype had warmer tones.

When the Collodion process was introduced in 1851, the calotype became obsolete. However, the negativepositive process was one day to become the standard photographic one, which is still used today. © Robert Leggat, 1999.

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TALBOT, William Henry Fox b. 11 February 1800; d. 17 September 1877 His signature is Henry Talbot, and though he is said to have disliked being called Fox Talbot, that name has stuck. Though Fox Talbot was not the first to produce photographs, he made a major contribution to the photographic process as we know it today. Talbot studied the classics and mathematics at Cambridge, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1822, and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1832. He was also an MP, Biblical scholar, a Botanist and Assyriologist, making a contribution to the deciphering of cuneiform inscriptions brought to England from Nineveh. Though some of his pictures show a measure of artistic taste, it was his inability to draw which caused him to experiment with a mechanical method of capturing and retaining an image. Talbot attempted to draw with the aid of both a camera obscura and a camera lucida when producing his sketches, one of which was Villa Melzi. Later he wrote: "(In) October, 1833, I was amusing myself on the lovely shores of the Lake of Como in Italy, taking sketches with a Camera Lucida, or rather, I should say, attempting to make them; but with the smallest possible amount of success... After various fruitless attempts I laid aside the instrument and came to the conclusion that its use required a previous knowledge of drawing which unfortunately I did not possess. I then thought of trying again a method which I had tried many years before. This method was to take a Camera Obscura and to throw the image of the objects on a piece of paper in its focus - fairy pictures, creations of a moment, and destined as rapidly to fade away... It was during these thoughts that the idea occurred to me... how charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably and remain fixed on the paper!" The earliest surviving paper negative is of the now famous Oriel window in the South Gallery at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, where he lived. It is dated August 1835. Talbot's comments read "When first made, the squares of glass about 200 in number could be counted, with help of a lens." Talbot described how he took his pictures: "Not having with me... a camera obscura of any considerable size, I constructed one out of a large box, the image being thrown upon one end of it by a good object-glass fixed at the opposite end. The apparatus being armed with a sensitive paper, was taken out in a summar afternoon, and placed about one hundred yards from a building favourably illuminated by the sun. An or so afterwards I opened the box and I found depicted upon the paper a very distinct representation of the building, with the exception of those parts of it which lay in the shade. A little experience in this branch of the art showed me that with a smaller camera obscura the effect would be produced in a smaller time. Accordingly I had


several small boxes made, in which I fixed lenses of shorter focus, and with these I obtained very perfect, but extremely small pictures..." These "little boxes", measuring two or three inches, were named "mousetraps" by the family at Lacock, because of the various places they were to be found.

January 1839 was a busy month as far as announcements of discoveries were concerned. On 7 January Daguerre announced the development of his process. A few days later Talbot wrote to Arago, who had promoted Daguerre's invention, suggesting that it was he, not Daguerre, who had invented the photographic process. (At that time he was unaware that the process was entirely different). One of Arago's fellow-scientists replied that Daguerre had, in fact, devised a number of processes over fourteen years. Doubtless annoyed that Daguerre had been put in the lime-light he felt he himself deserved, Talbot began to publicise his own process. On 25 January 1839 he announced the discovery at the Royal Institution of a method of "photogenic drawing." At the time the sensitivity of the process was extremely poor. Then, in September 1840 Fox Talbot discovered the phenomenon of the latent image. It is said that this was a chance discovery, when he attempted to re-sensitise some paper which had failed to work in previous experiments; as the chemical was applied, an image, previously invisible, began to appear. This was a major breakthrough which led to drastically lowered exposure times from one hour or so to 1-3 minutes. Talbot he called the improved version the calotype (from the Greek "Kalos", meaning beautiful) and on 31 January he gave a paper to the Royal Society of London. The paper was entitled "Some account of the Art of Photogenic drawing, or the process by which natural objects may be made to delineate themselves without the aid of the artist's pencil." Talbot patented his invention on 8 February 1841, an act which considerably arrested the development of photography at the time. The patent (a separate one being taken out for France) applied to England and Wales. Talbot chose not to extend his patent to Scotland, and this paved the way for some outstanding photographs to be produced in Edinburgh by Hill and Adamson. In 1844 Talbot began issuing a book entitled "The Pencil of Nature", the first commercial book to be illustrated with actual photographs.* In order to produce these prints, he helped his former valet, Nicolaas Henneman to set up the Reading Establishment, a photographic processing studio within relatively easy reach of both London and Lacock. This however lasted only four years, as it was not a financial success. Talbot's process in general never reached the popularity of the daguerreotype process, partly because the latter produced such amazing detail, but partly because Talbot asked so much for the rights to use his process. A writer of the time, Henry Snelling, commented: "He is a man of some wealth, I believe, but he demands so high a price for a single


right.... that none can be found who have the temerity to purchase." Consequently calotypes never flourished as they might have, and the fault must lie largely with him. The newly formed Calotype club sought unsuccessfully to persuade Talbot to relax his restrictions in order to encourage the growth of photography. It is claimed that Talbot, somewhat put out by the fact that Daguerre had received many honours whilst he had been given none, was reacting accordingly. Sadly Talbot's name was somewhat tarnished by his series of attempts to enforce his patent. A claim in 1854 that the Collodion process was also covered by his calotype patent. was lost in court, and from then onwards, knowing that the faster and better collodion process was free for all to use, there were no further restrictions and photography began to take off in a big way. Having said this, there exists some evidence that there had been a concerted attempt to discredit Talbot in order to overturn the patent. Talbot increasingly viewed the defence of his calotype patent as a defence of Henneman, who had invested heavily in setting up the Reading Establishment . Talbot was enormously loyal to Henneman, and concerned about profit being made at his expense It is possible, therefore, that history has been a little too harsh on Fox Talbot. He too had spent a considerable amount of money developing his invention, and it has been suggested that his enforcement of patents was more due to his careful upbringing as far as finances were concerned than his desire to make a fortune. Other documents, particularly relating to the early days of the Photographic Society, reveal him to be far more magnanimous and generous than is commonly supposed. (See Talbot and patents.) Talbot summarised his achievement thus: "I do not profess to have perfected an art but to have commenced one, the limits of which it is not possible at present exactly to ascertain. I only claim to have based this art on a secure foundation." The Royal Photographic Society has two complete sets of the limited edition of "Pencil of Nature", together with many of Fox Talbot's letters, books and documents. August 1999: A new web-site led by Professor Larry J. Schaaf is the definitive site on this remarkable inventor. It is part of a three year project, and is a must for any student of Talbot. It is located at http://www.foxtalbot.arts.gla.ac.uk/ PS On a lighter note, in a discussion on Talbots' name, someone came up with what must be the definitive answer: "He was called Fox because he was a particularly cunning animal, and finally outran the Dag-hare!" * However, see also Atkins. Š Robert Leggat, 2006

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BEGINNINGS OF PHOTOGRAPHY, The: Note on The Pencil of Nature Few original copies of "The Pencil of Nature" remain, but the book is significant inasmuch as it was the first ever to be published with photographs. Well, almost the first; that distinction is owned by Anna Atkins, except that her pictures were photograms rather than photographs. Looking at Talbot's book, one cannot help but feel that it is an odd collection of pictures, because there does not seem to be a theme running though the book. It is a somewhat motley collection. We see a picture of the boulevards in Paris, a shot of Queens College, Oxford, and several pictures of Lacock Abbey, where Fox Talbot worked. There's a copy of a drawing, a picture of Westminster Abbey, and one of a part of Queens College, Oxford. No clear theme, just a collection of pictures, with a strange justification for them in the script! The book is a mix of technical information, guide book, a facinating collection of irrelevant details, a personal family record - probably a nightmare for librarians whose task it is to catalogue books according to subject! Perhaps this highlights a problem that the earliest photographers had. Atkin's book had a clear purpose. But pictures taken at this time seem to show that one is playing around with the medium to find out what its possibilities are (and that's a perfectly legitimate act) without being quite sure where they were going. Whereas one "made" art, photographs were a form of record. Indeed, they were "impressed by nature's hand", or "sun pictures". Photographs were "taken" or "obtained" as if they were natural specimens. It was regarded as a superb mechanical process, yes, but purely mechanical. Back to the section in "Beginnings of photography"

Š Robert Leggat, 2000


CLAUDET, Jean Francois Antoine b. 12 August 1797; d. 27 December 1867 Claudet was one of the first commercial photographers. A French glass merchant living in High Holborn, he learned details of the daguerreotype process from its inventor, and bought from him a licence to operate in England. In 1841 he set up a studio on the roof of the Adelaide Gallery (now the Nuffield Centre), behind St. Martins in the Fields church, London, and later on in two other sites in London. Another daguerreotype practitioner at the time was Richard Beard, and there was considerable competition between the two. Beard even took out a court injunction against Claudet in an effort to close his business, but the court found in Claudet's favour. Exposures, at this time, were still long, and sitters were often instructed to "sit there, as still as death." One disgruntled sitter, Thomas Sutton, described his ordeal: "I was seated... in the full blazing sunshine and after about an exposure of a minute the plate was developed..... My eyes were made to stare until the tears streamed from them and the portrait was of course a caricature.... I paid a guinea for it. It has since faded...." In 1842 FoxTalbot sought to persuade Claudet to practise the Calotype (also known as the Talbotype) at his studio, the Adelaide Gallery. Claudet did some work with the Calotype, but as his letter to Talbot indicates, not with total success: "Until we have a paper with a surface as uniform and perfect as a silver plate I say the Daguerreotype gives images more delicate, finer and of greater perfection than the Talbotype. Until we can operate with the Talbotype in several seconds and as rapidly as with the Daguerreotype so that one can get more pleasing poses, then I say that the advantage is on the side of the Daguerreotype. But I also say that the Talbotype has beauty which the other has not, that the impressions are more portable and circulate more easily, that it is possible so send them through the post, stick them in albums, etc. and finally that one can obtain an unlimited number of copies." Independently, Claudet discovered an accelerating process, using chlorine instead of bromine to reduce exposures. He also invented the red (safe) dark-room light, and it was he who suggested the idea of using a series of photographs to create the illusion of movement. The idea of using painted backdrops is also attributed to him. In 1845 Claudet bought a lens designed by Joseph Petzval. It was sixteen times faster than the ones currently in use, and enabled him not only to take pictures with shorter exposures, but also increase their size. J. Dudley Johnston, a distinguished member of the Society early this century, writes "He discovered a method of increasing greatly the rapidity of the Daguerreotype by means of bromide, so that he was able to obtain a portrait by the oxyhydrogen light in fifteen seconds and an image of the moon in four seconds." In 1851 he moved his business to 107 Regent Street, where he established what he called a "Temple to Photography."


In the late eighteen fifties Claudet became fascinated by stereoscopic photography. He invented a folding stereoscope and an endless belt stereoscopic viewer which enabled one to view up to a hundred pictures in succession. He wrote: "The stereoscope is the general panorama of the world. It brings in the cheapest and most portable form, not only the picture but the model, in a tangible shape, of all that exists in the various countries of the globe." Claudet received many honours, among which was the appointment, in 1853, as "Photographer-inordinary" to Queen Victoria, and the award, ten years later, of an honour from the Emperor of France. Sadly, less than a month after his death, his "temple to photography" was burnt down, and most of his most valuable photographic treasures were lost. Postscript: A contemporary comparison of Claudet and Beard's work Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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BREWSTER, Sir David b. 11 December 1781; d. 10 February 1868 Sir David Brewster was an outstanding scholar who had the distinction of going to Edinburgh University at the age of eleven. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1815, was a founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and was responsible for numerous inventions. He did early work on the properties of light, and the kaleidoscope. He was in touch with Fox Talbot and it was he who suggested the use of the photographic process to David Hill, as an aid to his painting. He clearly favoured Talbot's Calotype process over the Daguerreotype. "While a Daguerreotype picture is much more sharp and accurate in its details than a Calotype, the latter possesses the advantage of giving a greater breadth and massiveness to its landscapes and portraits... In point of expense, a Daguerreotype picture vastly exceeds a Calotype one of the same size. With its silver plate and glass covering, a quarto plate must cost five or six shillings, while a Calotype one will cost as many pence.... "The great and unquestioned superiority of the calotype pictures is their power of multiplication. One Daguerreotype cannot be copied from another, and the person whose portrait is desired must sit for every copy that he wishes. When a pleasing picture is obtained, another of the same character cannot be reproduced. In the Calotype, on the contrary, we can take any number of pictures, within reasonable limits, from a negatives; and a whole circle of friends can procure, for a mere trifle, a copy of a successful and pleasing portrait. In the Daguerreotype the landscapes are all reverted, whereas in the Calotype the drawing is exactly conformable to nature.. The Daguerreotype may be considered as having nearly attained perfection.... whereas the Calotype is yet in its infancy..." In 1849 Brewster invented the Stereoscope, a viewer for stereoscopic prints. These became popular items in Victorian drawing-rooms. His book (The Stereoscope, its history, theory and construction) is still a good introduction to stereoscopic photography, though the author rather spoilt it by his unpleasantries concerning Wheatstone, who had actually invented stereoscopy.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The ALBUMEN process In the late 1840s albumen came to be used in the preparation of both negatives and printing paper, in order to increase the definition. The first development was at the negative stage. Talbot's negatives were on paper, and inevitably, when a positive was made, the imperfections of the paper were printed along with the image. The answer would be to use glass negatives rather than paper, but the chemicals would not adhere to the glass without a suitable binder. Though several substances had been thought of - even the slime left by snails - nothing proved reliable. In 1848 a cousin of Nicephore NiĂŠpce, Abel NiĂŠpce, perfected a process which consisted of coating a glass plate with salted white of egg containing some potassium iodide. The plate was then left to dry, after which it was sensitised with an acid solution of silver nitrate. After exposure it was then developed in gallic acid. This new process made for very fine detail and much higher quality. However, it was very slow, with exposure times ranging between five and fifteen minutes, so it was used for architectural or still life work, not for portraiture. The development of albumen printing paper, two years later, met with much greater success; this was introduced in France by Blanquart-Evrard, brought to this country by John Mayall and made known in England by Hugh Welch Diamond. (One source, however, suggests that this process was first described at the Photographic Society by Henry Pollock.) Until then, salted paper, with its limitations of definition, had been used. An article by Shadbolt in The Journal of the Photographic Society (1855) states the problem: "The more the picture is kept upon the surface of the paper, the more brilliant is the effect, and the more perfectly is the detail, especially that of the half tones brought out, and that anything like soaking the solutions into the paper produces a flat and unsatisfying effect." Here the chemicals would be on the paper rather than in it, as in the case of the salted-paper process. It was a glossy printing paper which produced a very smooth surface and therefore permitted reproduction in much greater detail. However, initially the albumen process was not seen as the ideal answer. Shadbolt, for example, continued: "the offensive and vulgar glare which it possesses sometimes is more detrimental to pictorial effect than is counter- balanced by other advantages, and I see no reason why all the delicacy of albumenized proofs should not be retained by adopting other means to this end, and yet be free from so unpleasant a defect as the glare alluded to..." whilst Sutton wrote: "As a matter of taste, I extremely dislike prints on albumenized paper, and they consequently never find a place in my portfolio...", and evidently had little time for "those who prefer that peculiar kind of vigour and brilliancy which is exhibited by a


piece of black sticking plaster, or a well-polished Wellington boot..." To reduce the glaze, some diluted the albumen. Nevertheless the process began to catch on, and by the sixties it was in general use, and continued to be so until the turn of the century. Its success may be judged by the fact that one of the photographic journals printed recipes for using the egg yolks left over after the whites had been used for photographic purposes. It was said that one supplier of albumen paper alone was using sixty thousands eggs a day! Albumen printing paper continued to be in general use until the turn of the century, when gelatine paper began to replace it. Further information about this process is available in detail HERE.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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ARCHER, Frederick Scott b. 1813; d. 2 May 1857 Scott Archer's development of the wet collodion process changed the face of photography, enabling the making of finely detailed negatives. Until then the two processes in existence were the daguerreotype and the calotype, both of which had limitations: â—?

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Daguerreotypes, though they had very clear images, required lengthy exposures and it was a "once-only" process; it was also expensive. Calotypes, though capable of unlimited reproduction, were not as sharp, as one had to print through paper.

Something that combined the best of both processes was needed. There were several attempts to find a medium that combined the advantages but eliminated their drawbacks. Some experimenters useed albumen (egg white), ohers used wax, but none of these methods proved successful. Archer had a variety of jobs (silver-smith's apprentice, coin valuer, sculptor) before he turned to photography. He too experimented with albumen. In March 1851 the "Chemist" printed an article entitled "On the use of Collodion in photography." Three years earlier Archer had come across this substance, which produced a transparent waterproof film, and which was being used to dress wounds. Archer's procedure was to mix collodion with potassium iodide, and then immerse this in a solution of silver nitrate. Both the exposure and the development had to be made in the camera whilst the plate was still wet. This new process was an important one, not only for its clarity (using glass as a base) but also because it reduced the exposure times to a matter of seconds. Writing to Llewelyn on 31 May 1852 Fox Talbot said: "Pray accept the enclosed specimen which was taken the other day in 3 seconds by Henneman or his assistant. He sometimes succeeds in one second." Up till this time more transient events, such as rippling water, smoke, blown clouds, would have failed to register. Llwelyn tried to tackle photographs of waves, and actually succeeded. In a review of an exhibition in London in 1854, and enthusiastic review wrote: "Mr. Llwelyn...has sent four instantaneous pictures, in one of which the seashore has been taken, with carts and persons moving upon it. Waves are caught with foam on them....and the feintest (sic) trace of indecision in some walking figures shows that could scarcely have completed one footstep before the picture was complete. Another picture represents the sea beating itself into foam against a rock, with flying clouds. Another represents a steamboat at a pier, amd has fixed instantaneously the floating smoke and steam." Within a very short period the collodion process had replaced the calotype. Together with Peter Fry, Archer also devised the Ambrotype process. Unlike Fox Talbot, who was involved in a number of law-suits in order to protect his patent, Scott


Archer did not seek to make money out of his discovery. Talbot even went as far as to claim that the Collodion process was covered by his Calotype patent; in December 1854 he began a lawsuit against Martin Laroche on this very issue, but he lost. Consequently the Collodion process became free to the world. In the wake of this court ruling Talbot did not renew his calotype patent, given that the collodion process, which was better in any case, was free. Had Scott Archer patented his Wet Collodion process, he could undoubtedly have made a fortune, and though he lived just a few years to see others making a huge fortune from it, he died at just 44 years, in penury, never receiving during his lifetime the appreciation due to someone who had made such an advance in photography. After his death, a fund for the benefit of his widow and children was opened, raising ÂŁ747, and a small civil list pension was obtained for the the three children who by this time had been left orphans. The RPS has some thirty or so albumen pictures, including an album of views of Kenilworth Castle. Archer's process, though a considerable step forward, had one particular disadvantage. Collodion dries quickly. It hardens, and this the processing solutions can not penetrate. It follows, therefore, that at this period a photographer had to carry his darkroom on his travels. The next major step would be the invention, in 1871, by Richard Maddox.

Š Robert Leggat, 2003.

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COLLODION process, The This process was introduced in 1851 and marks a watershed in photography. Up till then the two processes in use were the daguerreotype and the calotype. Daguerreotypes were better than calotypes in terms of detail and quality, but could not be reproduced; calotypes were reproducible, but suffered from the fact that any print would also show the imperfections of the paper. The search began, then, for a process which would combine the best of both processes - the ability to reproduce fine detail and the capacity to make multiple prints. The ideal would have been to coat light sensitive material on to glass, but the chemicals would not adhere without a suitable binder which obviously had to be clear. At first, Albumen (the white of an egg) was used. Then in 1851 Frederick Scott Archer came across collodion. Collodion was a viscous liquid - guncotton dissolved in ether and alcohol - which had only been invented in 1846, but which quickly found a use during the Crimean war; when it dried it formed a very thin clear film, which was ideal for dressing and protecting wounds. (One can still obtain this today, for painting over a cut). Collodion was just the answer as far as photography was concerned, for it would provide the binding which was so badly needed. Lewis Carroll, himself a photographer who used collodion, described the process in a poem he called "Hiawatha's Photography." "First a piece of glass he coated With Collodion, and plunged it In a bath of Lunar Caustic Carefully dissolved in water; There he left it certain minutes. Secondly my Hiawatha Made with cunning hand a mixture Of the acid Pyro-gallic, And the Glacial Acetic, And of alcohol and water: This developed all the picture. Finally he fixed each picture With a saturate solution Of a certain salt of Soda...." This "soda" was, of course, hypo. Sometimes potassium cyanide was used, the advantage of this being that the solutions could be washed out by rinsing under a tap for a minute or so, whereas hypo would need much more washing time. The collodion process had several advantages. ●

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being more sensitive to light than the calotype process, it reduced the exposure times drastically - to as little as two or three seconds. This opened up a new dimension for photographers, who up till then had generally to portray very still scenes or people. because a glass base was used, the images were sharper than with a calotype. because the process was never patented, photography became far more widely used. the price of a paper print was about a tenth of that of a daguerreotype.

There was however one main disadvantage: the process was by no means an easy one. First the collodion had to be spread carefully over the entire plate. The plate then had to be sensitised, exposed and developed whilst the plate was still wet; the sensitivity dropped once the collodion had dried. It is often known as the wet plate collodion process for this reason.


The process was labour-intensive enough in a studio's darkroom, but quite a feat if one wanted to do some photography on location. Some took complete darkroom tents, Fenton took a caravan, and it is no mere coincidence that many photographs taken in this period happened to be near rivers or streams! Moreover, at this time there were no enlargements, so if one wanted large prints, there was no alternative but to carry very large cameras. (It is such limitations of the process that make the work of people like the Bisson brothers, Fenton, and others so remarkable). One might also mention the safety factor. The collodion mixture was not only inflammable but highly explosive. It is reported that several photographers demolished their darkrooms and homes, some even losing their lives, as a result of careless handling of the photographic chemicals. Despite the advantages the collodion process offered, there were still many who stoutly defended the calotype. A writer in the Journal of the Photographic Society (December 1856) wrote: "for subjects where texture, gradations of tint and distance are required, there is nothing.... to compare with a good picture from calotype or waxed paper negative." Moreover, the calotype process was less of an ordeal, especially for travel photographers; paper negatives could be prepared at home, exposed on location, and then developed upon one's return. Hence Diamond used the calotype process for some of his travel photographs, though he used collodion for portraiture and for his medical photography. Nevertheless the invention of this process turned out to be a watershed as far as photography was concerned: ●

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cheaper alternatives, such as Ambrotypes and Tintypes were developed. The former was a positive on glass, the latter a positive on metal; stereoscopic photography began to flourish; the carte-de-visite craze started; because of the faster speed of the process, the analysis of movement (see Muybridge) became possible.

The use of collodion caught on very quickly indeed, and within a few years few people used either the Daguerreotype or Calotype process. The records of the Photographic Society give an interesting account of the efforts to ensure even sensitivity of the Collodion plates. As mentioned above, these plates had to be dipped into a nitrate of silver bath and exposed whilst still wet. Exposure would have to be almost immediate as otherwise the top of the plate would lose its moisture and the sensitivity would become uneven. All sorts of liquids were tried, including honey, beer, and even rasperry syrup! A variation on this was the Oxymel process. To see a short video clip showing a collodion plate being made, see HERE. © Robert Leggat, 2001

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CARTE-DE-VISITE photography Cartes-de-visite were small visiting card portraits (usually measuring 4 1/2 x 2 1/2") introduced by a Parisian photographer, Andre Disdéri, who in late 1854 patented a way of taking a number of photographs on one plate (usually eight), thus greatly reducing production costs. (He was not actually the first to produce them; this honour belongs to an otherwise obscure photographer called Dodero, from Marseilles). Different types of cameras were devised. Some had a mechanism which rotated the photographic plate, others had multiple lenses which could be uncovered singly or all together. The carte-de-visite did not catch on until one day in May 1859 Napoleon III, on his way to Italy with his army, halted his troops and went into Disdéri's studio in Paris, to have his photograph taken. From this welcome publicity Disdéri's fame began, and two years later he was said to be earning nearly £50,000 a year from one studio alone. ** In England carte-de-visite portraits were taken of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. One firm paid a small fortune for exclusive rights to photograph the Royal Family, and this signalled the way for a boom in collecting pictures of the famous, or having one's own carte-de-visite made. It is said that the portraits of Queen Victoria and the Royal Family taken by John Mayall sold over one hundred thousand copies. Other public figures were often persuaded to sit. Helmut Gernsheim, a writer on the history of photography, comments that they were called "sure cards" because one could be sure that each time a famous person consented to sit, a small fortune would go to the photographer! To print quickly, several negatives were taken at a sitting: the Photographic News for 24 September 1858 reported that no fewer than four dozen negatives were taken of Lord Olverston at one sitting! During the 1860s the craze for these cards became immense. An article in the Photographic Journal, reports: "The public are little aware of the sale of the cartes de visite of celebrated persons. As might be expected, the chief demand is for members of the Royal Fanily.... No greater tribute to the memory of His late Royal Highness the Prince Consort would have been paid than the fact that within one week of his decease no less than 70,000 of his cartes de visite were ordered... Our great thoroughfares are filled with photographers; there are not less than thirtyfive in Regent Street alone." Sometimes the profits could be huge. A Frenchman by the name of Oliver Sarony, who was based in Yorkshire, was said to be earning more then ten thousand pounds a year - a fortune last century. Little wonder that there was speculation that Gladstone might introduce a tax on the trade! By the way, pirating of someone else's work is not new; some firms copied the photograph of a famous person and made quite a healthy living! The reasons for the success of these cards were ●

their cheapness. The average price for a card was a shilling (5p); mass produced ones could be bought for 25p a dozen they were small, light and easy to collect, and many people began to place these in photographic albums


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collections of pictures, particularly of royalty, became highly treasured (there was no television, of course, in those days!)

Cartes-de-visite were Albumen prints, and it is on record that in Britain half a million eggs were being delivered yearly to one photographic studio alone! The props used in cartes-de-visite seemed to follow certain fashions; starting off with balustrades and curtains, they moved to columns (sometimes resting on the carpet!) bridges and stiles, hammocks, palm-trees and bicycles. Sadly, quantity rather than quality was the order of the day, though there are some striking exceptions. To some extent the carte-de-visite craze also put paid to photography in which detail was a distinctive feature; the work of Gustave Le Gray and of the Bisson brothers, for example, could not be reproduced on these small cards, and thus their businesses began to fall off. By 1860 the carte de visite craze had reached its climax. In his autobiography H. P. Robinson states that in 1859 his photographic business had been about to collapse, but that this innovation had saved it. By the end of 1860 he had not only paid off old debts and made additions to his premises, but had invested a considerable sum of money, two years later being able to sell his business and retire to live in London. In May 1862, Marion & Co. announced that it had published a series of Cabinet views, 6.75 x 4.5 inches, photographed by George Washington Wilson, and the larger Cabinet photographs remained in vogue until the postcard was introduced at the turn of the century. Stereoscopic cards, whose popularity had temporarily declined, also began to experience a revival. There are many examples of these photographs in the Royal Photographic Society's collection. Some on current display are accompanied by an advertisement by the London Stereoscopic Society, for twenty prints at one pound, "Detention 3 minutes." ** This story about Napoleon stopping for a portrait has subsequently shown to be untrue, but it makes a good story and may have been put about purely for publicity purposes! Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DISDÉRI, Andre Adolphe Eugene b. 1819; d. 1889 or 1890 A French photographer, he was famous for developing the technique of making very small (101mm x 63mm) portraits, which came to be known as Carte-de-visite photographs. He patented this on 27 November 1854. In May 1859 he had an extraordinarily lucky break, when Napoleon stopped his troops outside his studio and went in to have his photograph taken. Disdéri became instantly famous, and people flocked to his studio, making him a very rich man. The process was so cheap that carte-de-visites became enormously popular, largely replacing the daguerreotype. Enterprising photographers began to take photographs of famous personalities, and copies were avidly collected by the people. Disdéri is also credited with the invention of the twin-lens reflex camera. At the height of his fame he was said to be one of the richest photographers in Europe. Sadly, however, his photographic sense was not matched by his business one, for he ended his career as a beach photographer in Monaco, dying virtually penniless.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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AMBROTYPE process, The If a very thin under-exposed negative is placed in front of a dark background, the image appears like a positive. This is because the silver reflects some light whilst the areas with no silver at all will appear black. This is the principle behind the Ambrotype process, the pictures being more correctly known as Collodion positives. Ambrotypes were made from the 1850s and up to the late eighties, the process having been invented by Frederick Scott Archer in collaboration with Peter Fry, a colleague. Ambrotypes were direct positives, made by under-exposing collodion on glass negative, bleaching it, and then placing a black background - usually black velvet, occasionally varnish - behind it. Though Ambrotypes slightly resemble Daguerreotypes, the method of production was very different, and Ambrotypes were much cheaper. The Ambrotype process was yet another method of reducing the cost of photography. It became popular for a number of reasons: ● ● ●

less exposure time was needed production was cheaper and quicker, as no printing was required as the negative could be mounted the other way, by placing the collodion side on top of the backing material, there was no lateral reversal, as there was in most Daguerreotypes. unlike Daguerreotypes, they could be viewed from any angle

Ambrotypes became very popular, particularly in America. The process is also called "Melainotype" in the European continent. Another variant of this was the Tintype process.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MADDOX, Richard Leach b. 4 August 1816; d. 11 May 1902 Dr. Richard Maddox, an English physician, worked on photo-micrography and wrote on various photographic topics, but it was not until 1871 that his greatest contribution to the science of photography was made. Up to his time, wet collodion plates were being used. These required that coating, exposure and development be done whilst the solution was still wet, and soon the need for pre-prepared plates became evident. Maddox, a photography enthusiast, first started looking around for a substitute to collodion when he found his health being affected by the ether vapour of the collodion process. In an article in the British Journal of Photography for 8 September 1871 he suggested a process whereby the sensitising chemicals could be coated on a glass plate in a Gelatin emulsion, instead of wet collodion. Probably he had no idea at the time of the significance his discovery would have on the future of photography. Some years later Charles Bennett and others made the first gelatin dry plates for sale on the open market, a revolutionary advance in the science of photography. By the end of that decade the dry plate process had superseded the wet plate one entirely, and within a further ten years the emulsion would be coated on celluloid roll film. In 1901 Maddox received the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal for inventions that led to the foundation of the dry plate and film industry. He had freely made his ideas known, and never patented the process; sadly he ended his days in poverty.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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GELATIN, The introduction of The development of the Collodion process marked a watershed in the development of photography. However, this wet-plate process had limitations, one being that it was necessary to keep the collodion moist. For a number of years several attempts were made to discover ways of keeping the collodion moist for long periods. The materials tried included unusual ones like licorice, beer and raspberry syrup! Some success was achieved by using a mixture of bromide in collodion. The ideal binder would be one which enabled the plates to be used only when dry. It was not until 1871 that the next breakthrough was achieved by Dr Richard Leach Maddox, when he began using gelatin. In fact, as far back as 1850 Robert Bingham had suggested the use of gelatin, but this idea had not been taken up at the time, presumably because of the announcement of the collodion process the following year. Gelatin is a protein obtained from animals, which is transparent and odourless, and used in a number of food processes. The first account of its use in photography is in the British Journal of Photography for 8 September 1871, when Maddox suggested that the sensitising chemicals could be coated on to a glass plate in a gelatin rather than a collodion emulsion. Maddox's process, though revolutionary, was far slower than collodion. Several manufacturers experimented with it, the most successful being Charles Bennett, who in 1878 announced a new gelatin dry plate process. This was a major breakthrough, particularly since Bennett's process also considerably enhanced the sensitivity of the emulsion, reducing the exposure time to one tenth of that required for the collodion one. This dry process ● ● ●

relieved photographers of the need to carry about their own darkroom and chemicals; exposure could now be made on location, development being left until much later; it also let to a greater degree of standardisation, and a more scientific approach to photography; the science of sensitometry was introduced at around this period, and exposure calculators now began to appear.

By the end of that decade the dry plate had superseded the Wet Plate entirely, and within a further ten years the emulsion could be coated on celluloid roll film.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DRY-PLATE process, The This was invented by Charles Bennett in 1878, coming soon after Dr. Richard Leach Maddox had suggested the use of Gelatin as a binder. This new process was revolutionary:

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from now on portable darkrooms would no longer be necessary; the process was much more sensitive to light, and therefore relatively fast shutter speeds were possible; it led to a greater degree of standardisation and quality a new range of cameras (including novel ones, such as used for example by Paul Martin), began to appear.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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EASTMAN, George b. 12 July 1854; d. 14 March 1932 Up to the time of Eastman photography, though already popular, was still considered too complicated for ordinary users, and George Eastman is remembered for having made photography accessible to all. Eastman started off as a bank clerk, and then became interested in photography. He is particularly remembered for introducing flexible film in 1884. Four years later he introduced the box camera incorporating roll film, and with his slogan "You press the button, we do the rest" he brought photography to the masses. The box camera had a simple lens focusing on 8 feet and beyond. One roll of film took a hundred images, all circular in shape. The entire camera would be posted to the factory where the film was processed and the camera re-loaded and returned to the user, the charge for this being ÂŁ2.2s (ÂŁ2.10). The photographs were of about 65mm diameter, and opened up a new world for popular photography. Eastman's contribution not only made photography available to all, but also resulted in a gradual change in what constituted acceptable photography. Paul Martin, who worked with a large portable camera, had found it difficult to get his informal pictures accepted at exhibitions. To have pictures accepted, he complained, one would need to take "... a noble and dignified subject, a cathedral or mountain..." and that "few envisaged the popular snapshot until the coming of the hand camera and the Kodak." From the age of 76 onwards, Eastman was becoming increasingly ill. Eventually, having settled his affairs, he took his own life. Next to his body was a note which said simply "To my friends, my work is done - why wait?" If you have the opportunity, do visit the Kodak Museum at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. It houses a huge collection of interesting images and objets connected with popular photography.


Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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FILM The first photographic film is credited to John Corbutt †, an Englishman working in Philadelphia, who in 1888 coated sheets of celluloid with photographic emulsion. The following year George Eastman produced roll film, designed for a new camera called the Kodak; after exposure the film would be returned still in the camera for processing. Daylight loading film was produced by Eastman Kodak in 1894. The early films were highly inflammable, and gradually became replaced by non inflammable cellulose acetate in the 1930s. Cine projection seemed to be a pretty hazardous business, if the advice to users printed in New Photographer, 2 January 1926 is anything to go by: "Choose a room with more than one exit door if possible, and make sure that the windows can be easily opened in the event of the film charring and beginning to emit smoke, as this smoke is poisonous... Keep a bucket of damp sand close by the projector, and at the first sign of a flare-up throw the machine on the bare floor and tip the sand all over it. If this is done smartly without fuss, and if the people are at once got out of the room and the windows opened, no great harm will accrue beyond the destruction of the film..." †

Well, it depends where you look! One book states that the idea of a paper roll film was first conceived by Arthur James Melhuish in 1854. Even more interesting is the story of Revd. Hannibal Goodwin, which clearly suggests that Eastman Kodak had made a claim to inventing film that was unjustified.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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VOGEL, Herman b. 1834; d. 1898 In the earliest days of photography, photographic emulsions were sensitive only to blue and white light, giving incorrect tonal values, with red and green objects appearing very dark. Vogel, a German chemist, made a major contribution to the development of colour photography when, in 1873, he discovered that if he added appropriate dyes when making a solution, the plates would respond to green light (essential, obviously, for landscape photography). This led to the manufacture of "orthochromatic" plates (sensitive to all the visible spectrum except red and deep orange). Just after the turn of the century "panchromatic" films, sensitive to all visible colours in the spectrum, began to be produced.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MUYBRIDGE, Eadweard b. 9 April 1830; d. 8 May 1904 Edward James Muggeridge was born in Kingston on Thames, and it is said that because this area is associated with the coronation of Saxon kings, he took on a name closely resembling (as he saw it) the Anglo Saxon equivalent. In his early twenties he went to live in America, gaining a reputation for his landscape photographs of the American West. As he used the collodion process, like other travel photographers he would have needed to take with him all the sensitising and processing equipment, as all three processes of sensitisation, exposure and processing needed to be done while the plate was still wet. During the late sixties and early seventies he made some two thousand pictures, exposing negatives size 20x24 inch. Though he is not given due acclaim, many his landscape studies rank with the best. However, Muybridge's main claim to fame (apart from being tried and acquitted for the murder of his wife's lover!) was his exhaustive study of movement. Just about this same time the French physiologist Etienne Marey was studying animal movement, and his studies began to suggest that a horse's movements were very different from what one had imagined. One of the people who became aware of this research was Leland Stanford, a former governor of California, who owned a number of race horses. Stanford was determined to find the truth about this. It is said that he bet a friend that when a horse gallops, at a particular point all four feet are off the ground simultaneously. To prove his case he hired Muybridge to investigate whether the claim was true. By the 1870s lengthy exposures had been reduced to a minimum, and thus it became possible for photography to begin to extend one's vision of reality. It took a little time, however, for Muybridge to perfect a way of photographing which would supply the answer, for the Collodion process was rather slow. Whilst working on this project Muybridge also undertook other assignments, and it was on his return from one of these, we are told, that he became aware that his wife was having an affair with another soldier. In true Wild West style he shot the soldier dead, and was duly imprisoned for murder; however, presumably partly because of his connections, he was acquitted a little later, and was asked to photograph the Panama railroad, some distance away from the scene of the crime. Returning to his movement experiments, a few years later Muybridge was able to photograph a horse galloping, using twenty four cameras, each triggered off by the breaking of a trip-wire on the course. He not only proved Leland right, but also showed that, contrary to what painters had depicted, a horse's feet are not, as hitherto believed, outstretched, as if like a rocking- horse, but bunched together under the belly. This discovery caused considerable controversy, but eventually became more generally accepted. Muybridge's studies are very comprehensive, and include some detailed studies of men and women walking, running, jumping, and so on. In 1878 an article in Scientific American published some of Muybridge's sequences, and suggested that readers might like to cut the pictures out and place them in a "zoetrope" so that the illusion of movement might be re-created. Intrigued by this, Muybridge experimented further, and in time invented the zoopraxiscope, an instrument which in turn paved the way for cine photography. This invention was greeted with enormous enthusiasm both in America, whilst in England a demonstration at the Royal Institution in 1882 attracted such people as the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister (Gladstone), Tennyson, and others.


In 1884 the University of Pennsylvania commissioned Muybridge to make a further study of animal and human locomotion. The report, "Animal Locomotion" was published three years later and still ranks as the most detailed study in this area. It contains more than twenty thousand images. In 1900 Muybridge returned to Kingston, where he died a few years later. His zoopraxiscope, together with many of his plates, were bequeathed to the Kingston-upon-Thames Museum, where they are on display. Other plates are in the Royal Photographic Society's collection. Sites come and go, but at the time of writing, there's one that shows people how to make a toy zoetrope. See HERE. Š Robert Leggat, 2001.


STEREOSCOPIC photography Stereoscopic, or 3D photography, works because it is able to recreate the illusion of depth. Human eyes are set about two-and-a-half inches apart, so each eye sees an image slightly differently. If one takes two separate photographs that same distance apart, with a suitable viewer it is possible to recreate that illusion of depth. It comes as a surprise to many to learn that the idea of stereoscopy actually preceded photography. Binocular drawings were made by Giovanni Battista della Porta (1538-1615), whilst about the same period Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli (1554-1640) produced drawings side by side which clearly indicated his understanding of binocular vision. In 1613 the Jesuit Francois d'Aguillion (1567-1617), in his treatise, coined the word "stĂŠrĂŠoscopique" The first practical steps to demonstrate the theory by constructing equipment for the purpose did not take place until the 1800s. Though most associate Brewster with the invention, it was Sir Charles Wheatstone who, in June 1838, gave an address to the Royal Scottish Society of Arts on the phenomena of binocular vision. In describing the equipment, he said: "I...propose that it be called a Stereoscope, to indicate its property of representing solid figures." Wheatstone's actual stereoscope is preserved at the Science Museum in London. Eleven years were to elapse before Sir David Brewster described a binocular camera, and the first stereoscopic photographs began to be produced. Early workers in this field include Fenton, who took photographs in Russia, when he visited there in 1852, and Jules Duboscq, who made stereoscopes and stereoscopic daguerreotypes. Duboscq in turn caused Antoine Claudet to become interested in stereoscopy; indeed, it was Claudet who patented stereoscopes in 1853. The stereoscope took off in a big way when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert observed one at the exhibition at the Crystal Palace, and Brewster presented her with a stereoscope made by Duboscq. This signalled the beginning of a huge trade in stereoscopes and images; it is estimated that by the mid eighteen-fifties over a million homes owned one. One of the most successful salesmen of stereoscopic cards was George Nottage, later Lord Mayor of London, his catalogues listing over one hundred thousand views. The most common process for making stereoscopic cards was the Albumen one, daguerreotype images being very rare. A variety of viewers became available, from the simple Holmes viewer, shown here, to cabinet-type viewers which could store fifty or so positives. A different way to view images is the anaglyph process, which was developed by Ducos Du Hauron, and was a method of printing two images on to one sheet. The process is still quite popular today. The London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company came into being in 1850 and continued for some seventy years. Their output was collossal; they listed over a hundred thousand stereo photographs in their 1858 catalogue. In general they tended to be views, plus some portraits of comic scenes. The Stereoscopic Society was founded in 1893, and is one of two societies operating in Britain which continue to promote this form of photography. It is still in existence, and details can be found here.

Though there exist (quite expensive) stereo cameras in the second-hand market, if one is photographing a still object a single camera is all that is needed. An article in Amateur Photographer, dated November 27, 1902, had a lengthy article, together with examples of the picture produced. Those able to uncross their eyes so that the two pictures fuse can see the stereo effect.


Š Robert Leggat, 2003

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ARCHITECTURAL photography Many photographs defy classification, and this is particularly so in the case of architectural photography, where much of the early work may come under general interest, travel, or landscape. Some of Fox Talbot's photographs, for example, have architectural interest, though that may not have been their primary objective. Among the most well-known photographers are Fenton, of abbeys and castles, Hill and Adamson, taken in various Scottish cities, and Bourne and Frith. Francis Bedford produced a number of photographs, many for use with the Stereoscope. One of the earliest of photographers of architecture per se was Philip Delamotte, an artist, who documented the re-building of the Crystal Palace in 1853-54. Other significant names are Robert McPherson, James Anderson, Valentine Blanchard, Frederick Evans and Carlo Ponti.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LINKED RING, The Many artists regard the hanging of their work at the Royal Academy almost as an accolade. So too with photographers. In the 1880s, the exhibitions mounted by the Photographic Society were regarded as the premier event. However, several of its members were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the Society's emphasis on scientific as opposed to aesthetic matters. As time went on differences between the photographic scientists and photographic artists became greater and more acrimonious, and Henry Peach Robinson was becoming increasingly frustrated by the failure of the Photographic Society to recognise that there was an artistic dimension as well as a scientific one to photography. The Photographic News for 19 August 1892 pinpointed the problem: "If photography is ever to take up its proper position as an art it must detach itself from science and live a separate existence." Commenting upon the proceedings of the Photographic Society, Robinson wrote "For years art has scarcely been mentioned... The feeling that art had nothing to do with the Society became so pronounced two or three years ago that one of the officials expressed his opinion that papers on art may be tolerated if they could be got and there was nothing better to be had...." The circumstances which led to the final breakup between Robinson and the Photographic Society were relatively trivial, but they were the last straw, and led to the resignation of Robinson and George Davidson from the Society. At that time Robinson was a much respected Vice-President of the Society, and had been a member for many years, and his resignation was followed by that of several other distinguished photographers of the time. In May 1892, a few months after the disastrous Council meeting which had culminated in these resignations, Robinson founded the Linked Ring, a brotherhood consisting of a group of photographers based in London, pledged to enhance photography as a fine art. Famous members of this brotherhood (which was by invitation only - one could not apply for it) included Frank Sutcliffe, Frederick Evans, Paul Martin, and Alfred Stieglitz. Though the formation of this group was, as their publicity indicated, "a means of bringing together those who are interested in the development of the highest form of Art of which Photography is capable", it is also very likely that serious photographers were now trying to distance themselves from the growth of photography for all, brought about by the introduction of simple cameras. The idea that anyone could press a button and take a photograph caused the more dedicated to look for new techniques which the "snap photographers" would never aspire to. The brotherhood put on a number of exhibitions and sought to encourage the work of innovative photographers, including work by non-members. Its first major exhibition took place in November 1893, and was known as the Photographic Salon, a title chosen deliberately, in order to associate itself with painting exhibitions, where the same term was used. The exhibition was very well received, and for a number of years - up to the group's demise, it was an important annual event for photographers both in England and abroad. The Link's annual, "Photograms of the year", became world famous.

By 1901 some of its members were boldly stating that the Linked Ring had demonstrated that "pictorial photography is able to stand alone and that it has a future entirely apart from that which is purely mechanical." A few years after the formation of this brotherhood, a similar reaction to the photographic establishment was emerging in America, where the Photo-Secession was formed. Many of the more influential members of the Photo-Secession also became members of the Linked Ring, and discontent began to arise because of their domination of the Ring. At the 1908 exhibition of the Salon, photographers discovered that many of the exhibits (over 60%) were by Americans. It was not so much their quantity as their style which angered many British members of the Link. F.J.Mortimer, at the time Editor of the influential magazine "Amateur Photographer", organised at its offices a "Salon des RefusĂŠs" of pictures not admitted to the Salon. Meanwhile the British members of the Link, being in the majority, changed the rules for the following year's exhibition, this leading to the resignation from the Brotherhood of several influential Americans including Stieglitz and Clarence White. The success of Mortimer's exhibition, together with internal strife within the Brotherhood after these Americans had resigned, led to the Linked Ring being dissolved. In its place came the London Salon, their first exhibition being held in 1910. The Salon continues to this day, and its original interest, with photography as art, and to "encourage that class of photographic work where there is distinct evidence of artistic feeling and execution" remains the same. However, membership is by invitation only, and this exclusivity has resulted in many exceptional photographers who would sympathise with the aim of the organization ignoring it, considering the movement to have become somewhat pretentious.


(The picture, reproduced from Amateur Photographer, shows the Salon's exhibition hall in 1902)

Š Robert Leggat, 2002.

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LIGHTING In the early days of photography the only source of light was, of course, the sun, so most photography depended upon long days and good weather. It is said that Rejlander used a cat as a primitive exposure meter: placing the cat where the sitter should be, he judged by looking at its eyes whether it was worth taking any photographs or whether his sitter should go home and wait for better times! The nearer to the birth of photography, the greater the amount of lighting needed, as the first chemical emulsions were very insensitive. The first artificial light photography dates back as far as 1839, when L. Ibbetson used oxy-hydrogen light (also known as limelight) when photographing microscopic objects; he made a daguerreotype in five minutes which, he claimed, would have taken twenty-five minutes in normal daylight. Other possibilities were explored. Nadar, for example, photographed the sewers in Paris, using batteryoperated lighting. Later arc-lamps were introduced, but it was not until 1877 that the first studio lit by electric light was opened by Van der Weyde, who had a studio in Regent Street. Powered by a gasdriven dynamo, the light was sufficient to permit exposures of some 2 to 3 seconds for a carte-devisite. Soon a number of studios started using arc lighting. One advert (by Arthur Langton, working in Belgravia, London), boldly proclaims: "My electric light installation is perhaps the more powerful in London. Photographs superior to daylight, Pictures can now be taken in any weather and at any time." More from Arthur Langton's advertisement: CAUTION "Many photographers advertise 'portrits taken by electric light' but 9 out of 10 do not possess an electric light, owing to its costlinss they use an inferior and nasty substitute... a pyrotechnic powder which gives off poisonos fumes." (His spelling, by the way!) In June 1850 an experiment conducted by Fox Talbot, probably using static electricity stored in Leyden jars, was conducted at the Royal Society: a page of The Times was fastened on to a wheel, which then revolved rapidly. Writing about this the following year Fox Talbot stated: "From this experiment the conclusion...is that it is within our power to obtain pictures of all moving objects....providing we have the means of sufficiently illuminating them with a sudden electric flash." The object then had been to arrest fast action. A few years later William Crookes, editor of the Photographic News (October 1859) was responding to a query put to him on how to light some caves: "A...brilliant light...can be obtained by burning....magnesium in oxygen. A piece of magnesium wire held by one end in the hand, may be lighted at the other extremity by holding it to a candle... It then burns away of its own accord evolving a light insupportably brilliant to the unprotected eye...." That same year Professor Robert Bunsen (of Bunsen burner fame) was also advocating the use of magnesium. The first portrait using magnesium was taken by Alfred Brothers of Manchester (22 February 1864); some of the results of his experiments may be found in the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology. It was however very expensive at that time and did not come into general use until there was a dramatic fall in the cost of magnesium a decade later. This, coupled with the introduction of dry plates in the 80s soon led to the introduction of magnesium flashlamps. They all used the same principle: a small amount of this powder would be blown, using a small rubber pump, through a spirit flame, producing a bright flash lasting about 1/15s. It also produced much smoke and ash!


Then in the late 1880s it was discovered that magnesium powder, if mixed with an oxidising agent such as potassium chlorate, would ignite with very little persuasion. This led to the introduction of flash powder. It would be spread on a metal dish the flash powder would be set of by percussion sparks from a flint wheel, electrical fuse or just by applying a taper. However the explosive flashpowder could be quite dangerous if misused. This was not really superseded until the invention of the flashbulb in the late 1920s. Early flash photography was not synchronised. This meant that one had to put a camera on a tripod, open the shutter, trigger the flash, and close the shutter again - a technique known as open flash. Certainly early flash photography could be a hazardous business. It is said, for example, that Riis, working during this period, twice managed to set the places he was photographing on fire! In fact, the "open flash" technique, with flash powder, was still being used by some photographers until the 1950s. This was particularly so when, for example, a large building was being photographed; with someone operating the shutter for multiple exposures, it was possible to use the flash at different places, to provide more even illumination. By varying the amount of grammes of flash-powder, the distance covered could also be varied. To give some idea, using a panchromatic film of about 25ASA and open flash technique, at f8, a measure of 0.1 grammes of flash would permit the flash-subject idstance to be about 8 feet, whilst 2.0 grammes would permit an exposure 30 feet away. The earliest known flash bulb was described in 1883. It consisted of a two pint stoppered bottle which had white paper stuck on it to act as a reflector. To set the flash off, a spiral of ten or so inches of magnesium on a wire skewer was prelighted and plunged into the oxygen. It was not to be until 1927 that the simple flash-bulb was to appear, and 1931 when Harold Egerton produced the first electronic flash tube.

I am indebted to the late Arthur Gill, FRPS, a leading member of the Royal Photographic Society's Historical Group, for much of this information. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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PHOTO-SECESSION movement Towards the end of the century there was a growing dissatisfaction with the photographic establishment in England and in America. In England this led to a mass of resignations from the Photographic Society, and the formation of a group known as the Linked Ring, whilst in America, in 1902, an avant-garde group of photographers, led by Stieglitz, also sought to break away from the orthodox approach to photography, and from what they considered was the stale work of fellow- photographers. The American group came to be known as the Photo-Secession, the name Secession coming from groups of artists in Austria and Germany who had broken away from the academic establishment. Their rejection of establishment photography was aptly summarised in "Photograms of the year" for 1900: "That wealth of trivial detail which was admired in photography's early days and which is still loved by the great general public.... has gone out of fashion with advanced workers on both sides of the Atlantic." "Amateur Photographer", April 10, 1902, published an acount of this movement as follows: Amongst the more advanced pictorial workers in America a definite movement has now taken place; comparable in some respects with the Link Ring movement in this country of ten years or more ago, and at the invitation of the National Arts Club of New York, an Exhibition of Photography is being held by contributors who now for the first time come before the public as an organised body; under the name of the Photo-Secessionists, the main idea of which is to bring together in America sympathetic spirits, whether active photographers or simply those interested in the movement. The Exhibition is in many respects unique, consisting as it does of “ picked ” prints only, and representing only the very best work ever done in America. This American movement is...an attempt... to produce pictures by means of photography. Pictures, that is to say, which shall stand the test of criticism; that one would apply to a picture in any other medium; that shall be satisfactory in composition, colour quality, tone and lighting; that shall have esthetic charm and shall involve some expression of the personal feeling of the photographer. The photographers who profess these high artistic aims and scrupulously live up to their principles and have the ability to practise them, are necessarily few in number, though steadily increasing; nor are they engaged in scholastic discussions as to whether photography can be reckoned among the fine arts, for they leave such theorising to the choppers of academic logic. It is not with phraseology they are concerned, but with facts. ‘ Here is a print,’ they say in effect; ‘ has it any of the qualities that you find in a black and white; does it give you anything of the pleasurable feeling that you experience before a picture in some other medium? If not, we try again; but if, on the other hand, it does, then at least to the extent in which this print has affected you, pray acknowledge that there may be possibility of artistic expression in a pictorial photograph. How far the camera is responsible for the result or how far our own modification of its record, we venture to say is not the question; the sole point, as between you and ourselves, being whether our prints have aesthetic qualities and will stand the test of the kind of criticism that you apply to other pictures." Characteristic of the photography of this new movement was the employment of special printing processes (for example gum bichromate), and of artwork which lessened the detail on the finished print. The movement was not without its critics. Sadakihi Hartmann reacted strongly to the idea of manipulating photographs, and decried those who strove hard to make their pictures seem as if they were not photographs at all. In American Amateur Photographer (1904) he wrote: "We expect an etching to look like an etching, and a lithograph to look like a lithograph, why should not then a photographic print look like a photographic print?" It was not that he objected to retouching or "dodging": "'And what do I call straight photography,' (one might) say, 'can you define it?' Well, that's easy enough. Rely on your camera, on your eye, on your good taste and your knowledge of composition, consider every fluctuation of color, light and shade, study lines and values and space division, patiently wait until the scene or object of your pictured vision reveals itself in its supremest moment of beauty, in short, compose the picture which you intend to take so well that the negative will be absolutely perfect and in need of no... manipulation." From November 1905 the group laid on exhibitions of work at "The Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession" at 291 Fifth Avenue, New York, which came to be known simply as "291." The group lasted about ten years, though their influential and luxuriously printed journal called Camera Work continued publication for some years after. Notable members included Edward Steichen, Clarence White, Gertrude Kasebier, and Alvin Langdon Coburn.

© Robert Leggat, 1997. Last updated undefined


SOCIAL REFORM, Photography for Very early in the days of photography this medium began to be used as a means of promoting social reform. Richard Beard photographed street scenes to illustrate a major project on the poor in London; unfortunately these are no longer in existence. In a similar vein John Thomson illustrated "Street Life in London" (1877); other pioneers were Thomas Annan, a Scot, who portrayed the slums of Glasgow, and Paul Martin. Jacob Riis, a journalist, photographed the awful conditions in the slums of New York, whilst Lewis Hine, towards the end of the century, was involved in a campaign to change child-labour laws in the USA.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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TRAVEL photography To appreciate the impact that photography made upon Victorian life one needs to remind oneself what little opportunity there was for any but the rich to visit other lands. Consequently, until photography was used, the majority of people would have needed to rely on the accuracy and integrity of explorers. Photography at last made it possible for a much larger proportion of people to see for themselves pictures of exotic lands afar and thus at least enjoy a vicarious experience; it also gave them an opportunity to realise how incorrect some reports had been. The invention of photography also coincided with the development of steam boats and the railways. Claudet waxed lyrical on the new horizons opened up as a result of the work of travel photographers: "By our fireside we have the advantage of examining (the pictures) without being exposed to the fatigue...and risks of the daring and enterprising artists who, for our gratification and instruction, have traversed lands and seas, crossed rivers and valleys, ascended rocks and mountains with their heavy photographic baggage..." One needs perhaps to appreciate how hard life as a travel photographer could be. Because the processing had to be done quickly after exposure, photographers on location needed to take away with them an enormous amount of equipment - boxes of plates, bottles galore, and of course the camera. These were the days before enlargers had been introduced, so large cameras, some producing plates size 12" by 16" (30cm by 40cm) had to be transported - and they were pretty heavy. The following, a report on the exploration of the Grand Canyon in 1871, gives us a flavour: "The camera in its strong box was a heavy load to carry up the rocks, but it was nothing to the chemical and plate- holder box, which in turn was a featherweight compared with the imitation hand organ which served for a darkroom...." Some did the journey, returning without any pictures at all... "The silver bath had got out of order, and the horse bearing the camera fell off a cliff and landed on top of the camera..." In this connection, though he was a war photographer rather than a travel one, it is worth seeing what Roger Fenton had to cope with when he worked at his photographs on location. One of the very earliest pioneers was the Rev. George Bridges, who had been taught photography by one of Fox Talbot's assistants, and by 1852 he had produced some 1,500 paper negatives of scenes in the Mediterranean and Egypt. The major pioneers in travel photography include Maxime Du Camp, Francis Frith, and Francis Bedford, all of whom took photographs in the Middle East. In America John C. Fremont was the first explorer to attempt to make a photographic document of his travels, but on his first attempt in 1842 he failed to get any photographic results. A Baltimore daguerreotypist, Solomon Nunes Carvalho, was also a pioneer. Interestingly, calotypes continued to be used by some travel photographers, because they were less


of an ordeal than collodion. After all, calotypes, for all their imperfections, permitted the photographer to prepare paper negatives at home, expose on location, and then develop upon returning home. Diamond, for example, used the calotype process for some of his travel photographs, though once at home he reverted to collodion for portraiture and for his medical photography. Other travel photographers include Samuel Bourne, who took particularly striking pictures of Indian architecture, often under very trying conditions, whilst Charles Clifford took some excellent pictures of Spanish architecture. Another photographer who, though sporting an unforgettable name, is almost unknown, is Linnaeus Tripe, who made many interesting photographs of Burma. Also worthy of mention are William Young who photographed in East Africa, Herbert Ponting who covered Captain Scott's expedition, and Lord Carnarvon, who photographed the tomb of Tutankhamen. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Unusual Equipment, applications and stories. In addition to the conventional cameras which began to be produced from the 1860s, there were some which were, to say the least, novel: Frederick Boissonas, a German, used a large camera to photograph close-ups of the Acropolis in Athens, in 1913.

The largest camera in the world. In 1900 the Mammoth camera was used to photograph trains in America. Weighing 600 Kg., it took fifteen men to operate the brute. George R Lawrence set it up and pointed at a brand-new train standing in the distance. The Alton Limited was the pride of the Chicago & Alton Railway Lawrence had been asked to make the largest photograph possible of it, sparing no expense. It reputedly cost five thousand dollars to build this camera - a huge sum in the 1900s. The picture size was 4.5 x 8 feet. Whether the prints still exist, or how the development took place, I have as yet been unable to ascertain!

Edmond Bloch, from Paris, designed a Photo-Cravate in 1890; this was operated using a pneumatic bulb in the hand.

Several walking canes (e.g. the Ben Akiba) had small cameras inserted into their handles. Cameras disguised as binoculars were also produced. On show in the RPS Museum is Nicour's Photobinocular, dated 1867. The left-hand side contained the camera, the right the viewfinder.

Samuel McKellen patented a detective camera, shaped like an attache case.


Cameras were disguised as parcels, or books. The Taschenbuck, shaped like a book, became quite popular, selling for ÂŁ7 10s (ÂŁ7.50) Famous was Stirn's Detective camera, made from 1886, and costing less than two pounds. This was worn under a waistcoat, with the lens protruding through a button-hole. The Ticka camera, made from 1906, was shaped like a large pocket watch There were even cameras designed to look like a pistol. One, dated 1862, was the Thompson Revolver. It was fitted with an f2 Petzval design, which permitetd instantaneous explosures in good light. Another example was Skaife's "Pistolgraph." He once aimed this at Queen Victoria, and was immediately surrounded by the police, and he was forced to open the pistol to satisfy the police that this was not an assassination attempt. There were other unusual applications. One camera was mounted on a kite, another on a rocket, whilst a Dr. Neubronner perfected a camera to be mounted on a homing pigeon. Photographers using the Collodion process had a particular difficulty when on location, as the sensitising, exposure and development had to be carried out whilst the plate was still wet. Some used tents as makeshift darkrooms, but a more up-market darkroom was a converted hansom cab, such as one used by Thomas Annan. An example of a converted perambulator is described in the "Photographic News" for 29 April 1859. Perhaps the most unusual method of enlargement was the use of Cristoid film, in use at the turn of the century. This being all gelatin, it swelled when it was developed, and therefore produced a larger photograph without the need for enlargement. It is claimed that Alvin Langdon Coburn experimented with this film, his "ten by eights" finishing up as twelve by tens! In 1856 the King of Naples forbade the practice of photography in his dominions. The reasons are not given, but it is possible that he or his subjects associated it with the evil eye! "Watch the birdie!" The Museum at George Eastman House displays a little brass bird over a camera. The legend reads: "Birdie, 1870s. Nineteenth-century photographers used many devices to try to get the attention of their subjects. This birdie not only tweeted, but also fluttered its tail when the photographer squeezed the air bulb attached to the slender pipe. The phrase 'watch the birdie' originated with this item." (1) (1) I am grateful to Claudio Simone, of George Eastman House, for this information.

The following appeared in the St Catherine's Journal, Ontario, 10/9/1859: "An Irishman in Oswego [New York] who had been two or three times, unsuccessfully, to an artist to take a dagguerreotype (sic) of his dead child, actually stopped the funeral procession, last Saturday, and taking the coffin up into the daguerrean gallery, insisted that the likeness should be taken. It was done, and the procession moved on, after standing some time in the street."


A photograph taken in 1842 has sold for a world record £565,250 at auction. The photograph of the Temple of Jupiter at the Acropolis in Athens was taken in 1842 by the French artist and historian, Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. It was expected to fetch up to £120,000 but attracted rival telephone bids that pushed the price up during the auction at Christie's in London. The image, known as a Daguerreotype after the inventor, was taken using an early photographic process with the image made on a light-sensitive silver-coated metallic plate. The record sale was among 86 photographs taken by Girault de Prangey, which raised £3.7 million. They featured some of the earliest surviving photographs of Greece and the Middle East, which the artist photographed on his travels.

Story filed: 16:49 Thursday 22nd May 2003

© Robert Leggat, 2003.

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WAR, photography of An early example of documentary photography is the record of war, which brought home to people some grim realities which shattered their fantasies. Photographers of note include James Robertson, who covered the siege of Sebastopol, and Roger Fenton, who covered the Crimean war, though the latter is more adequately described as a public relations exercise for the government of the day. Even as far back as 1839 the use of photography in this area was being talked about. Amongst the many uses of the Daguerreotype, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac argued, was its capacity to render a landscape precisely. He cited one particular kind of landscape to make his point: ... as three or four minutes are sufficient for execution, a field of battle, with its successive phases, can be drawn with a degree of perfection that could be obtained by no other means. So from the beginning of photography, it was being seen as a means of depicting war scenes. The American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing in 1863 stated: `It is well enough for some Baron Gros or Horace Vernet to please an imperial master with fanciful portraits.... (but) war and battles should have truth for their delineator', and photography would be more suitable for this. One of the great names is that of Mathew Brady who, with a large team of photographers, covered the American Civil War. One member of his team was Timothy O'Sullivan,whose picture "Harvest of Death", taken at Gettysburg on 4th July 1863 ranks amongst the most famous of early historical photographs. To some extent it is difficult to avoid seeing pictures showing the ravages of war; indeed to some extent we have become almost immune to it. To many people of the time, however, war would be something that was conducted in far-off lands, and therefore would conjure up pictures of heroism and romanticism. Writing in the Atlanta Monthly magazine, Oliver Wendell Holmes showed how photography injected a feeling of grim reality into the situation, as he surveyed pictures taken by Brady's team: "Let him who wishes to know what war is look at this series of illustrations. These wrecks of manhood thrown together in careless heaps or ranged in ghastly rows for burial were alive but yesterday... Many people would not look through this series. Many, having seen it and dreamed of its horrors, would lock it up..that it might not thrill or revolt those whose souls sickens at such sights. It was so nearly like visiting the battlefield...that all the emotions excited by the actual sight..came back to us. (It) gives us....some conception of what a repulsive, brutal, sickening, hideous thing it is, this dashing together of two frantic mobs to which we give the name of armies..." What effect might this have upon those who saw the photographs? Artists could romanticise the event; photographs told the truth (Well, did they?! Not necessarily!) One beneficial effect might have been to become more aware of the ordinary soldier, and his plight. In 1855 a telling cartoon in Punch, a British journal, depicted two soldiers in rags. The caption underneath the cartoon reads: "Well Jack! Here's good news from Home. We're to have a Medal." That's very kind. Maybe one of these days we'll have a coat to stick it on?"


Whilst touching upon "true" photographs, there were many "war" photographs whose takers never went near any scene of conflict. These include Nadar in France, Cundall and Howlett, whose "Crimean Braves" photographs were finished before the troops set sail! There was also a certain amount of embellishment that seems to have been readily accepted in those days. See Gardner Relatively unknown is John Maccosh, an army surgeon who may have the distinction of being Britain's first war photographer. He began to take photographs in 1844, whilst stationed in the Himalayas, and took photographs during a Sikh War (1848) and the second Burma war (1852) In the American Civil War a balloon was used to find the enemy's positions, notably for reconnaissance during the siege of Richmond, Virginia: on 1st June 1862 the balloonists climbed to 1,300 feet, and with the aid of telegraphy were able to report the exact position and movement of the enemy. An unusual application of photography in war was the use of carrier pigeons during the siege of Paris, when minute photographed messages were attached to their tails. (See Micro photography.) Even at the turn of the century the forces were ambivalent about war photography. IN an article in Amateur Photographer (Jan 4 1901) H. C. Shelley suggests "You have to find out your general before beginning operations." And referring to his attempts to photograph Sir Redvers Buller: "...the general went up to the captain's bridge to watch the oncoming boat. I crept after him, camera in hand, and in a flash the exposure was made. But he heard the click of the shutter and, turning round, and grasping the situation at a glance, he grimly threatened to have me placed in irons if I repeated the operation." Many war photographs are held in the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. Š Robert Leggat, 2005.

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Significant PEOPLE in the early history of Photography (A-D) ●

Adamson, Robert ●

Annan, James Craig ●

Annan, Thomas ●

Anderson, Tempest ●

Arago, Francois ●

Archer, Frederick Scott ●

Atget, Eugene ●

Atkins, Anna ●

Barnack, Oskar ●

Barnardo, Thomas ●

Bayard, Hippolyte ●

Beard, Richard ●

Beato, Felice ●

Bedford, Francis Bennett, Henry Hamilton

Bisson, Louis and Auguste ●

Blanchard, Valentine ●

Blanquart-Evrard, Louis Desiree ●

Bourne, Samuel ●

Brady, Mathew ●

Brewster, David ●

Cameron, Julia Margaret ●

Carnarvon, Lord ●

Carroll, Lewis ●

Claudet, Antoine


Clifford, Charles ●

Coburn, Alvin Langdon ●

Cundall, Joseph ●

Daguerre, Louis ●

Dancer, John Benjamin ●

Davidson, George ●

Davy, Humphry ●

Day, Fred Holland ●

Delamotte, Philip Henry ●

Delaroche, Paul ●

De la Rue, Warren ●

De Meyer, Baron Gayne ●

Demachy, Leon Robert ●

Diamond, Hugh Welch ●

Disdéri, Andre Adolphe ●

Dixon, Henry ●

Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge ●

Draper, John William ●

Duboscq, Louis Jules ●

Du Camp, Maxime ●

Du Hauron, Louis Ducas


ANNAN, James Craig b. 8 March 1864; d. 5 June 1946 The son of the Scottish photographer Thomas Annan, he is particularly remembered as an expert in photogravure. His re-photographing of Hill and Adamson's pictures revived interest in the latter. He was made a member of the Linked Ring in 1894, and his work was published in a number of editions of Camera Work, which describes him as "one of the foremost artists in photography." The Royal Photographic Society has some sixty photographs, mostly photogravures, which were acquired from the photographer and others from the 1920s. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ANNAN, Thomas b.1829; d.1887 Annan was a Scottish portrait photographer who started practising in 1857. He bought a hansom cab, converting it into a darkroom so that he would go on location photographing buildings and art treasures. He is remembered for his photographs of the explorer Sir David Livingstone (1864) and other contemporaries. What is noticeable is the absence of "props" and stereotyped poses which were in vogue at the time. Annan also took some fine pictures of the slum areas of Glasgow for the Glasgow Improvement Trust; they are not purely record photographs but portray vividly the people in those areas. When he died, his sons James Craig Annan and John ran the business.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ANDERSON, Tempest b. 1846; d. 26 Aug 1913 Anderson was an Opthalmic surgeon whose spare time interests included photography. He made his own camera equipment, and enthusiastically promoted the use of photography in geology. Whilst working as a lecturer on volcanoes, he took many photographs of glaciers and mountains, some of which gained awards. One of his concerns, evident in his work, was for human suffering arising from volcanic and other disasters. Some of his work is stored in the Yorkshire Museum. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ARAGO, Francois b. 16 February 1786; d. 2 October 1853 Arago was a French physicist and Director of the Paris Observatory, who invented a number of optical instruments. He was secretary of the Academy of Sciences, and was also an influential politician, and it was he who was instrumental in ensuring publicity and funding for Daguerre in 1839. Pleading on Daguerre's behalf, he pointed out the advantages of photography overseas: "To copy the millions and millions of hieroglyhics which entirely cover the great monuments at Thebes, Memphis and Carnac, etc. would require scores of years and legions of artists; whereas with the daguerreotype a single man would suffice to bring this vast labour to a happy conclusion." The result was that ten thousand francs were awarded for the discovery, four thousand going to the son of NiĂŠpce. However, in promoting Daguerre's work, he also unfairly persuaded Hippolyte Bayard, who had invented a process before Daguerre, to keep quiet about his discovery, and therefore robbed him of the accolade he so deserved.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ATGET, Eugene b. 12 February 1857; d. 4 August 1927 Eugene Atget studied acting and played with a theatre group in the suburbs of Paris, but had to abandon this in 1887 because of a recurrent throat infection. The following year he began to take photographs. Though he earned his living by taking photographs, he never described himself as a photographer, preferring "author-producer." He produced a documentary of the architecture and people of Paris, many of his pictures having been taken in areas shortly to be demolished. During the thirty years he worked, developed an extensive filing system for his many negatives and prints, and his legacy amounts to several thousand images. His street photographs were not very different from that of his contemporary Paul Martin, but he also revealed a remarkable capacity for "seeing" pictures. Whereas lesser mortals might take very similar photographs of well-known landmarks, one could picture Atget's attention being drawn by what they would regard as mundane situations. He would photograph the same subject from different viewpoints and at different times, demonstrating that two pictures of one subject can have very different meanings and appeal. Eugene Atget was a largely unknown character round which a number of myths have emerged: he is pictured as a tramp-like character wandering around with his camera, or a naive photographer who did not understand how much his work would command. He was certainly a very much underrated photographer, unknown during his lifetime, dying in total obscurity, but now acknowledged as one of the most outstanding of artists. If he was not a surrealist himself, he certainly influenced this movement. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ATKINS, Anna b.16 Mar 1799; d. 9 Jun 1871 Anna Atkins was a botanist, and one of the earliest woman photographers. In 1841 she came into contact with Fox Talbot, one of her father's friends. As a botanist, she quickly saw the potential of using photography to record specimens. Her father was an eminent scientist who had various senior posts at the newly created British Museum; many of Anna's scientifically accurate drawings are in the British Museum. Anna lived in a time when women were not encouraged to become involved in science. Botany, however, was a more acceptable area. She chose the Cyanotype process for her work - an appropriate choice, because it was comparatively inexpensive and easy to work with, and its only disadvantage, a blue image, was immaterial. This process, though she was not to know it at the time, was far more permanent than other processes, and much of her work still survives now. In October 1843 Anna Atkins became the first person to print and publish a book, photographically illustrated with 424 pictures. Called "British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions", this book which was issued in several parts over a period of ten years. Her book, therefore, even precedes Fox Talbot's "Pencil of Nature." Though she had a camera, she relied entirely on photograms (known, at the time, as Shadowgraphs). A discovery of one of the very few copies of her book attracted considerable interest in June 1996, when it was put up for auction.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BARNACK, Oscar b. 1 Nov, 1879; d. 16 Jan, 1936 Born in Germany, Barnack was the designer of the first 35mm. miniature camera available commercially. He joined the Leitz optical company in 1911, and had actually developed a prototype of the Leica two years later, but development was seriously arrested by the first World War and its aftermath. The 35mm film was used (and is still laregly used) for movie film, and the standard 24 x 36mm format was created by simply doubling the size of the negative and holding it sideways relative to movie cameras. The development of the Leica camera was that it enabled pictorial journalism to develop. With wide aperture lenses, it permitted one to take exposures indoors by available light, and its size enabled one to take candid portraits. One of those who took advantage of this versatility was Erich Salomon, famous for his candid pictures of celebrities, often taken in situations where cameras were not permitted. Barnack was also partly responsible for the development of the Leitz Elmar lens.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BARNARDO, Thomas b. 4 July 1845; d. 19 September 1905 Thomas Barnardo's name does not often feature amongst the names of early photographers, but perhaps deserves to. The founder of the famous Dr. Barnardo's Homes, in 1870 he employed a photographer to make a photographic record of every child admitted. The photographs were kept in albums and case-history sheets. There are over fifty thousand of these. He then developed an interesting collection of "then and now" pictures, printed on a carte-de-visite, of the boys at the homes; these then went on sale to raise money, and also proved to be effective publicity. Then a rival accused him of deception: "Barnardo's method is to take the children as they are supposed to enter the Home, and then after they have been in the Home for some time. He...tears their clothes so as to make them appear worse than they really are...they are also taken in purely fictional poses..." Barnardo sued, but he was ruled guilty of "artistic fiction" in respect of one photograph, which somewhat damaged his reputation. The arbitrators, pronouncing their verdict (1877), stated: "This use of artistic fiction to represent actual facts is, in our opinion, not only morally wrong as thus employed, but might, in the absence of a very strict control grow into a system of deception dangerous to the cause on behalf of which it is practised. Nor has evidence been wanting in this inquiry, that in one or two cases it has been applied to an extent that we....strongly reprobate." Barnardo conceded that the photographs might appear false, but strongly defended this on the grounds that the pictures which caused the problem were not intended to represent the actual boy or girl in the picture, but rather a class of children of whom many had been rescued. In addition, most of the pictures were kept for internal use, only a few being used for publicity and fund-raising. The evidence would suggest that Barnardo, a man of impeccable integrity, was not deliberately trying to fake a situation, but that was the way that it was read. Subsequent photographs which were taken, straight "mug-shots", tell their story in just as dramatic a manner as did the contrived pictures.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BAYARD, Hippolyte b. 20 January 1807; d.1887 Bayard, a Civil Servant, was one of the earliest of photographers. His invention of photography actually preceded that of Daguerre, for on 24 June 1839 he displayed some thirty of his photographs, and thus at least goes into the record books as being the first person to hold a photographic exhibition. However Francois Arago (a friend of Daguerre and who was seeking to promote his invention) persuaded him to postpone publishing details of his work. When Bayard eventually gave details of the process to the French Academy of Sciences on 24 February 1840, he had lost the opportunity to be regarded as the inventor of photography. As some recompense he was given some money to buy better equipment, but in no way did this atone for the injustice caused him. Bayard's somewhat surreal self-portrait (October 1840), depicting him as a drowned man, is by way of protest against this injustice of having been pipped at the post because he had kept quiet about his invention. It is in fact the first known example of the use of photography for propaganda purposes, and also of a faked picture! The comment reads:

"The corpse which you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process that has just been shown to you. As far as I know this indefatigable experimenter has been occupied for about three years with his discovery. The Government which has been only too generous to Monsieur Daguerre, has said it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard, and the poor wretch has drowned himself. Oh the vagaries of human life....!" ... He has been at the morgue for several days, and no-one has recognized or claimed him." He continues: "Ladies and gentlemen, you'd better pass along for fear of offending your sense of smell, for as you can observe, the face and hands of the gentleman are beginning to decay." (Obviously sun-tan, but it contributed to this bizarre photograph! Fortunately he did not end his own life, and continued to take photographs. As a photographer his work actually shows more sensitivity and accomplishment than either Fox Talbot or Daguerre. He was the first to suggest that separate negatives of clouds be used to print in the skies, and thus paved the way for a new technique to become known as Combination Printing.


Most of Bayard's works are at the Societe Francaise de Photographie, of which he was a founder member.

Š Robert Leggat, 2002.

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BEARD, Richard b. 1801; d. 1885 Richard Beard was Britain's first portrait photographer. A coal merchant for a number of years, he became interested in photography from the moment it was announced. An entrepreneur rather than a photographer, he hired the right people, and having concluded that there might be considerable potential in daguerreotypes, he purchased the patent from Daguerre for £150 a year in 1841, and on 23 March that year the first professional portrait studio in England was officially opened. This studio was on the roof of the Polytechnic Institution in Regent Street, London, (now the University of Westminster) and John Goddard, a science lecturer, was his operator. The Times (24 March 1841) reporting on the event, gave a description of the studio: "The appartment (sic) appropriated for the magical process - for so it may be termed is....on the highest story (sic) of the institution. From the roof, which is constructed of blue glass of about a quarter of an inch thick, a very powerful light is obtained, and it is so ingeniously contrived as to revolve with the sun. In a portion of the room, nearly in the centre, an elevated seat is placed, on which the party whose likeness is to be taken sits with his head reclining backwards. In this position the sitter is told to look into a glass box, in an opposite direction, about five feet from him, in which is placed the metallic plate to be impressed with the portrait. Having done so for a few seconds, he descends, and in a few minutes afterwards a faithful likeness is presented to him. The likenesses which we saw were admirable, and closely true to nature, beauties and deformities being alike exhibited..." Beard imported and secured the rights to a camera designed in America by Alexander Wolcott which had a concave mirror in place of a lens, which helped to increase the light on the plate. However, two years later he discarded this and was using the fast Petzval lens. At that time the portrait measuring 1 1/2" x 2" (this size was determined by the Wolcott camera) would cost the sitter between one and four guineas; exposure would be from three seconds to as much as five minutes depending upon the weather. There was much money to be made from portraits. Beard's price list in 1845 quotes one guinea (£1.05) for a "bust", yielding a profit of 18 shillings (90 pence), two guineas (£2.10) for a full-length portrait, profit 34 shillings (£1.70) Beard used to advise those who sat for portraits to "avoid white as much as possible.... the best kind of dress to wear on such occasions is.. any material..upon which there is a play of light and shade." And in his studio it was not "say cheese" but "say prunes"! Beard's business was very successful, and at one stage he was reputed to be earning £125 a day. As his income became common knowledge many people began to use the daguerreotype process without paying any licence fee. This led to a number of lengthy lawsuits (one lasting over five years) and in June 1850 Beard became bankrupt. However, records seem to indicate that he continued to trade, and that seven years later he handed his business on to his son Richard Beard Junior. However, the relinquishment of the Talboy type patents and the unpatented Scott Archer process virtually sounded the death knell of the daguerreotype, and the premises were vacated in 1854. Though in his time Beard was making huge profits, it was his rival Claudet who gained Royal


recognition. Postscript: Beard and Claudet compared Š Robert Leggat, 2002.

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BEATO, Felice b. 1825; d. 1907 Beato was a Venetian photographer who teamed up with James Robertson and photographed scenes from the Middle East, as well as the some war photographs. He covered the Opium War (1870), and later he went to Japan and built up a fine collection of records of Japanese customs and people, as well as some stunning landscape pictures.

The RPS has about 120 albumen pictures in two albums, and additional loose prints.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BEDFORD, Francis b. 1816; d. 15 May 1894

Francis Bedford is known for some outstanding architectural photographs, some of which were for use with a stereoscope. In 1862 Queen Victoria appointed Bedford to tour the Middle East with the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), after which over one hundred and seventy of his photographs were published. He also produced some stereoscopes and appears to have been commissioned to produce photographs for the company established by Francis Frith. Bedford was one of the founders and a Vice-President, for two years, of the Photographic Society, which came into being in 1853. Picture, taken in Exmouth, 1864.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BENNETT, Henry Hamilton b. Jan 15, 1843, d. Jan 1, 1908 Bennett was a noted landscape photographer, born in Canada. A carpenter by trade, this activity was cut short following a serious accidental discharge of his own gun during the Civil War. In 1865, he turned his hand towards photography, buying a tintype portait studio. He developed a considerable interest in stereo photography, producing a stereo catalogue in the early eighties. Bennett was also an inventor of several items that enhanced photography, in particular an instantaneous shutter which enabled him to freeze action. The picture shows part of one of his famous shots: "Leaping the Chasm at Stand Rock" - a quite remarkable photograph for the times.

His "Story of Raftsmen's Life on the Wisconsin River" was published in 1886, and made the Winsconsin Dells a famous tourist area. It is a pity that Bennett's work does not feature much in histories of photography. He deserved better. More about this outstanding photographer can be found at the H.H.Bennett Studio and History Centre.

Š Robert Leggat, 2004.


BISSON Louis and Auguste Louis-Auguste: b. 1814; d. 1876 Auguste-Rosalie: b. 1826; d. 1900 Louis Bisson opened up a photographic studio in the early 1841, and soon after, his brother Auguste entered into partnership with him. Their studio was in the Madeleine in Paris, and they became famous as the Bisson Brothers. In 1860 they were invited to accompany Napoleon as he visited the province of Savoy. These two brothers produced some superb images of the scenery. Encouraged by the response to his work, the following year Auguste ascended Mount Blanc, taking with him twenty-five porters to carry his equipment. The quality of the pictures, made almost entirely using the Collodion process, was remarkable, as was the size of the negatives - sometimes up to 30cm x 40cm! The Bisson brothers only practised for some four years. By this time the Carte-de-visite era was in full swing, and the brothers saw little point in reducing the finely detailed images to such a small size. Consequently, their business folded.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BLANCHARD, Valentine b. 1831; d. 4 Nov. 1901 Blanchard made numerous photographs of Paris and London. He used the slowness of the wet collodion process to good advantage, being the first to recognise that a blur, far from spoiling a picture, can add to the sense of movement. Some of his pictures were taken from the roof of a cab, and because the subjects were some distant away, one gains a general impression of the bustle of life, with little blur. A genial and enthusiastic teacher, he joined the Secession and joined the Linked Ring, exhibiting at the Salon until the last few years of his life.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BLANQUART-EVRARD, Louis Desiree b. 1802; d. April 1872 In 1850 Blanquart-Evrard introduced the Albumen paper print process, and from then onwards this became the main printing medium until the end of the century, when Gelatin-based papers superseded it. At this time the conventional method of printing was to use printing-out paper in the sun - a very slow process. Blanquart- Evrard's technique of developing prints instead of the conventional printing out process led to a much faster output of prints. In 1851 he opened an establishment for the mass production of photographic prints, producing photographs by Henri Le Secq, Charles Negre, and Maxime Du Camp amongst others. Together with Thomas Sutton, in 1856 he founded the magazine "Photographic Notes," a journal which continued for eleven years.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BOURNE, Samuel b. 1834; d. 24 Apr 1912 Samuel Bourne, a professional photographer from Nottingham, was an outstanding landscape worker of his time. He also made a number of expeditions, starting with a ten-week tour in the Himalayas, followed by other much longer ones. It is said that on one of his journeys he employed as many as fifty servants to carry the vast array of equipment, liquids and personal effects for the tour. He used the collodion process. Writing in the British Journal of Photography, 1864, he recorded the pain and pleasure of his work: "With scenery like this it is very difficult to deal with the camera: it is altogether too gigantic and stupendous to be brought within the limits imposed on photography...." "My anxiety to get views of some of these fine combinations of rocks and water often induced me to leave he regular track, and put myself and my instruments innthe greatest danger by attempting an abrupt descent to some spot below....to command a fine picture. Though this was only accomplished with immense difficulty, sundry bruises, and great personal fatigue under a scorching sun, I was in every instance rewarded, always returning with pictures which the more sontented gazer from above would scarcely believe obtainable. But this toiling is almost too much for me, and, I must confess, it at the time greatly outweighed the pleasure." In a later article he writes of the power of photography to change the way we look at things: "...it teaches the mind to see the beauty and power of such scenes as these... For my own part, I may say that before I commenced photography I did not see half the beauties in nature that I do now, and the glory and power of a precious landscape has often passed before me and left but a feeble impression on my untutored mind; but it will never be so again." He must have been a pretty hard task-master! In the British Journal of Photography (October 1866) he describes his reaction on discovering that there had been several loads abandoned by coolies: "This was getting serious, and I viewed vengeance against the rascals who had placed me in this difficulty.... Tking a stout stick in my hand I set out in search of them... I walked in... (one of the houses) ...and soon discovered my firneds hiding beneath a charpoy or bed, and dragging them forth made them feel the "quality" of my stock, amid ... cries and lamentations...." Bourne made well over three thousand negatives during his travels in the East. His work may be seen at the India Record Office, London, and at the Royal Photographic Society, Bath England.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997 .

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BRADY, Mathew b. 1823; d. Jan 15, 1896 Though Roger Fenton was the first to document war in photographs, Mathew Brady, who documented the American Civil War (1861-1865), was probably one of the greatest of photographic documentary photographers. In 1839 Brady met, and became a student to Samuel Morse. That same year he met Louis Daguerre and went back to the United States to capitalise upon the invention of the Daguerreotype, establishing what proved to be a highly successful Gallery. The New York Illustrated News for 26 March 1851 reads: "M.B. BRADY, Esq., the eminent daguerreotypist, has lately opened a new saloon for the purposes of his art, in one of the best buildings on Broadway, New York. On the occasion of the first opening, a large number of ladies and gentlemen, comprising many distinguished persons, were invited, and partook of Mr. Brady's hospitality at a splendid dinner. The saloon is one hundred and fifty feet long, finished and furnished in the most costly manner. Mr. Brady is one of the oldest daguerreotype artists in the country, and one of the most successful, too. He is the author of many valuable improvements connected with the art, his pictures having a world-wide fame for fidelity and elegance." In 1856 William Gardner , a Scot, joined him, and the company's success became even more marked. Brady himself did not take many of the photographs which bear his name; he had set himself up as a portrait photographer, and had equipped a number of photographers (twenty, it is said) with what were to become known as "What-is-it?" darkroom wagons to cover the War, with the ruling that his name, as employer, rather than the names of the photographers themselves, would appear on the photographs themselves. Another photographer in Brady's team was Timothy O'Sullivan, who worked for him until 1863.


The process Brady's team used was the collodion one, invented by Frederick Scott Archer. The limitations of equipment and materials prevented any action shots, but such people brought back some seven thousand pictures which well portrayed the realities of war. Perhaps the most famous of these is "Harvest of Death" photographed by O'Sullivan.

A comment attributed to Brady is "The camera is the eye of history." He clearly saw his mission as that of a photographic historian, and our knowledge of this important era of American history is the better for it. The New York Times, 20 October 1862 commented on the display of pictures taken at Antietam: "Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along the streets, he has done something very like it...." Perhaps they were too real and detailed. The editorial continued: "These pictures have a terrible distinctness. By the aid of the magnifying-glass, the very features of the slain may be distinguished. We would scarcely choose to be in the gallery, when one of the women bending over them should recognise a husband, son, or a brother in the still, lifeless lines of bodies, that lie ready for the gaping trenches." Though Brady's work was much admired at the time, he gained little in financial terms; tired of this long war, people did not want reminders of it and whereas Fenton had clearly taken his pictures with an eye to selling them, Brady's were honest - sometimes brutally so, and people no longer wanted his pictures. Brady had invested a fortune into this business, but faced bankruptcy. In 1875 Congress purchased his archive of photographs for $2,840 at public auction, and granted him $25,000, but this was not enough to cover his debts, and he died alone, an alcoholic, and penniless. "No one" he said " will ever know what I went through to secure those negatives. The world can never appreciate it. It changed the whole course of my life." Though financially his enterprise failed, Mathew Brady had a significant effect on the art of photography, demonstrating that war photographs need not necessarily be purely posed ones. His work represents the first instance of what one may call documentary photography.


From 1845 Brady had embarked upon an ambitious project to photograph many famous people of the time, and in 1850 published "A Gallery of Illustrious Americans. Among his portraits was one of Abraham Lincoln, which was reproduced and circulated during Lincoln's first Presidential campaign. Lincoln himself was to declare later: "Make no mistake, gentlemen, Brady made me President!" The majority of Brady's vast collection may be seen in the House of Congress in Washington.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999. Last updated undefined


CAMERON, Julia Margaret b. 11 June 1815; d. 26 January 1879 Julia Margaret Cameron was an English photographer known for her portraits of eminent people of the day, and for her romantic pictures which, despite their technical imperfections, stand the test of time.

Her involvement in photography came about as a result of the kindness of her eldest daughter. Julia Margaret, by this time was aged forty-nine, her children had grown up, and her husband was often abroad on business. As a result she suffered from loneliness, and her daughter, to make her life more fulfilling, bought her a camera. From this simple beginning a new hobby began, which was to turn into an obsession. The comments in her book give a delightful glimpse of this lady: "I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me, and at length the longing has been satisfied. Its difficulty enhanced the value of the pursuit. I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass..." "I turned my coal-house into my dark room, and a glazed fowl-house I had given to my children became my glass house! The hens were liberated, I hope and believe not eaten. The profit of my boys upon new laid eggs was stopped, and all hands and hearts sympathised in my new labour, since the society of hens and chickens was soon changed for that of poets, prophets, painters and lovely maidens...." As to the delight that her first successful portrait brought her...... "I took one child... appealing to her feelings and telling her of the waste of poor Mrs. Cameron's chemicals and strength if she moved. The appeal had its effect, and I now produced a picture which I called "My first success."


"I was in a transport of delight, I ran all over the house to search for gifts for the child. I felt as if she entirely had made the picture. I printed, toned, fixed and framed it, and presented it to her father that same day: size 11 by 9 inches." "Sweet, sunny haired little Annie! No later prize has effaced the memory of this joy....." It has to be said that Julia Margaret Cameron was not the best of technicians. Some of her negatives show uneven coating of collodion, and above all, dust particles. Many of her prints are faded. Indeed, a critical entry in the Photographic Journal commented: "Mrs. Cameron will do better when she has learned the proper use of her apparatus." Lewis Carroll's comments were in the same vein: "In the evening Mrs. Cameron and I had a mutual exhibition of photographs. Hers are all taken purposely out of focus - some are very picturesque - some merely hideous however, she talks of them as if they were triumphs of art." Nevertheless, Cameron had a tremendous capacity to visualise a picture, and her portraits show a measure of vitality which the work of many others of the time did not. Among her most famous portraits are those of Herschel and Tennyson. She was greatly appreciated abroad, and won a number of major prizes. No less a person than Victor Hugo, the poet, wrote "No one has ever captured the rays of the sun and used them as you have. I throw myself at your feet". She must also have been a tremendously magnetic personality; Benjamin Jowett wrote of her: "Perhaps she has a tendency to make the house shake the moment she enters, but in this dull world that is a very excusable fault". She was also influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite school, which sought to return to artistic practices of Europe in late Mediaeval times; a classic example is the delightful portrait of Alice Liddell (on whom the story of Alice in Wonderland is based), entitled "Alethea." Another is the "Kiss of Peace." Many of her photographs of women and children are undisguisedly sentimental, others are delightful and penetrating studies. Exposures lasting between one minute and as many as seven, the fact that the pictures show such lack of self consciousness may be largely due to her overpowering personality. We tend to remember her best pictures. Some, to put it mildly, were pretty awful. "Idylls of the King" , for example, has a very poor attempt at a moon on the top left, and cheesecloth to represent water, whilst "The Passing of Arthur" almost verges on the ridiculous! Looking beyond the banal, some remain as rather lovely pictures; an example is "Venus Chiding Cupid and Removing His Wings." One of photography's eccentrics, her work is still admired and greatly sought-after today. In her book "Annals of my Glass House", which was unfinished, she wrote of the distinguished people who faced her camera: "When I have such men before my camera my whole soul has endeavoured to do its duty towards them, in recording faithfully the greatness of the inner as well as the features of the outer man" The photographic press spoke harshly of her technical mastery of photography, or rather the lack of it; Thomas Sutton wrote of her work: "Admirable, expressive and vigorous, but dreadfully opposed to photographic conventions and proprieties" whilst The Photographic Journal for 15 February 1865 reads:


"Mrs. Cameron exhibits her series of out of focus portraits of celebrities. We must give this lady credit for daring originality but at the expense of all other photographic qualities." The Photographic News, 20 March 1868, reporting upon one of her exhibitions in London, reads: "There is, in many cases, much evidence of art feeling, especially in the light and shade, and composition... often being awkward. The subjects... such as Sir John Herschel, Henry Taylor, Holman Hunt, Alfred Tennyson and others - are full of interest in themselves, and are often noble in form and appearance, a circumstance which alone gives value to the exhibition. Not even the distinguished character of some of the heads serve, however, to redeem the result of wilfully imperfect photography from being altogether repulsive: one portrait of the Poet Laureate presents him in a guise which would be sufficient to convict him, if he were ever charged as a rogue and vagabond, before any bench of magistrates in the kingdom......." Her force of personality made her a formidable photographer, capable of bullying anyone, however famous, into submission. Sitting for her could be quite an ordeal. Tennyson once brought Longfellow to her studio, warning him: "Longfellow, you will have to do whatever she tells you. I shall return soon and see what is left of you." Commenting about a portrait of Wilfred Ward, she once wrote to a friend: "I counted four hundred and five hundred and got one good picture. Poor Wilfrid said it was torture to sit so long, that he was a martyr! I bid him be still and be thankful. I said, I am the martyr. Just try the taking instead of the sitting!" Because she believed in subdued lighting and had large photographic plates, exposures could last several minutes. After each picture had been taken she would disappear into her coal-cellar cum darkroom, to prepare another plate, her victims having been warned not to move a muscle. She was clearly supported by a long-suffering family. In her book she writes: "Personal sympathy has helped me on very much. My husband from first to last has watched every picture with delight, and it is my daily habit to run to him with every glass upon which a fresh glory is newly stamped, and to listen to his enthusiastic applause. This habit of running into the dining-room with my wet pictures has stained such an immense quantity of table linen with nitrate of silver, indelible stains, that I should have been banished from any less indulgent household...." Cameron received honours abroad, but recognition did not come easily at home. She wrote: "The Photographic Society of London in their Journal would have dispirited me very much had I not valued that criticism at its worth. It was unsparing and too manifestly unjust for me to attend to it...." She presented an album to Sir John Herschel; this is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Julia died in Ceylon in January 1879. In a lengthy obituary The Times gives a vivid picture of this remarkable lady:


"Mrs. Cameron appealed to a..wide...public by her pefectly original and unique photographic work and subject pictures in which, after a daring fashion of her own, forfeiting the sharpness of definition which ordinary photographers strive for, and which is one of the things artists most dislike in photographic portraiture...she produced a series of heads and groups... unique in their suggestiveness... Mrs. Cameron's singular ardour of enthusiasm, the energy with which she flung herself into whatever she undertook, her rare forgetfulness of self and readiness to help others, endeared her to a wide circle of friends. ...so full of life and energy, so ripe with plans and projects, so buoyant of spirits, so vivid in her interests, so keen in her friendships, and so overflowing in her friendliness." The Royal Photographic Society owns nearly 800 of her albumen and carbon prints and portraits, together with a handwritten manuscript of her autobiography. A Trust has been set up to ensure the preservation of Dimbola Lodge and Cameron House, and to provide historical information on Julia Margaret Cameron's life and works. Details can be found at http://www.dimbola.co.uk

Š Robert Leggat, 2000 Last updated undefined


CARNARVON, George Edward Stanhope b. 26 June 1866; d. 5 April 1923 The Earl of Carnarvon was a British egyptologist who was the patron and associate of the archaeologist Howard Carter in the discovery, in 1922, of King Tutankhamen's tomb, which he photographed. A keen amateur photographer, Carnarvon also worked with the platinum process. The Royal Photographic Society owns some 22 of these.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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CARROLL, Lewis b. 27 January 1832; d. 14 January 1898 Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an English writer and brilliant mathematician perhaps best known for "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", written in 1865, and "Through the looking glass", written seven years later. He was a lecturer in Mathematics at Christ Church Oxford, and a clergyman. In his diaries he records that he learned photography by following his uncle, himself a photographer, on expeditions in the mid fifties. His speciality became portraiture, and among his subjects were some leading people of the day, including Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Holman Hunt, the painter. He also photographed children. Alice Liddell, a daughter of the Dean of his college, was one of his many subjects, and it was she who became the model for Alice in Wonderland. To have one's portrait taken was often a pretty daunting business. Lewis Carroll described it very aptly in a poem: "From his shoulder Hiawatha Took the camera of rosewood. Made of sliding folding rosewood; Neatly put it all together.... Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges, Till it looked all squared and oblongs.... This he perched upon a tripod And the family in order Sat before him for their picture Mystic, awful was the process." Nevertheless, Carroll's portraits of children do not show this tension; doubtless he had a fund of stories which would enable them to relax, and with exposures still in the order of 30 - 40 seconds, he was remarkably successful. The pictures of Alice Liddell are particularly delightful characterisations, with lovely pensive moods. Carroll in fact had a Naturalistic approach to photography well ahead of his time. Some of his prints are to be found in the Guildford Museum in Surrey. Lewis Carroll and relationships with children Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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CLIFFORD, Charles (b. 1819 d. Jan 1, 1863) Clifford was born in Wales, and lived in Madrid from 1850. He was also an outstanding photographer of Spanish scenery and architecture. His album "Vistas del Capricho" (1856), has some fifty pictures, some of the Palace at Guadalajara, some from the palace at Canillejas, near Madrid. The vast bulk of his work can be found at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. The Royal Palace has some, and the Prado in Madrid has one. And at this point there appear to be two versions of his appointment. A popular view is that he was appointed Court Photographer to Queen Isabela II, and that she sent Clifford to London to take a portrait of Queen Victoria. (Incidentally this picture, which depicts the Queen wearing a diamond coronet, was felt by many to be a welcome change from the many "homely" portraits which others had made.)

However, there is evidence that suggests that, far from being court photographer to the Spanish Queen, he was a photographer who worked for Queen Victoria, but worked mainly in Spain. (I am greatly indebted to Gerardo F. Kurtz for additional information he has supplied about this remarkable photographer).

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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COBURN, Alvin Langdon b. 11 January 1882; d. 23 November 1966 Coburn was another outstanding photographer who still, perhaps, is not given the acclaim he deserves. He was born in Boston, moving to England as a young man. He began taking photographs at the age of eight (inspired by his cousin F. Holland Day, became a founder-member of PhotoSecession and in 1903 was elected to the Linked Ring, and at the early age of twenty-five had exhibited a one-man show at the Royal Photographic Society. Coburn stressed the importance of learning the techniques of photography so that they became totally automatic, "leaving the mind free to devote itself to the really important matter: direct contact with what we wish to express." Coburn made a number of urban landscape pictures, with a definite mood. He was also an accomplished portrait photographer, and in 1913 and 1922 produced a two-volume collection of photographs of celebrities, entitled "Men of Mark." He has a characteristic style in his portraits. The writer George Bernard Shaw, who sat for Coburn, and who also had developed an interest in photography, described him as "one of the most accomplished and sensitive artist photographers... living." Coburn passionately believed in liberating photography from the notion that it is only artistic if it depicted reality, and he is perhaps best known for producing Vortographs, non-objective photographs of such items as a piece of wood or crystal, through an arrangement of mirrors, resulting in multiple images. In 1916 Coburn designed an item the poet Ezra Pound called a Vortoscope, which consisted of three mirrors arranged like a kaleidoscope, which enabled multiple-image photographs to be taken. The British Journal of Photography (16 February 1917) comments on Coburn's fascination for his vortographs, and his assertion that the creating of these "was the most thrilling experience he had ever had in all the realms of photography. For over a quarter of a century he had been using a camera in one way or another, but never had he discovered a medium to compare with vortography for producing aesthetic excitement and enjoyment." Between 1903-1909 his work appeared in three editions of Camera Work. Unfortunately Coburn lost himself in astrology and the occult, and his enthusiasm for photography waned somewhat after the first world war, though he again began taking photographs in the 1950s. Thanks to the close friendship between Coburn and Dudley Johnston, Curator of the Royal Photographic Society's Collection, the Society owns a considerable number of his fine works. Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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CUNDALL, Joseph b. 1818; d. 1875 Trained as a painter, Joseph Cundall worked first as a bookseller, then as a publisher. In 1852 he established a photographic business, the "Photographic Institution" in Bond Street, London. He became associated with Philip Delamotte, and published his books. He wrote several books of his own, including "The Photographic Primer" (1854). He was also an active member of the Photographic Society of London.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DANCER, John Benjamin b. 8 October 1812; d. 24 November 1887 Dancer described himself as "Optician, of Manchester, by appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales" and as an instrument maker. His early inventions were concerned with light. In 1837 he applied the "Drummond light" to optical projectors, and it was he who coined the term "lime-light". He also produced cheap microscopes, and used a solar one. Other inventions include an accurate thermometer and an apparatus for checking the accuracy of rifle barrels. He was also reputed to be a first class conjuror and juggler! Though he never invented any new photographic process, his contribution to photography lies in the fact that he saw new applications in existing techniques. In 1853 Dancer constructed the first twin-lens stereoscopic camera, taking up an idea by David Brewster. Up till that time any stereoscopic photography had been done by exposing, moving the camera and exposing a second time - so inevitably these pictures had been of still life! Dancer's new camera, an improved version of which was made three years later, produced two small negatives simultaneously, and had wide angle lenses, and this permitted virtually instantaneous photography and therefore the photographing of moving as opposed to static scenes. It is said that Dancer also made the first photographic lantern slides. Certainly the introduction of the wet Collodion process would have prompted such an application, but whether in fact he was the first to do this has not been confirmed. His photo-micrography work still exists. In July 1840 he made a daguerreotype photograph of a flea, using a gas-illuminated microscope, and he also used a solar microscope. Micro- photographs were then sold at one shilling (5p) each, or ten shillings and six pence (52.5p)for a dozen. Dancer was also an early secretary of the London Camera Club. His contribution to photography has not been sufficiently recognised (indeed, Beaumont Newhall, in his History of Photography, does not even mention him) and it is only more recently that this omission has been rectified.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999. Last updated undefined


DAVIDSON, George b. 1854 or 1856; d. 1930 Davidson was active in photography at the turn of the century, when photographers were moving away from sharp images towards a more impressionistic type of photography, using differential focusing, sometimes entirely soft focusing. (See Impressionism.) One of Davidson's main critics was Peter Henry Emerson, a brilliant but arrogant man who clearly had little regard for him, describing him as "an amateur without training and with superficial knowledge.... He is... welcome to my cast-off clothes if he likes" - a rather unkind response to someone who had been an enthusiastic follower of Emerson's ideas on Naturalistic photography! However, Davidson was evidently highly regarded by others, and his picture "The Onion Field" received much acclaim. That same year he was invited by the Royal Society of Arts to lecture on Impressionist Photography, something that established him as a leading figure. In 1891 Davidson and others left the Royal Photographic Society to set up their own organisation, known as the Linked Ring, of which Davidson was an important founder-member. The Linked Ring was committed to promote photographic pictorialism. Some of Davidson's prints, including "The Onion Field" are to be found in the quarterly Camera Work.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DAVY, Humphry b. 1778; d. 1829 Sir Humphrey Davy was an English chemist who worked closely with Thomas Wedgwood. Their work was very nearly a breakthrough, for they had made what one can best describe as photograms but unfortunately they were unable to find a method of fixing them. In the report to the Royal Society, June 1802, Davy wrote: "The copy of a painting, or the profile, immediately after being taken, must be kept in an obscure place. It may indeed be examined in the shade, but, in this case, the exposure should be only for a few minutes; by the light of candles or lamps, as commonly employed, it is not sensibly affected." Davy also discovered the electric arc light.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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DAY, Fred Holland b. 8 July 1864; d. 12 November 1933 Fred Holland Day was born in Massachusetts. A wealthy man, he spent much of his fortune on causes, and dressed and acted in a manner which labelled him as an eccentric. He first dabbled in painting, but then took up photography. Day was a prominent member amongst American photographers at the turn of the century, though he subsequently became somewhat eclipsed by the more outspoken Alfred Stieglitz who largely became the voice of American photography for the next couple of decades. Day's images depicting frontal nudity met with considerable opposition, though they were by no means tasteless. He deliberately used an uncorrected lens, which recorded a halo round highlights of the images. Just before the turn of the century Day decided to portray the last seven days of the life of Christ. This project he planned with meticulous care, and since he decided that he would play the part of Christ he grew his hair long and virtually starved himself before the photographs were taken. Alvin Langford Coburn, a relative, ascribed the beginning of his career as a photographer to Day, and together they sought to promote photography as an art-form. One of Day's accomplishments was to organise a major exhibition of work by progressive American pictorialists such as Kasebier, White, Steichen, Eugene, Coburn and himself. This exhibition, which contained 375 photographs, over a hundred being by Day, was held at the Royal Photographic Society in 1900. It was controversial. One report stated that the exhibition "is not equalled by anything since the publication of 'Naturalistic Photography'. In organising it the Royal Photographic Society has done more in the interests of pictorial photography than if it got up a hundred Salons, or made a chain of Linked Rings from the earth to the moon." whilst the "Photographic News" saw it as the product "of a diseased imagination, of which much has been fostered by the ravings of a few lunatics...unacademic...and eccentric" In 1904 much of his collection of fine images were destroyed in a huge fire; the majority which remain were presented to the Royal Photographic Society by Frederick H. Evans in the 1930s. One of the effects of the Russian Revolution and the first world war was that the production of platinum (which came from the Urals) virtually came to a stop. Becoming unhappy with any other existing process, Day lost interest in photography.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997. Last updated undefined


DELAMOTTE, Philip Henry b. 1820; d. 1889 Philip Delamotte was a calotype photographer, and one of the first to use photography for documentary purposes. In 1851 the Great Exhibition took place in Hyde Park, London. So successful was it that when it closed, some entrepreneurs bought a large site in Sydenham, near London, and arranged for the entire Crystal Palace, the main attraction, to be dismantled and re-erected at this new site. They also decided to hire a photographer to document the event, and commissioned Delamotte, who produced a painstaking and meticulous record of this interesting building. The Crystal Palace was opened on 10 June 1854. The following year Delamotte published his two volume work entitled "Photographic Views of the Progress of the Crystal Palace, Sydenham", containing 160 architectural photographs. The publisher Delamotte used was Joseph Cundall, and it was at his house that one of the first commercial photographic exhibitions took place, with some 350 photographs available for sale. Together with Roger Fenton he founded the Calotype Club in London. He taught drawing to members of the Royal Family, and later he was appointed Professor of Drawing at King's College, London. Delamotte also wrote a book entitled "The practice of photography: a manual for students" - a work which went into its third edition.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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de la RUE, Warren b. 1815; d. 1889 Warren de la Rue was an astronomer at the Kew Observatory. Astronomers were among the earliest scientists attracted to photography; another was Herschel.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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De MEYER, Baron Gayne b. 1868; d. 1946 Sometimes photographers of note become forgotten. De Meyer is one who does not feature very often in the lists of pioneers, but who in his time had significant influence on picture making. His real name was Demeyer Watson, a wealthy man who was created Baron de Meyer by the King of Saxony and who, with his wife, settled in London. De Meyer was influenced by Stieglitz, but it has to be aid that his earliest work was pretty banal. Then his photography suddenly changed, as he began to experiment with soft-focus lenses and backlighting, producing some truly exquisite pictures. Some twenty of his photographs were reproduced in the influential quarterly Camera Work. His other most memorable photographs include a fine collection of the distinguished ballet dancer Nijinsky in his most famous roles. De Meyer's lighting techniques had an influence in the early days of cinema. However, having switched allegiance from one publisher to another, returning to the first (Vogue) he was rejected, and he emigrated to California, where he died in poverty. The obituary in the Los Angeles Times was a measly two inches in length, and did not even mention his photography.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DEMACHY, Leon Robert

b. 1859; d. 1937 Demachy, a Frenchman, was a banker by profession, and an amateur artist, becoming a leading photographer in the 1890s. He was the founder of the Photo Club of Paris, a member of London's Linked Ring, and of the Photo-Secession. An influential photographer of the time was Dr. P. Emerson, who fostered a more subjective approach to photography than hitherto. As a result, there was an emphasis on minimum detail and soft focus. However, for some photographers this was as far as one should go; it was perfectly admissible to control one's photography at the camera stage, but one should not tamper with the photograph at the printing stage beyond employing very modest negative re-touching techniques. This was not sufficient for other photographers, and Robert Demachy, together with other photographers such as George Davidson and Alfred Maskell began to experiment at the printing stage as well. A familiar phrase attributed to Demachy is "The end justifies the means", which sums up his approach to picture making. His photographic work was quite diverse; he exhibited portraits, street scenes and figure studies, and wrote a a number of books and about a thousand articles on photography. He is an interesting photographer to study because his work epitomises the controversy which existed in the world of photography at the turn of the century. Demachy had little time for the "straight print" photographers, especially if they presumed to call themselves artists. No straight print, he declared, with "its false values, its lack of accents, its equal delineation of things important and useless" could really be called art. "A straight print may be beautiful, and it may prove.. that its author is an artist; but it cannot be a work of art... A work of art must be a transcription, not a copy, of nature...This special quality.." (which makes it a work of art) "is given in the artist's way of expressing himself... If a man slavishly copies nature, no matter if it is with hand and pencil or through a photographic lens, he may be a supreme artist all the while, but that particular work of his cannot be called a work of art..." However, perhaps to counter argument, he also made the observation that manipulation was not necessarily art: "Too many pictorialists will meddle with their prints in the fond belief that any


alteration, however bungling, is the touchstone of art...." In addition to deliberately using soft focus lenses to blur and soften the image, he also used printing processes which required manipulation. The final result was by no means pure photography, because the finished result in many of his pictures was achieved by using brushwork together with photography. An example of this technique is his Figure Study from an Etched Negative, a gum print produced in 1906. One can readily see the long diagonal lines etched over the body greatly reducing photographic detail. Among his favourite subjects was young ballet dancers, in a style very much reminiscent of Degas' work. He also made studies of people. A powerful image is En Bretagne, which must be a composite from a number of negatives.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DIAMOND, Dr Hugh Welch b. 1809; d. 21 June 1886 Hugh Welch Diamond was one of the earliest photographers, and made a major contribution to its progress. A doctor by profession, he opened private practice in Soho, London, and then decided to specialise in the treatment of mental patients, being appointed to Bethlehem Hospital, the Surrey County Asylum. (Incidentally it is from this hospital's name that we have the word "bedlam", meaning a mad-house or scene of uproar). Diamond was one of the founders of the Photographic Society, was later its Secretary and also became the editor of the Photographic Journal. He used photography to treat mental disorders; some of his many calotypes depicting the expressions of people suffering from mental disorders are particularly moving. These were used not only for record purposes, but also, he claimed (though there is little evidence of success) in the treatment of patients. Perhaps it is for his attempts to popularise photography and to lessen its mystique that Diamond is best remembered. He wrote many articles and was a popular lecturer, and he also sought to encourage younger photographers. Amongst the latter was Henry Peach Robinson, who was later to refer to Diamond as a "father figure" of photography. Recognition for his encouragement and for his willingness to share his knowledge came in 1855 in the form of a testimonial amounting to £300 for services to photography; among those who subscribed were such people as Delamotte, Fenton and George Shadbolt. In 1867 the Photographic Society awarded its Medal in recognition of "his long and successful labours as one of the principal pioneers of the photographic art and of his continuing endeavours for its advancement." The following year, at his own initiative, he relinquished any further salary as Secretary of the Society, and became its Hon. Secretary. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DIXON, Henry b. 1820; d. 1893 It can sometimes take many years before the significance of someone's work can be fully appreciated. Such a person is Henry Dixon, the first exhibition devoted solely to his work taking place in 1999. Dixon stands out not because of his discoveries, or because he introduced a new technique in photography, but simply because he made what must be the very first systematic photographic record of London. He did this for the "Society for the Photographing of Relics of Old London" A fuller record, complete with a large numbers of his prints, can be found HERE. See also HERE - the quality if quite remarkable. Most of his work is held by the Guildhall Library Print Room, which houses a huge collection of visuals relating to London and its history. Š Robert Leggat, 2003.

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DRAPER, John William b. 5 May 1811; d. 4 January 1882 Dr. William Draper, an Englishman by birth, was a professor of chemistry at New York University. In 1837, two years in fact before the announcement of the daguerreotype, he had discovered photography. His early achievements include a photograph of the moon, and of objects through a microscope. He began to experiment with the process, making a camera out of a cigar box. One of his first successful portraits was that of his sister Catherine. Constrained by the considerable exposure times necessary, he first tried to overcome this by coating Catherine's face with flour, but this was not satisfactory. He then discovered that by increasing the aperture of the lens and reducing its focal length he could drastically reduce exposure time. In December 1840 he was using a lens with an f1.4 aperture. Draper set up a partnership with Samuel Morse, a colleague at New York University. "Dorothy Draper", taken June 1840, is perhaps his first successful portrait. Draper and Morse have also been credited with the discovery that since the exposures were long, there would be no harm in blinking, so the eyes could be kept open - something that other photographers of their time had not grasped.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DUBOSCQ, Louis Jules b. 1817

d.Sept 24, 1886

Duboscq was a French optical manufacturer who was instrumental in a number of innovations. In 1849, together with Foucault, he devised arc lamps for projection. He also manucactured the Brewster stereoscope in 1851. Duboscq also made an apparatus for enlarging by electric light, and showed it to the Paris Photographic Society in 1861. In order to make it possible whilst travelling to produce a number of small pictures on a single plate in a camera, Duboscq built what he called his Polyconograph camera for travellers. This was an attachment that allowed for fifteen exposures on each plate. Š Robert Leggat, 2003.

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DU CAMP, Maxime b. 8 February 1822; d. 9 February 1894 Du Camp was a French writer and journalist who travelled in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. He had a simple reason for taking up photography, as he recalled later: "I had realised on my previous travels that I wasted much valuable time trying to draw buildings and scenery I did not care to forget... I felt I needed an instrument of precision to record my impressions..." He learned photography from Gustave Le Gray, and his calotypes started appearing from 1851. His book, "Le Nil, Egypte et Nubie", containing 220 calotypes, was one of the first to be illustrated with original photographs. Travel photography then, unlike today, one had to approach with something verging on missionary zeal. Do Camp once commented: "Learning photography is an easy matter. Transporting the equipment by mule, camel or human porters is a serious problem." Though he is perhaps the earliest of the travel photographers, du Camp's work is less striking than that of another contemporary, Francis Frith.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DU HAURON, Louis Ducas b. 1837; d. October 1920 Du Hauron was a French scientist who made a major contribution to the development of colour photography. In his book, "Les Couleurs en Photographie" (1869) he proposed the subtractive methods of colour photography. Unfortunately, his theories could not be put to the test at the time, because of the lack of suitable materials. However, it is this principle which is used in present-day colour photography. He also patented, in 1891, the anaglyph method of stereoscopic photography. In 1900 Du Hauron was awarded the Progress Medal of the Royal Photographic Society for his work in colour photography.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Significant PEOPLE in the early history of Photography E-H ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Eastman, George Emerson, Peter Henry England, William Eugene, Frank Evans, Frederick Henry Farmer, Ernest Fenton, Roger Fizeau, Armand Hippolyte Fox Talbot Frith, Francis Gardner, Alexander Goddard, John Frederick Harman, Alfred Hugh Hawarden, Lady Clementina Hawes, Josiah Herschel, John Frederick Hill and Adamson Hill, David Octavius Hine, Lewis Hinton, Horsley Howlett, Robert Hunt, Robert


EMERSON, Dr. Peter Henry b. 13 May 1856; d. 12 May 1936 Many photographic historians claim that Peter Henry Emerson made a greater impression on Victorian photography than any of his contemporaries. An outstanding scholar, he practised medicine before abandoning it, at the age of 26, to take up photography. Though some of his work was included in books (he was an authority on wild life in Norfolk), he remained essentially an amateur. At this period perhaps the leading photographer of the day was Henry Peach Robinson, who had published an influential book, "Pictorial Effect in Photography" - a book which ran to several editions. Emerson condemned this book out of hand, particularly disliking the contrived photography by Robinson, Rejlander, and Julia Margaret Cameron and saw this approach as arresting the development of photography as a medium in its own right, with no need to emulate styles of painting. Perhaps by then the time was right for a new approach. Photographic materials had evolved somewhat; new faster materials were appearing, making photography outdoors rather different from what it had been in earlier times. In 1886 he was elected to the Council of the Photographic Society, and embarked upon a series of lectures to put forward his views. Three years later he published an influential (if controversial) book entitled "Naturalistic Photography for students of Art" which one writer described as "like dropping a bombshell at a tea-party." In it he made the case for photography in which truth and realism would replace contrived photography. "Photograph people as they really are - do not dress them up" was his main message: "The photographic technique is perfect and needs no...bungling" He also very firmly rejected the retouching of pictures, which he called "the process by which a good, bad, or indifferent photograph is converted into a bad drawing or painting". In effect he was advocating that one should treat photography as a technique in its own right, and not to seek to imitate other art forms. Emerson also argued that a photographer should imitate the eye. He claimed that one only sees sharpness in the centre, and that the image is slightly blurred at the periphery, and therefore suggested that one should make a photograph slightly out of focus in order to achieve that effect, merely ensuring that the image in the centre is sharp. In his book he wrote: "Nothing in nature has a hard outline, but everything is seen against something else, and its outlines fade gently into something else, often so subtly that you cannot quite distinguish where one ends and the other begins. In this mingled decision and indecision, this lost and found, lies all the charm and mystery of nature" This was a new departure. Up till then photographers had tried to get everything sharp; they may not always have succeeded, but that was their objective. Now Emerson was advocation that photographers should not Some photographers greeted Emerson's ideas with enthusiasm, particularly George Davidson. Another was Frank Sutcliff, who had a studio at Whitby. However, his ideas did not go down well with other contemporaries. H.P.Robinson wrote: "Healthy human eyes never saw any part of a scene out of focus"


whilst Emerson retorted, in an uncompromising manner: "I have yet to learn that any one statement of photography of Mr. H.P.Robinson has ever had the slightest effect on me except as a warning of what not to do...." and described Robinson's book (Pictorial Effect in Photography) as "the quintessence of literary fallacies and art anachronisms." Emerson was not the easiest of people to get on with, and was inclined not only to make sarcastic and vitriolic remarks but also to erupt into a fiery temper. His emphasis on technique is probably what led to his own undoing; he had begun to believe that photography could be reduced to technical rules and principles. Finding that he could not achieve this, he became frustrated and finally (possibly angered by the success of the Impressionism movement) he renounced naturalistic photography in a blackbordered pamphlet entitled "The death of Naturalistic Photography" (1890). He wrote: "I have...I regret it deeply, compared photographs to great works of art, and photographers to great artists. It was rash and thoughtless, and my punishment is having to acknowledge it now... In short, I throw my lot in with those who say that Photography is a very limited art. I deeply regret that I have come to this conclusion..." In 1895 Emerson was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal for work in the advancement of artistic photography. Until then he had denounced medals, but in 1925, typical of his vanity, he then started awarding his own "Emerson" silver and bronze medals to others, some posthumously. Among the fifty-seven who gained his approval in this manner were Hill and Adamson, Nadar, Hippolyte Bayard, Julia Margaret Cameron, and an "unknown French photographer in Paris, 1865, for an unknown lady with a cigarette"! The reason for these awards never became clear; some have suggested that this was yet another way of perpetuating his name. Despite his egotism and unforgiving nature to those who disagreed with him, his work succeeded in laying down the foundations of a new, unsentimental type of work, and laying the groundwork for the Photo-Secession movement.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ENGLAND, William (date of birth unknown; d. 1896) William England started as a portrait photographer, but then became involved in travel photography, specialising particularly in pictures of Switzerland. He was heavily involved in stereoscopic photography, producing thousands of pictures. He is best remembered, however, for having invented, in the early 1860s, the focal-plane shutter.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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EUGENE, Frank b. 1865; d. 1936 His actual name was Frank Eugene Smith, though he chose to discard the last. Born in New York, he went to live in Munich when in his twenties, and just after the turn of the century he became a lecturer in photography in that city. He became a member of the Linked Ring in 1900, and was a founder-member of the Photo-Secession, and his work was reproduced in various editions of Camera Work between 1904 and 1916. He was an expert etcher, and many of his pictures show the use of the etcher's needle. Coburn, writing of Eugene, records "This talented worker ... etches with a needle upon his negative, and while not all the results obtained may by some be considered "pure photography" they are all acknowledged to be of great beauty and merit."

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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EVANS, Frederick Henry b. 26 June 1852; d. 24 June 1943 Evans became involved in photography as an amateur in 1882, but was so successful with his photography of Architecture and Landscape that just after the turn of the century he retired from bookselling and became a professional photographer. Unlike some of his contemporaries such as Demachy, he refused to manipulate the negative or the print. Architectural photography had been undertaken before, but whereas it tended to be unimaginative and largely record photography, Evans looked for particular effects, for example depicting the strength of the stone. "The Sea of Steps" (1903) shows some of the excellence of his work. It is worth comparing this with the photography of another very accomplished photographer, Francis Bedford. Bedford's photography was more concerned with factual rendering, whereas Evans' work is very different indeed, and one can immediately see his fascination for texture, and with his his concern to show the effects of weight and balance, space, light and shade. In 1901 he became a member of the Linked Ring, a society which was opposed to the somewhat conservative approach of the Royal Photographic Society at that time; nevertheless his work was displayed at in the RPS twice during this period, and he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Society in 1928. Whilst many of his contemporaries were using the gum bichromate process, he remained content with using the platinum one. He opposed the notion of manipulating the print, preferring "pure" photography. In a lecture to the Royal Photographic Society (25 April 1900) he said: "I have not been courageous enough as yet to try anything (if there is anything) beyond platinotype.... I have not worked carbon, and the new gum print is, I am afraid, beyond me. I am more interested... in making plain, simple, straightforward photography render, at its best and easiest, the effects of light and shade that so fascinate me... "my prints are all from untouched, undodged negatives, with no treatment of the print except ordinary spotting out of technical defects, or the occasional lowering of an obtrusive white light." A man of immense patience, it is said that he would sometimes wait for months to record the precise effect he was seeking. Some of his work was reproduced in a number of editions of Camera Work. George Bernard Shaw, writing the introduction to Evans' work, (October 1903) reveals both this sense of perfection and the way he managed to get things done: "He has been known to go up to the Dean of an English Cathedral - a dignitary compared to whom the President of the United States is the merest worm, and who is not approached by ordinary men save in their Sunday-clothes - Evans, I say, in an outlandish silk collar, blue tie, and crushed soft hat, with a tripod under his arm, has accosted a Dean in his own cathedral and said, pointing to the multitude of chairs that hid the


venerable flagged floor of the fane, "I should like all those cleared away." And the Dean has had it done, only to be told then that he must have a certain door kept open during a two hours' exposure for the sake of completing his scale of light...." Evans gave up photography after the first world war, when platinum was no longer generally available.

Š Robert Leggat, 2002.

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FARMER, Ernest Howard b. 1860; d. 1944 Ernest Farmer was an English photographer who became the first Head of Photography at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). He invented a solution, now known as Farmer's Reducer, which reduces the intensity of a negative. This reducer, invented in 1883, is still in use today. It consists of hypo with a small amount of ferricyanide of potash.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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FENTON, Roger b. Mar 1819; d. 8 Aug 1869 Roger Fenton is particularly known for his coverage of the Crimean War, which is a pity, because it only formed a small proportion of his output in other areas, notably landscape photography, and also somewhat obscures the major part he played in promoting photography in general. After studying at London University, Fenton studied art in London, and later in Paris under the painter Paul Delaroche. However, having had little success as a painter, in 1844 he returned to London and studied law. In January 1851 he visited Paris, and was impressed by the freedom that photographers in France had been granted as a result of the Daguerreotype process having been made available to all. By contrast, progress in England was slow because of Talbot's claims arising from his patent. In 1852 he visited Russia, and his photographs were amongst the first ever to be seen in England, guaranteeing him instant fame. Back in England, he proposed the formation of a Photographic Society, and on 10 January 1853 this came into being, and he served as its Secretary for three years. (This is now the Royal Photographic Society). Fenton photographed Queen Victoria's family, and also became the official photographer to the British Museum. The Crimean War (1853-1956) was one of many between Russia and the Turks, but this time involved the British and French. William Russell, a journalist working for The Times, and one of the first war correspondents, began to send a series of disturbing accounts of the conduct of this war, and particularly the conditions under which the British forces were fighting. Less than 20% of the fatalities of the forces were due to war wounds; the majority of these were caused by disease and the freezing cold. When Russell began to report the inadequacy of the medical facilities and the fact that British soldiers, not having even been issued with winter uniforms, were dying with cold, feeling over the government's handling of the war began to mount. In 1855, in response to this continuous criticism of the government's handling of the war, Fenton was commissioned to photograph it, and produced over 350 pictures of the conflict. Though he is seen as a war photographer, his pictures showed a very one-sided cosmetic view: â—? â—?

â—?

as it was largely a propaganda exercise, he was bound to show the well-being of the troops; he wanted to sell his pictures, and gruesome realistic ones were probably not very marketable! many of his pictures were of the officers, a sign, perhaps, of his sound business sense! In fairness to him, he often felt obliged to photograph them: "If I refuse to take them," he complained, "I get no facilities for conveying my van from one locality to another."


Fenton's war pictures, therefore, tend to portray war as a gorgeous pageant; there are no dead bodies, and one might almost imagine that the Crimean war was almost like a picnic. There are no action shots (this for technical reasons), but those of soldiers are carefully posed groups, almost as if they were cricketers just about to go in to bat. It is this bias which makes one question slightly whether he was a true war photographer in the same league as the Mathew Brady team. Moreover, as an agent of the government, his portrayals were somewhat slanted; the charge of the Light Brigade, for example, was one disaster that was depicted as a glorious event. The picture shows an area of Balaklava. One has to bear in mind the considerable difficulties experienced at this time by photographers on location. Like all photographers of the time, he found it necessary to take with him all the sensitising and processing equipment. To do this, Fenton took with him a converted wine-wagon as a caravan, and this occasionally became the target, probably being mistaken for an ammunitions vehicle. In a lecture to the Photographic Society he gave an account of the conditions: "Though (the van) was painted a light colour externally, it grew so hot towards noon as to burn the hand when touched. As soon as the door was closed to commence the preparation of a plate, perspiration started from every pore; and the sense of relief was great when it was possible to open the door and breathe even the hot air outside." Fenton also had his own battles... "It was at this time that the plague of flies commenced. Before preparing a plate the first thing to be done was to battle with them for possession of the place. The necessary buffeting with handkerchiefs and towels having taken place, and the intruders having being expelled, the moment the last one was out, the door has to be rapidly closed for fear of a fresh invasion, and then some time allowed for the dust thus raised to settle before coating a plate...." As the summer arrived, Fenton found that the developing liquid became so hot that he could hardly put his hands in it! He also had to stop work earlier and earlier each day, many of his portraits having been taken before seven o'clock in the morning. Upon returning from the Crimea (but not before he too had endured cholera) he had published bound volumes of his prints. However, they did not sell too well, as people hardly wished to keep mementos of an event which most would wish to forget. Another reason for the lack of sales was that the prints, still on salted paper, had a tendency to fade. Fenton himself was sufficiently concerned about the fading of pictures, for he chaired a Photographic Society "Fading Committee." Fenton also produced a number of Stereoscopes of architecture, landscapes and still life subjects. He then produced a series of photographs of cathedrals. For reasons that are not clear, he gave up


taking photographs in 1861 and returned to the law; it has been suggested that this was because of his dislike for the increasing commercialisation of photography It was probably his bout of cholera which led to his early death at the age of forty-nine. It is worth noting that this prolific output and contribution to photography was confined to just eleven years or so. Over six hundred of Fenton's prints are now preserved at the Photographic Museum in Bradford - the most comprehensive archive of his work. Š Robert Leggat, 2006

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FIZEAU, Armand Hippolyte b. 23 September 1819; d. 18 September 1896 One of the disadvantages of the Daguerreotype was that it was extremely delicate, consisting of small particles of soft silver- mercury amalgam on the plate, which could be ruined simply by touching the surface. One solution was to frame the picture behind glass. However in August 1840 Fizeau, a French physicist, published a method of toning the daguerreotype, which in addition to increasing the contrast, made the image stronger. This consisted of treating the finished image in a solution of sodium hyposulphite and gold chloride. In 1845 Fizeau also took the first pictures of the sun, on daguerreotypes.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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FRITH, Francis b. 7 October 1822; d. 25 February 1898 If, in a public house, one were to see photographs of towns and villages of long ago, it is very likely that they will be by Francis Frith. Frith started in the cutlery business, abandoning this in 1850 to becoming a travelling photographer. He journeyed to the Middle East on three occasions, bearing with him very large cameras (16" x 20"), using the collodion process, which was a major achievement in such hot and dusty conditions. He faced considerable problems on his journeys in such a hot climate. On several occasions the collodion boiled on hitting the glass plates. It is said that on one occasion he was sleeping in a tomb at the foot of the Great Pyramid, he had to fight off a pack of hungry dogs "to the very point of exhaustion."

The Times, reporting on his pictures, commented that they "carry us far beyond anything that is in the power of the most accomplished artist to transfer to his canvas." The picture shown here shows part of the temple at Luxor, photographed in the 1870s. Frith's most famous work was yet to come. When he had finished his travels in the Middle East in 1860 he married, settled in Reigate, Surrey, and then embarked upon a colossal project - to photograph every town and village in the United Kingdom, in particular notable historical or interesting sights. Initially he took the photographs himself, but as success came, he hired people to help him. Frith then set about establishing a postcard company, a firm which became one of the largest photographic ones in the world; soon over two thousand shops throughout the land were selling his postcards. I suppose it could be said that Frith was predominantly a traveller, and this comes out in his photographs. Rather than providing a stark geographical description, he sought to show what it was like to be there, on the spot. This is why his photographs still remain popular. Š Robert Leggat, 1999. Last updated undefined


GARDNER, Alexander b. October 17, 1821; d. 1882 Alexander Gardner was a Scot who emigrated to the United States and was hired by Mathew Brady, for whom he photographed the American Civil War. However, Brady's practice of signing his employees' pictures did not meet with Gardner's approval, and after some years he left Brady's firm and opened his own gallery in Washington DC. Unlike the somewhat contrived war pictures taken by Fenton, Gardner's are so factual as to be almost macabre. His book, "Gardner's two-volume Photographic Sketchbook of the War" (meaning the Civil War) was published in 1866. The following year he recorded the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. He also documented the execution of the conspirators against Lincoln, and Lincoln's funeral. In addition, he embarked upon making a collection of photographs of convicted criminals, for the Washington police force. It should also be added, however, that amongst the genuine pictures of the war there appear to be a few which are contrived, further proof that whilst the camera cannot lie, the person behind it can! For example, when Gardner arrived at the decisive scene of the war at Gettysburg two days after it had been fought, he set about photographing "Home of a rebel sharpshooter." However, before taking the picture he had dragged the body of a Conferedate some thirty metres to where he lies in the picture, turning the head towards the camera. Gardner wrote: On the nineteenth of November, the artist attended the consecration of the Gettysburg Cemetery, and again visited the "Sharpshooter's Home." The musket, rusted by many storms, still leaned against the rock, and the skeleton of the soldier lay undisturbed within the mouldering uniform, as did the cold form of the dead four months before. None of those who went up and down the fields to bury the fallen, had found him. "Missing," was all that could have been known of him at home, and some mother may yet be patiently watching for the return of her boy, whose bones lie bleaching, unrecognized and alone, between the rocks at Gettysburg. Fine words, indeed, adding to the drama. But hardly creditable. Souvenir hunters would have removed the rifle within days. In any case, the weapon in the photograph was not used by sharpshooters. It may have been Gardner's prop. This faked photographed has been well researched by William Frassanito in his book "Gettysburg: A Journey in Time" (1975) So, does the camera ever lie? Well, as digital photography grows apace, almost anything is achieveable! But what of the past? Like any artist, a photographer may want to portray some emotion, evoke a reaction, put out a thought of his own. The lens sees what it sees, but what appears


is inevitably subjective. And as anyone reading Garner's notes that accompany his photography shows, not only the picture itsdelf but also the works may influence how we perceive things. Many of Gardners pictures were Stereoscopic ones.

Š Robert Leggat, 2001.

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GODDARD, John Frederick b. 1795; d. 1866 Goddard was a chemist and a lecturer in Science at the Polytechnic of Central London who later worked as an operator in Richard Beard's studio. The Daguerreotype process initially was very slow, and attempts were made to shorten the long expsoure times. One method was by using a fast lens, and Josef Petzval first made one in 1841, with a maximum aperture of f/3.6. This was a breakthrough as far as portaiture was concerned. A second solution was to make the plate faster by double sensitizing, and here is where Goddard comes in. He used bromine vapour in addition to iodine to increase the sensitivity of the daguerreotype. Goddard refumed the iodized surface of the plate with bromide, and his accelerator, which he called quickstuff could reduce a ten minute exposure to one minute. Details of the improvement were published in December 1840. His work was of considerable significance for daguerreotype photography, as it reduced the required exposure from some fifteen or even twenty minutes to as little as ten seconds. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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HARMAN, Alfred Hugh b. 1841; d. 23 May 1913 Harman's name is relatively little known in history of photography circles, which is perhaps unkind, for his contribution to photography was considerable, having been the founder, in 1879, of the photographic manufacturing business which eventually came to be known as Ilford Limited. He started up business at the age of 22, in Peckham, South London. Four years later he was advertising a service providing enlargements using solar cameras and artificial light. In 1879 he gave up this business to concentrate on the manufacture of dry plates. He chose Ilford, Essex for the setting up of a company, originally known as the Britannia Works, and this eventually became known as "Ilford", employing thousands of people. One of Harman's employees was John Houson who was responsible for producing the "Ilford Manual of Photography" which continues to this day.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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HAWARDEN, Lady Clementina b. 1822; d. 1865 In the summer of 1999 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London put on an exhibition of Lady Clementine Hawarden's photography. As one critic put it, it was difficult not to think of Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott" as one saw these pictures. In his poem, the Lady was imprisoned in a tower, and she could only see life indirectly, using a mirror. Unable to experience the real world, she had to recourse to weaving tapestries of the inverted image. The story of Lady Clementina Hawarden is very similar, for she was a prisoner of Victorian conventions, and sought to express herself using photography. There are relatively few early women photographers, for reasons outlined here. Little is known about the early life of Clementina Hawarden, except that her father died when she was seventeen, leaving her a fortune. In 1845 she married Viscount Hawarden, and left Scotland to live in South Kensington, London. In London, her photographic work flourished, and she was able (like Julia Margaret Cameron) to persuade many friends and relatives to pose for her photographs. These predate the work of Cameron. Though she took landscapes and portraits, her best work consisted of photographs which showed the Pre-Raphaelite influence in her kind of work, and art historians maintain she was influenced, in her photography, by the portraiture by James Whistler. One of her strongest supporters was Charles Dodgson, more commonly known as Lewis Carroll. Despite her relatively short life Lady Clementina took a large number of pictures widely differing variety. The majority of her photographs can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She was awarded a medal by the (then) Photographic Society, though she died before receiving the award. Those wishing to read further would find an excellent account in "Lady Celementine Hawarden: studies of life 1857-1864" by Virginia Dodier (ISBN 0-89381-815-1). Š Robert Leggat, 2000

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HAWES, Josiah Johnson b. 1808; d.1901 Hawes was an American pioneer who went into partnership in 1843 with Albert Sands Southworth. The partnership, in Boston, lasted just under twenty years, and Hawes continued to practise photography until his death in 1901. A contemporary review drew a sharp distinction between the "rats" who produced shoddy work and consequently causing the lowering of esteem of the art of "Heliography" and this paretnership who, the review states, "have never lowered the dignity of their Art or their profession by reducing their prices, but their fixed aim and undeviating rule has been to produce the finest specimens, of which they were capable,--the finest in every respect, artistic, mechanical, and chemical; graceful, pleasing in posture and arrangement, and exact in portraiture. Their style, indeed, is peculiar to themselves; presenting beautiful effects of light and shade, and giving depth and roundness together with a wonderful softness or mellowness." They were noted for their portraits of brides and wedding parties. They also patented (the review ssuggests "invented" but this is questionable) an instrument which which stereoscopic pictures may be viewed. Early in 1999 there was intense interest following the discovery of some 240 daguerreotypes produced by these two photographers. They went up for auction (read further here) , the total price exceeding two million pounds. Collections of their work exist at the JFK Library, Boston. Additional information can be seen at http:// www.photographymuseum.com/sandh1.html. One of the leading experts on these two daguerreotypists is Ken Appollo. Š Robert Leggat, 2000.

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HILL and ADAMSON Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson were partners in the earliest days of photography, their earliest known photograph being dated August 1843. Photographers of the day were either artistically inclined or had a strong scientific background, and this partnership was an ideal combination: Adamson was mainly responsible for the more mechanistic aspects of the process (exposure, development and printing), and Hill for the direction, posing and lighting. That, at least, is the way Hill saw it, though it is likely that Adamson, too, had an artistic bent. Restrictions on the Calotype process imposed by Fox Talbot had arrested the development of photography in England, but since the patent did not apply to Scotland these two early photographers were able, in a very short partnership, to produce a considerable number of pictures. At this period, of course, sunlight was necessary, so even the interior photography will have been outside, with suitable props. In order to prevent movement on the part of the sitters all sorts of strategies were needed to keep them still. In "The Bird Cage" for example, the girl in the foreground has her hand firmly on the cage, the girl to the right has her hand fixed on the shoulder of her companion, and her back is against the doorway. The little tell-tale shadows suggests that the girl at the back also had her head cradled - such devices were not uncommon then. One problem that Hill and Adamson failed to resolve was the control of the eye. Because the exposures were so long, it seems that Hill told the sitters to close their eyes rather than blink. So in several of their pictures eyes appear closed. Some of the Hill and Adamson pictures were to be reproduced many years later in Camera Work, a very influential publication produced at the turn of the century. However, Adamson is not credited, and in a lengthy essay on the work of Hill by J. Craig Annan, he is only mentioned in passing. Their Calotypes are now greatly treasured, and many of these are stored in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. A new web-site worth looking at is www.edinphoto.org.uk. It has a number of reproductions of photographs relating to Hill and Adamson. Do give it a visit. Š Robert Leggat, 2000

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HILL, David Octavius b. 1802; d. 17 May 1870 David Octavius Hill devoted most of his life to improving the arts in Scotland. He published the first lithographic view of Scotland in "Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire" (1821), and also produced lithographs for "The Works of Robert Burns." He was a portrait painter, and once Secretary of the Scottish Academy of painting, an Academy which he himself had established. In 1843 a major upheaval in the Church of Scotland took place, resulting in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland. Its first meeting took place in May that year, and was considered sufficiently momentous to have the event commemorated in a painting. The task was quite formidable, as there were four hundred and seventy people present, and it was intended that each of these people should be present in the painting. Sketching each person individually would have been a colossal task. A much respected scientist of the day, Sir David Brewster, saw in the newly invented calotype process the solution, and suggested that Hill, who was secretary of the Scottish Academy, go into partnership with a chemist, Robert Adamson. To this end Hill and Adamson took individual portraits of the clerics. The painting, which took twentythree years to complete, is in the Hall of the Presbytery, Edinburgh, but the photograph is the more remembered. Hill was paid £1500 for the task. The painting is very large, measuring 12ft x 4ft 8ins. Hill and Adamson's pictures are all calotypes. One of them has, on the reverse, "Sol fecit" (the sun made it.) In 1847 Robert Adamson died, aged only 27, and Hill gave up photography and returned to painting. The short partnership is all the more remarkable for the large output; in the four years more than 1500 calotypes had been produced. The Hill and Adamson photographs are much valued today, whilst Hill's paintings are ignored and forgotten. Š Robert Leggat, 2000

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HINE, Lewis Wickes b. 26 September 1874; d. 3 November 1940 Lewis Hine was an American sociologist who took up photography in 1905 and used it as a documentary tool, to show the working class conditions of the poor immigrants from Europe. From 1911- 1916 he toured the US as official photographer for the National Labor Committee, where he depicted in a sensitive and heartrending manner the plight of children working in the mills. He often hid his camera so that he could take authentic photographs, and had first to learn how to get a presentable picture without using flash. Hine met with considerable opposition from the employers, who accused him of muck-raking. Sometimes he was banned from the premises, on other occasions the children were hidden from view when he arrived. On occasions Hine even posed as a fire inspector, Bible salesman or insurance agent in order to gain access to the premises! Where he was banned from premises, he would photograph the children arriving at or leaving the factory. Being anxious to provide evidence that could not be discredited, he even measured the children by the buttons on his jacket, having measured their height. In 1916-1917 he travelled some fifty thousand miles in his quest. Hine discovered and exposed some appalling conditions, such as children aged six or seven having to work as many as twelve hours a day. Some of his prints have comments on the back, recording the circumstances. One reads "Sandie Fiefer, 10; South Carolina", another "Mart Payne, picks 20 lbs. cotton a day." "I wanted to show things that had to be corrected", Hine declared. He produced several thousands of pictures. It was not until the 1930s that his work bore fruit, and child labour became controlled. In 1910 he wrote saying: "I am sure I am right in my choice of work. My child labor photos have already set the authorities to work to see if such things can be possible, They try to get around the issue by crying forgery, but that is the value of the dates and the witnesses." Owen Lovejoy, General Secretary of the NCLC and Hine's contracting supervisor, wrote: "The work that you did under my direction was more responsible than any or all other efforts to bring the facts or conditions of child labor employment to public attention." The picture shows a little girl having a glimpse outside. Some of Hine's most evocative pictures are to


be found at http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/index.html Š Robert Leggat, 2004.

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HINTON, Alfred Horsley b. 1863; d. 1908 Horsley Hinton's name does not feature in many books on the history of photography, but just after the first world war J. Dudley Johnston said of him: "I think it was Horsley Hinton who has exercised the most profound influence on British landscape photography and raised it to a higher plane of imaginative vision.....During his brief career - 1889 to 1907 - he was the greatest force operating in the sphere of British photography."

Hinton was editor of the Amateur Photographer, and a leading member in the formation of the Linked Ring. Some fine exhibition prints of his remain. "Beyond", shown here, comes from Camera Work, 1905. Horsley Hinton was a popular judge in pictorial photography at the turn of the century. An item in the A.p. (January 16, 1902) which is probably attributable to Hinton, shows that he was prepared to speak his mind: “At the Royal Photographic Society there is just now on view a number of Mr. Henry Steven’s photographs which, as specimens of lens definition and what extraordinary care and patience can achieve, are probably unique. What will probably strike the observer most forcibly is the pity that such consummate craftsmanship should be expended on subjects which, we hope, we shall not give offence by calling them puerile. Cats and kittens, gods, and a small number of rabbits, some with and some without bunches of carrots and other vegetables….hardly seem worthy of being a theme of such a veritable tour de force as many a one of Mr. Steven’s prints are; whilst this gentleman’s photographs of greenhouse blooms and ferns, though wonderfully striking, are neither scientific records nor pictorial interpretations. Fine photography they undoubtedly are, if by that term we are to understand an exemplification of what a lens can do in highly skilled and patient hands.” On February 6th he once again touched upon the poor Mr. Stevens’ photographs, and one can see where his preferences lay. Referring to his exhibition he writes: “Whilst photographic prints of this class are not, in our opinion, the kind to elevate photography to either a higher intellectual or s high artistic level, their attractiveness, and indeed their unique character, cannot be denied….”

© Robert Leggat, 2003.

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HOWLETT, Robert b. 1831; d. 1858 Robert Howlett was one of the earliest professional photographers, and came into partnership with Joseph Cundall in London. He designed and sold his own portable darkroom tent, and a booklet entitled "On the Various Methods of Printing Photographic Pictures upon Paper, with Suggestions for Their Preservation" (1856). He is perhaps best known for his coverage of the construction and launching of the ship "The Great Eastern", and particularly for his photograph of Bruner standing near this ship. He died at the age of twenty-seven, the cause of death being ascribed by some to the exposure to hazardous photographic chemicals.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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HUNT, Robert b. 1807; d. 1887 Robert Hunt was a geologist and an advocate of photography, and played a leading part in forming the Photographic Society. He was also instrumental in persuading Fox Talbot to relinquish his patents on the Calotype process, which were serving to arrest the progress of photography. (See Tablot and Patents . He wrote books on photography, his first, "A Popular Treatise on the Art of Photography" (published in Glasgow in 1841) being intended for the lay person. This, like all his publications, proved to be extremely popular.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Significant PEOPLE in the early history of Photography J-M ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Jackson, William Henry Johnston, Frances Benjamin Johnston, J. Dudley Kasebier, Gertrude Keighley, Alexander Keith, Thomas Kircher, Athanasius Laroche, Martin Lartigue, Jacques-Henri Le Gray, Gustave Le Secq, Henri Llewelyn, John Lumière brothers Maddox, Richard Leach Marey, Etienne Jules Martin, Paul Maxwell, James Mayall, John Jabez McKellen, Samuel Dunseith Morse, Samuel Finley

Mortimer, Francis Mudd, James Muybridge, Eadweard


JACKSON, William Henry b. 4 April 1843; d. 30 June 1942 Jackson was an American photographer, a veteran of the civil war, who explored the "Wild West" in the 1870s, and who was probably one of the most colourful and energetic travel photographers of all time, still being commissioned to take photographs whilst in his nineties. During his lifetime he was known as the "Grand old man of the National parks." He used a variety of cameras, including one which produced negatives 20 by 24 inches in size, and also produced a number of stereoscopic pictures. His work can be seen at the National Archives and the Library of Congress, both at Washington DC, and the Denver Library in Colorado. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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JOHNSTON, Frances Benjamin b. 1854; d.1952 Frances studied art in Paris and Washington, and worked for periodicals, writing and illustrating her articles. She then began to take her own photographs, and embarked on a campaign to promote greater recognition of women in photographic circles in America. Women were among the early photo-journalists in the United States, and Frances Benjamin Johnston was a particularly noteworthy freelance photographer. In 1900 she collected 148 works by 28 women photographers for exhibition in Russia and at the World Exhibition in Paris, evidence that there was a niche for women keen to take advantage of an opportunity for self-expression that the traditional male-dominated visual arts denied. Johnston was also a member of the Photo-Secession.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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KASEBIER, Gertrude b. 18 May 1852; d. 12 October 1934 Gertrude Kasebier was born in Iowa, began taking photographs in the early nineties, and in 1897 opened her first portrait studio in New York City. She was the first woman to be elected to the prestigious Linked Ring, and was also a founder-member of the Photo-Secession, her portraits standing out over the work of her contemporaries. A contemporary critic praised her for haing done more for artistic portraiture than any other of her time (painter or photographer) by her sense of "what to leave out." Her work was featured in the first issue of Camera Work. She was keen on allegorical themes, and one of her series was on motherhood. It was said of her that her purpose in taking photographs was "not to inform, but to share an experience, to evoke an emotional response from the viewer." Some of her fine platinum prints remain.

Š Robert Leggat, 2000.

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KEIGHLEY, Alexander b. 1861; d. 2 August 1947 Alexander Keighley was born in Yorkshire, son of a wealthy industrialist. Pressed into his father's business, his ambition was to be an artist, and he found in photography the outlet he so badly needed. At first Keighley took the view that photography should be a medium in its own right and not seek to emulate other forms of art. However, he subsequently changed his tune, his carbon prints being very heavily retouched. A founder-member of the Linked Ring, his work was widely acclaimed; some of his "camera paintings", as he called them, are still masterpieces. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 1911.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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KEITH, Thomas b. 1827; d. 1895 Dr. Thomas Keith was a gynaecologist in Edinburgh who took up amateur photography. His pictures of architecture and landscape, on the waxed paper process, are of a high artistic appeal. He worked in Scotland in the mid 'fifties.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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KIRCHER, Athanasius b. 1601; d. 1688 Athanasius Kircher was a leading scholar in his time of natural sciences and mathematics. His major work was "Ars magna lucis et umbrae" published in Rome in 1646. In his revised publication, printed twenty five years later, he shows a picture of a camera obscura with an opening in the floor through which the artist entered. Kircher also gave a description of a magic lantern: "Make ... a wooden box and put on it a chimney, so that the smoke of the lamp in the box is on a level with the opening, and insert in the opening a pipe or tube. The tube must contain a very good lens, but at the end of the tube...fasten the small glass plate, on which is painted an image in transparent water colours. Then the light of the lamp, penetrating through the lens and through the image on the glass (which is to be inserted... upside down) will throw an upright, enlarged coloured image on the white wall opposite. In order to increase the strength of the light, it is necessary to place a concave mirror behind .. the lamp." Actually, the illustrator got it wrong, in that he placed the transparency in front of the lens, which would not have projected it. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LAROCHE, Martin b. 1809; d. 1886 Laroche (his real name was William Henry Sylvester) was a Canadian photographer who opened up a studio in Oxford Street, London, working with the collodion process. He is particularly remembered as the defendant, in 1854, in a test case pressed by Fox Talbot, who was claiming that the collodion process came under his own calotype one. On 20 December the case was thrown out. Later, Fox Talbot wrote to his wife Constance: "The jury understood little of the subject, trusting to the judge" whilst the judge, in summing up, had commented "It is....difficult to understand the subject, particularly as I know nothing about it...I am sorry to say the case kept me awake all last night...." The court's decision was significant, for it meant that the process, invented by Frederick Scott Archer, and made freely available by him, was now available for all to use either in an amateur or commercial capacity. Fox Talbot decided not to appeal against the decision and, now recognising that the collodion process was not only free but faster, did not renew his patent for the calotype process; from this time onwards another restriction to the development of photography had been removed.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LARTIGUE, Jacques-Henri b. 13 June 1894; d. 12 September 1986 Lartigue was a French photographer, largely unknown until he was in his seventies, when he was immediately dubbed the "discovery of the century." He started taking pictures at the age of six, and one of his most famous pictures was taken at Grand Prix in 1912 when he was aged eighteen. In this picture he panned the camera so that the car is sharp. The elliptical shape of the wheel and the angle at which the spectators were standing are due to the fact that Lartigue used a focal-plane shutter. He had obviously panned the camera to keep the vehicle sharp; whether the effect caused by the focalplane shutter was intended or whether it was the result of a lucky accident we are not told! Lartigue's interest in photography waned after the first World War, in favour of painting. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LE GRAY, Gustave b. 1820; d.1882 Le Grey was a French artist who began to take photographs towards the end of the 1840s, and who set up a portrait studio in Paris. He made pictures of landscapes and seascapes. However, he is better known for having introduced the waxed paper process, in which a negative was made on paper which had been permeated with wax. This improved the transparency of the paper, and therefore greater definition. Another advantage of this process was that this sensitised waxed paper (though a little slower than the calotype) would be kept for up to two weeks before use, whereas the conventional calotype could only be kept one day. In 1850 produced a book entitled "A practical treatise on Photography" by which time he was a practising teacher. Le Gray created a sensation in 1856 when his picture "Brig upon the Water" was exhibited at the Photographic Society of London's annual exhibition. Up till that time, because photographic materials were not sensitive to red and highly sensitive to blue, landscape pictures tended to have over-exposed skies which appeared white. Le Gray's picture showed a pleasing representation of sky and sea on one print. Some history books claim that this had been achieved on one negative because it so happened that the luminosity of the foreground was similar to that of the sky, others claim that two negatives were used, and that this was the first example of combination printing. Whatever the case, this prompted photographers all the more to address themselves to ensuring that outdoor scenes were more aesthetically rendered. The print itself remains in the possession of the Royal Photographic Society, and on the mount is written "The great sensation of 1856". In 1861 Le Gray retired from photography (ostensibly because of the carte-de-visite boom) and was appointed Professor of Drawing in Cairo.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LE SECQ, Henri b. 1818; d. 1882 The French government, having made the Daguerreotype process free to the world, was quick to make use of photography, and one of its first actions, in 1851, was to assign five photographers to conduct a survey of monuments and buildings of architectural significance. Le Secq was one of these, others including Bayard and Le Gray. Le Secq's photographs include images of the cathedrals at Rheims and Chartres. Some of his other work (including an illustrated guide to Amiens) reveals him to have been an artist of considerable delicacy.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LLEWELYN, John Dillwyn b. 12 January 1810; d. 24 August 1882 The eldest son and second child of Lewis Weston Dillwyn FRS, FLS and Mary. Lewis West Dillwyn was a distinguished botanist and a member of the First Reformed Parliament. John, originally Dillwyn, added his maternal grandfather's name upon coming of age and inheriting his estates near Swansea, south Wales. He married Emma Thomasina Talbot, a first cousin of Henry Fox Talbot. He was distantly related to his friend and fellow photographer Calvert Richard Jones. Llewelyn was making images within days of Talbot's announcement and it is possible he had prior knowledge from his mother-in-law, Lady Mary Cole, who had visited Talbot in 1838. Llewelyn was a founder Council Member of the Photographic Society of London, and remained on the Council until 1857. He exhibited at their exhibitions and at the Exposition Universelle, Paris 1855, where he won a silver medal for his 'Motion Series' of four instantaneous images. Talbot regarded Llewelyn as the first botanical photographer, and botanical daguerreotypes are recorded by Kew Gardens as early as 1842, though these are now lost. In 1856 he discovered the Oxymel process, an early form of dry plate photography. He claimed to have used all the known early processes and continuously experimented with variations on these. He worked with Antoine Claudet on the daguerreotype process, though no details survive beyond diary references. Some of his images were published in "The Sunbeam" by his friend Philip Delamotte and also in the Photographic Exchange albums. Other members of the family who were photographers were his wife Emma, who did all his printing, his daughter Thereza, his sister Mary Dillwyn, his uncle by marriage Richard Dykes Alexander of Ipswich and his wife's cousin Jane St John. Llewelyn was also a member of the Amateur Photographic Association and was on their council.

I am grateful to Richard Morris FRPS for information on John Llwelwyn. Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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LUMIERE, Louis and Auguste Louis: b. 1862; d. 1954 Auguste: b. 1864; d. 1948 The Lumière brothers made a distinctive contribution to photography in various areas. They are perhaps best known for having produced a Cinematograph camera in 1895, using a claw movement which advanced the film, a principle which still applies in motion photography today. They also produced the Autochrome plate in 1907, the first practical colour photography process. Louis received the Progress Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in 1909.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MAREY, Etienne Jules b. 5 March 1830; d. 15 May 1904 Marey started his career as an assistant surgeon in 1855, and specialised in human and animal physiology. In 1867 he became Professor of Natural History. He was the inventor of the "chronophotograph" (1887) from which modern cinematography was developed. Some in fact see Marey, rather than the Lumière brothers, as the true father of cine photography. Whereas Muybridge (with whom Marey was frequently in contact) had used a number of cameras to study movement, Marey used only one, the movements being recorded on one photographic plate. Characteristic of his pictures were his studies of the human in motion, where the subjects wore black suits with metal strips or white lines, as they passed in front of the black backdrops. For those who think slow motion photography is relatively new, Marey also invented a slow motion camera in 1894, which took pictures at the rate of 700 per second!

Š Robert Leggat, 2001

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MARTIN, Paul Augustus b. 16 April 1864; d. 7 July 1944 Paul Martin was born in Alcase-Lorraine, but in the wake of the Franco-Prussian war and the Paris Commune his family fled to England when he was a child. His first experiments in photography started when he was ten years old, but he was nineteen before he started taking photography seriously. In 1892 he purchased an unusual camera called the "Facile", a large box that looked like a brown paper parcel which was held under the arm, and which gave him the opportunity to take some excellent candid photographs of scenes in London. He is particularly remembered for his striking pictures depicting London by night, taken in 1895-6. This series, known as "London by Gaslight" earned him the Royal Photographic Society medal. Because the pictures are candid, Martin's photographs have an honest, unpretentious style. Though some members of the photographic world looked down on this type of work, he was unperturbed, and his work gives us an insight into life in London which few photographs of the time come anywhere near to doing. Writing later about these times, Martin felt that there was far too lofty and rigid an idea as to what constituted "good" photography: "....two principal exhibition societies, representing the official photographic sentiment of the day, were not encouraging towards the type of subject which I was then taking. There was more outlet in the suburban clubs, but even there many members regarded some of my studies as rather infra dig or even shocking. They felt that a plate demanded a noble and dignified subject, a cathedral or mountain." He was encouraged in his work by George Davidson, a fellow member of his local photographic society and an influential contemporary. He also became a member of the Linked Ring. Martin would not have called himself a documentary photographer; his interest was simply to portray human beings candidly, without people posing.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MAXWELL, James Clerk b. 13 November 1831; d. 5 November 1879 Dr. James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish physicist who made some far-reaching advances on electromagnetism. He held Professorships in a number of institutions, becoming the first Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University in 1871. His contribution in photography was in his studies of colour. Lecturing at the Royal Institution in London (May 1861) he was the first to demonstrate that by taking three pictures, each through a primary colour filter, and projecting the three using corresponding filters, so that they overlapped, colour pictures could be re-created. In working on his colour theories he collaborated with Thomas Sutton.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MAYALL, John Jabez Edwin b. 1810; d. 6 Mar 1901 Mayall was an American photographer. After a period as a photographer in Philadelphia he came to work in London for nearly twenty years, for some time managing the studio owned by Antoine Claudet, and then practised in Brighton. He brought from France the albumen process in 1851. He then turned to the carte-de-visite, began mass production of these, from which he made a fortune, producing, it is said, some half a million of these a year. His series of portraits of the Royal Family, taken in the 1860s, were enormously successful. The Photographic News of 1861 relates an incident which took place in his studio: A lady who had been photographed by Mayall's assistant, and who had taken a dislike to the results, complained to Mayall who, having learned of the situation from the assistant immediately offered to photograph her again. Placing a seat with its back towards the camera, he solemnly asked her to be seated. He then placed the headrest towards her forehead, and asked her to keep very still. At this point the lady exclaimed that he was about to take a photograph of the back of her head, whereupon Mayall, with utmost politeness, said that having seen the Daguerreotype pictures, which he thought to be good likenesses of her, the only option left was to try a portrait in which the face would be entirely absent! Fortunately the client saw the funny side of this charade, looked again at the previous pictures, and bought a few. Mayall was a strong supporter of Frederick Scott Archer, and upon his death he was instrumental in organising a Testimonial for his widow and three children.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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McKELLEN, Samuel Dunseith b.1836 d. Dec 26, 1906 History can sometimes be unkind to those who do not publicise themselves, and this is certainly true in the case of Samuel McKellen, who died penniless and unknown and lies in an unmarked grave in Chorlton. And had it not been for a letter received recently from his grandson, I confess that I would not have known about this pioneer. It says much the Photographic Journal, announcing his death, felt it necessary to comment "The present generation may or may not be aware that Mr. McKellen was the father of the modern camera." Samual McKellen was a watch and clockmaker, and also had developed a passion for photography, his first camera, in the late 1850s, having been made out of a cigar box and spectacle lens! The British Journal of Photography for Oct 31, 1884, describes enthusiastically his camera which was displayed at an exhibition by the Photographic Society of Great Britain. It almost did not make the exhibition at all, for the camera, ready for transport, was accidentally sold to a customer without McKellen's knowledge! Those who screw tripod or pan and tilt heads into cameras have McKellen to thank for, as it was he who in January 1884 patented the little opening in the bottom of a camera, into which the tripod screw is inserted. One novelty was McKellen's detective camera, shaped like an attache case. But it was his rack and pinion camera that most excited people at the time. Initially McKellen had no intention to sell cameras but simply wanted to advance photography; however the huge demand at the time caused him to change his course. According to the British Journal of Photography, his factory in Manchester developed to the extent of employing thirty-five skilled workmen. In the 1880s professional cameras were heavy, so he decided to use his skills to design a light, versatile camera. Writing about his invention, McKellen states: "..an enthusiastic photographer, I had often realized that the labour and fatigue of a day's tramp with even a half-plate Camera and a dozen of plates, were considerably more than was pleasant, and not infrequently deprived the results obtained of much of their value." The year 1884 saw McKellen being awarded the Photographic Society's Prize Medal for his camera. In fact, this was a singular honour; in presenting the prize the President of the Society, James Glashier commented: "The Society has never until now seern its way to giving a medal for apparatus, but your Camera has in it so many new points, is so compact, so easily worked, so light, yet so firm, so simple in its movements, and is such a distinct stride in advance, that they have felt constrained to grant a medal for it. And I congratulate you on what may fairly be called The Camera of the Future." A contemporary instrument called the "Tourist Portable camera" weighed in at approximately 40 lbs, and its cubic contents were about 2300 inches. By comparison McKellen's weighed only 15lbs, its cubic contents 850 inches. The letters of congratulation both to the inventor and to the British Jounral of Photography were wildly


enthusiastic, to the extent that one finds it difficult to understand why he has subsequently become largely forgotten. Despite the lavish obituary in the Photographic Journal, regrettably McKellen died in poverty because though he was a brilliant inventor, he did not have much of a business sense, and did not pursue his patents.

I am most grateful to McKellen's grandson, John McKellen, for this information, without which I confess I would never have heard of this remarkable man. Š Robert Leggat, 1998.

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MORSE, Samuel Finley Breese b. 27 April 1791; d. 2 April 1872 Samuel Morse was an accomplished American artist, particularly of miniatures, and an inventor. He studied at Yale University, and then came to England for art training under the direction of Benjamin West. During his visit to France in 1838, Morse met Louis Daguerre, and they became good friends; Morse then became one of the first to practise using daguerreotypes in the United States, sharing a studio with John W. Draper, a chemistry expert. One of his students was Mathew Brady, who became one of the greatest documentary photographers. Morse's first portraits were made using exposures of between 10 and 20 minutes, which must have been an unbelievable ordeal to the sitters! His pictures of his class reunion, taken in 1840, is the first known group portrait. Morse is more popularly known for the signalling code that bears his name, and his development of the electric telegraph.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MORTIMER, Francis James b. 1874; d. 1944

Francis Mortimer, a keen yachtsman, is best known for his dramatic sea-scapes, many being combination prints, coupled with other manipulations. He was elected a member of the Linked Ring in 1907; it was he, in fact, who was instrumental in its demise only a couple of years later, when editor of "Amateur Photographer." In fact, his main sphere of influence lay in the various editorships of photographic journals, including "Photograms of the Year." One of Mortimer's most famous pictures is the "Gate of Goodbye" - a combination print made from a number of negatives, the background being the archway leading to Waterloo station, where many families parted with their sons and husbands, as they set off to the war. Mortimer was a close friend of Lord Carnarvon, an Egyptologist who was one of the two who discovered the Tutankhamen treasures. It is said that on one of his frequent visits to show photographs, he was often greeted with "What a wonderful lens your camera has", which he found distinctly irritating. He got his own back; when one of Carnarvon's guests displayed the grouse he had shot that day, Mortimer beamed with admiration, and then said "What a superb gun you must have!" Though Mortimer was an influential person who in his lifetime received many honours, his dislike for what he saw as "American temporary art crazes" left Britain somewhat isolated in the photographic world after the first World War. As a result he tends - quite undeservedly - to be largely ignored in modern photographic history books.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MUDD, James Little is known of this photographer other than he worked in Manchester as a portrait photographer and that he produced some interesting landscape pictures, one of which showed the effect of a damburst in 1864, near Sheffield. It would seem that he was also commissioned by Francis Frith to photograph scenes and buildings in his home city. In 1866 he wrote a book entitled "The Collodio-Albumen process" and other papers. The earliest of his pictures date to about 1852, and are to be found in the Kodak Museum, Manchester Central Library, and in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Significant PEOPLE in the early history of Photography N-S ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Nadar Negre, Charles Nicholls, Horace Niépce, Joseph O'Sullivan, Timothy Petzval, Josef Max Polak, Richard Ponting, Herbert Price, William Lake Ray, Man Rejlander, Oscar Riis, Jacob Roberts, Robert Evan Robertson, James Robinson, Henry Peach Rosling, Alfred Salomon, Erich Schulze, Johann Heinrich Shadbolt, George Shaw, George Bernard Snelling, Henry H Steichen, Edward Jean Stieglitz, Alfred Stone, John Benjamin Strand, Paul Sutcliffe, Frank Sutton, Thomas

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NADAR b. 5 April 1820; d. 1910 His real name was Gaspard-Felix Tournachon. He was a colourful French caricaturist, writer, portrait photographer and balloonist, and flamboyant showman. Nadar was derived from his nickname ("tourne a dard") meaning "bitter sting", which he earned for his caricatures. He owned a portrait studio with his brother Adrien, from 1853, in the Rue St. Lazare, Paris. Combining his interest in balloon flying, in 1858 he received a patent for this, and became the first to take pictures from the air. His balloon was enormous, had a two-story gondola, capable of carrying up to fifty men. The balloon had its own darkroom, the process at the time requiring exposure and development whilst the plate was still wet. Two years later capped this by photographing the Paris sewers, using electric light. He photographed many famous people, including Liszt, Balzac, Delacroix, Emile Zola and Rossini. One of his pictures is that of Victor Hugo, whom he had known for many years, on his death bed, 1885. Though he photographed many women, it is said that he preferred not to, saying that "the images are too true to Nature to please the sitters, even the most beautiful". His studio became the meeting place for great artists of the day, and in 1874 it housed the first Impressionist exhibition. In 1857, when establishing his right before a tribunal to use the name "Nadar" he made the following observation: "The theory of photography can be taught in an hour; the first ideas of how to go about it in a day. What can't be taught... is the feeling for light - the artistic appreciation of effects produced by different...sources; it's the understanding of this or that effect following the lines of the features which required your artistic perception. What is taught even less, is the immediate understanding of your subject - it's this immediate contact which can put you in sympathy with the sitter, helps you to sum them up, follow their normal attitudes, their ideas, according to their personality, and enables you to make not just a chancy, dreary cardboard copy typical of the merest hack in the darkroom, but a likeness of the most intimate and happy kind...."

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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NEGRE, Charles b. 9 May 1820; d. 16 January 1880 Negre was born in Grasse in 1820. At the age of 19 he went to Paris, where he enrolled as a pupil in the studio of a master painter Paul Delaroche. In 1844 he saw a demonstration of the daguerreotype process, and a few years later began to make his own. Three years later he turned to making calotypes. He often retouched his negatives, shading areas and accentuating tonal contrasts. His work includes the recording of lifestyles of working class people, studies of street life (for example, of chimney sweeps) and architecture. Though he was active as a photographer for only ten years or so, he is regarded as a particularly talented one. His architectural pictures (he photographed all the monuments in Paris - quite an undertaking) are far more than merely topographical, they are creative as well.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997. Last updated undefined


NICHOLLS, Horace b. 1867; d. 1941 Horace W. Nicholls is another of the early documentary photographers. He was born in Cambridge, and became a full-time freelance photo-journalist. He documented the Boer War (1899- 1901), and also produced pictures showing the harsh life in the gold and diamond mines in Africa, including the degrading examination of workers to ensure that they were not seeking to take away any diamonds after a day's work. Nicholls was also responsible for a famous series entitled "Women at War", in the first world war, in a remarkably modern style. He is also remembered for his pictures of people at social events such as Henley and Derby and Ascot days, just preceding the first World War. His photographs appeared in the Daily Mirror, Tatler and Illustrated London News.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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O'SULLIVAN, Timothy H. b. about 1840; d. 14 January 1882 An American, O'Sullivan was the youngest and one of the most talented of the photographic team led by Mathew Brady, and a fine photographer of the American Civil War. Like Alexander Gardner, he left Brady's firm because he felt that he was not receiving sufficient reward either financially or in terms of reputation (Brady insisted that all photographs taken by his employees bear his name). Although he had a short life, dying at the age of 41 of tuberculosis, it was nevertheless an adventurous one. He was official photographer on some U.S. government expeditions, from 1869, and was appointed chief photographer for the US Treasury in 1880. His work, much of which is quite spectacular, can be seen at the National Archives and at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, and at New York Public Library's Rare book room.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999. Last updated undefined


PETZVAL, Josef Max b. 6 January 1807; d. 17 September 1891 A Hungarian optician, Petzval was professor of Mathematics at the University of Vienna. He played a leading part in early photography by devising a portrait lens with an aperture of approximately f3.6 gathering sixteen times more light than lenses currently in use at the time. which brought exposure times down to less than a minute, therefore began to pave the way for portraiture. This lens, which was made by his compatriot Peter Friedrich Voigtlander in 1841, was popularly used well into this century. Sadly Petzval did not profit from this invention, unlike Voigtlander, with whom he had fallen out because he felt he had been cheated. Petzval died an embittered and impoverished man; Voigtlander old and rich two years later, having seen his firm expand from a small optical shop to a major industrial enterprise thanks to the success of the Petzval lens.

Š Robert Leggat, 1998.

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POLAK, Richard b. 1870; d. 1957 Richard Polak was born in Holland. His photographic career was short, starting in 1912 and ending three years later because he suffered from bad health. He sought to imitate the work of painters such as Vermeer, and some of his work imitates early Dutch paintings. He found it difficult to rent a suitable studio in Rotterdam, but eventually discovered the ideal room, with a good north light, the only drawback being that one had to approach it through a trap door. He then spent a considerable amount of money furnishing this with accessories bought at antique shops. His folio of pictures, "Photographs from Life in Old Dutch Costume" contains many repetitive and frankly unsuccessful attempts at recreating scenes from the past. At worst his work may be seen as that of someone with more money than sense, but there is nevertheless a quaintness in his work which makes his contribution worth mentioning. His best-known picture is "Artist and his Model" (1914) In January 1915 he was elected to the London Salon of Photography. His photographic career was a short one; he had to give it up for health reasons.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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PONTING, Herbert b. 1870; d. 1935 Herbert Pointing was a travel photographer active at the turn of the century, and is particularly remembered for his coverage, in 1911, of the ill-fated expedition by Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole. It would seem that Ponting did not enjoy the long journey by ship; Scott wrote: "Pointing cannot face meals but sticks to his work constantly being sick...with a developing dish in one hand, and an ordinary basin in the other!" However, the results, when he reached the Antarctic, were spectacular. Those who find a tripod an encumbrance might spare some thought for Ponting who, when travelling had to pull a one-man sledge with 400lb. of photographic and camping equipment on it! Ponting did not go on the final journey and when, on the way back, Captain Scott and his team died, he sought to preserve the memory of his employer in a book published in 1921, and in a film several years later.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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PRICE, William Lake b. 1810; d.1896 William Lake Price was a painter who specialised in watercolours. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, and published several illustrated books. In 1854 he began to take up photography, and soon became known as one of the leaders of a new art movement. Combination printing had been used by photographers to print clouds into an otherwise blank sky, but Price and others began to exploit this idea with the intention of creating compositions. In 1855 he exhibited reconstructed historical scenes, one of which was described by Henry Peach Robinson as "the most important completely studied picture up to that time", another as "picture of the year." The public welcomed his pictures, but there were also many critics. One wrote "...photographic rendering of historical or poetic subjects give at best only the impression of a scene on a stage." He also took several stereoscopic pictures, and published a "Manual of Photographic Manipulation" (1858), a practical book which was revised some years later.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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RAY, Man b. 27 August 1890; d. 18 November 1975 Man Ray (his real name was Emmanuel Rudnitsky) was born in Philadelphia, and studied at the Academy of Art, New York. He was a painter and sculptor in the surrealist and abstract movements of the 1920s and beyond. He started photography in 1915, having been introduced to it by Alfred Stieglitz. He also made Rayographs, which were artistic photograms using three dimensional opaque and translucent objects. Man Ray was born somewhat later than the time when controversy over art "versus" photography raged (See Artists and Photography) but his comments put this issue into perspective: "There are purists in all forms of expression. There are photographers who maintain that this medium has no relation to painting. There are painters who despise photography, although in the last century have been inspired by it and used it. There are architects who refuse to hang a painting in their buildings maintaining that their own work is a complete expression. In the same spirit, when the automobile arrived, there were those that declared the horse to be the most perfect form of locomotion. All these attitudes result from a fear that the one will replace the other. Nothing of the kind happened. We have simply increased our range, our vocabulary. I see no one trying to abolish the automobile because we have the airplane. I was very fortunate in starting my career as a painter. When first confronted with a camera, I was very much intimidated. So I decided to investigate. But I maintained the approach of a painter to such a degree that I have been accused of trying to make a photograph look like a painting. I did not have to try, it just turned out that way because of my background and training. Many years ago I had conceived the idea of making a painting look like a photograph! There was a valid reason for this. I wished to distract the attention from any manual dexterity, so that the basic idea stood out. Of course there will always be those who look at works with a magnifying glass and try to see "how", instead of using their brains and figure out "why". A book was once published of twenty photographs by twenty photographers, of the same model. They were as different as twenty paintings of the same model. Which was proof, once and for all, of the flexibility of the camera and its validity as an instrument of expression. There are many paintings and buildings that are not works of art. It is the man behind whatever instrument who determines the work of art." "Some of the most complete and satisfying works of art have been produced when their authors had no idea of creating a work of art, but were concerned with the expression of an idea. Nature does not create works of art. It is we, and the faculty of interpretation peculiar to the human mind, that see art." Man Ray eventually came to see painting as an obsolete form of expression, which photography would replace once the public was visually educated. One of his admirers, Jean Cocteau, called him the "poet of the darkroom."


Š Robert Leggat, 2000.

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REJLANDER, OSCAR GUSTAVE b. 1817; d. 1875 Rejlander was a Swede who studied painting in Italy. He settled in England in the 1840s, and inspired by one of Fox Talbot's assistants he turned his energies to photography, round about 1855, living first in Wolverhampton, later in London. His most famous photograph is allegorical; called "The two ways of life", it depicts a sage guiding two young men towards manhood. One looks with some eagerness towards gambling, wine, prostitution and idling, whilst the other looks (with somewhat less enthusiasm!) towards figures representing religion, industry, families and good works. In the centre appears the veiled, partly clothed figure symbolising repentance and turning towards the good.

Shown in 1857 at an exhibition in Manchester, it provoked considerable controversy. Victorians were quite used to the portrayal of nakedness in paintings and sculptures, but photographs were so true to life that even though the posing was discreet, this was too much. At one stage this photograph went to Scotland to be exhibited and, so the story goes, the picture was considered so controversial that the left hand side of the picture was concealed, only the right side being shown. However, there were others who saw in this picture a valiant attempt to use photography in a domain which up to that time painters had dominated, and when Queen Victoria purchased a copy for her husband (at ten guineas), this seemed to make his photograph respectable! Such a picture would have required a large studio and an immense amount of light. What makes this photograph such a remarkable piece of work is that the event never took place, because it is a combination print using a number of negatives - no fewer than thirty. The groups were photographed individually, the models being strolling players. The print itself is huge (30" by 16"). A reviewer in Photographic Notes (28 April 1857) described it as: "....magnificent....decidedly the finest photograph of its class ever pronounced..."


In 1858 Rejlander read a paper to the Photographic Society, outlining the meaning of every figure in the photograph. Henry Peach Robinson, writing about him, found that his honesty and helpfulness sometimes went awfully wrong: "With the generous intention of being of use to photographers, and to further the cause of art he, unfortunately, described the method by which the picture had been done; the little tricks and dodges to which he had to resort; how, for want of classic architecture for his background, he had to be content with a small portico in a friend's garden; how bits of drapery had to do duty for voluminous curtains.... (He) thereby gave the clever critics the clue they wanted, and enabled the little souls to declare that the picture was only a thing of shreds and patches. It is so much easier to call a picture a patchwork combination than to understand the inner meaning of so superb a work as this masterpiece of Rejlander's!" Rejlander, a man who, Robinson said, was never known to use a word that would hurt the feelings of others, was clearly crushed by this reaction: "the time will come when a work will be judged on its merits, not by the method of production....." The theme of this famous print most will now find quaint, but his painstaking perseverance no-one can help but admire greatly. It had taken Rejlander and his wife no less than six weeks to produce it (one could only print by daylight) and the exposures were up to two hours, each very carefully done with masks. Incidentally, there are two versions of this picture. In the second one the Philosopher is looking towards the side that shows virtue. We are not told why this second print was made, but given the nature of the subject it may well be that someone had pointed out to the poor couple that the Philosopher himself seemed more interested in vice than on virtue, so they felt obliged to have another go at printing it! Another popular one is a self-portrait depicting Rejlander the Artist introducing Rejlander the volunteer. The double exposure is not so successful; in the centre, on the lower part of the floor, one can see a darker tone where he has evidently attempted to shade the print. Rejlander, in fact, produced a number of pictures on other themes, and Charles Darwin used him to illustrate his book entitled "The expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" (1872). Some of Rejlander's photographs are not very dissimilar from Surrealist photographs of the 1920s. Rejlander was an inventive person. His studio was unusual; shaped like a cone, the camera would be in the narrow part, the sitters at the opposite end. The camera was in shadow so that the sitters were less aware of it. It is said that he used to estimate his exposure by bringing his cat into the studio; if the cat's eyes were like slits he would give use a fairly short exposure. If they were a little more open than usual he would give extra exposure, whilst if the pupils were totally dilated he would admit defeat, put the lens cap on the lens and go out for a walk! This interesting man must surely be the first person to use a cat as an exposure meter! A number of his pictures were bought by Prince Albert. However, Rejlander remained in poverty. In 1859 he wrote:


"I am tired of photography-for-the-public, particularly composite photographs, for there can be no gain and there is no honour, only cavil and misrepresentation." He eventually returned to painting, but to little gain, and died in poverty. The RPS has quite a large Rejlander collection of about 80 prints, some original albumen, some later platinum and carbon reprints and 57 wet collodion negatives.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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RIIS, Jacob b. 3 May 1849; d. 26 March 1914 Jacob Riis arrived in America as an immigrant from Denmark at the age of 21. He found life hard, and only just made a living as a police court reporter for the New York Tribune. By the end of the 1880s photography was becoming cheaper, and he hit on the idea of using photography to draw attention to the conditions under which the poor in America (particularly the immigrants) were living. He was clearly committed to this cause, and as a Sunday school teacher he had successfully encouraged his students to become involved in numerous fund-raising activities to help the poor. His first book, "How the other half lives," exposed the appalling conditions of the time. It caused a considerable stir. One day Riis returned to his office to find a note reading "I have read your book and I have come to help." It was from the (then) head of the New York Police Board of Commissioners, Theodore Roosevelt, later to become President of the United States. Moved by the photographs Riis had taken he was instrumental in securing a number of reforms. Riis was offered public office on more than one occasion, but always refused. Many of his photographs needed to be taken at night. His artificial lighting consisted of open flash, for which he used a frying pan. Twice he set fire to the places he visited, once he set fire to his own clothes, and on another occasion he almost blinded himself. An article in the Sun (New York) for 12 February 1888 described his antics: "With their way illuminated by spasmodic flashes... a mysterious party has been startling the town o' nights. Somnolent policemen on the street... tramps and bummers in their so-called lodgings, and all the people of the wild and wonderful variety of New York night life have in their turn marvelled at and been frightened by the phenomenon. What they saw was three or four figures in the gloom, a ghostly tripod, some weird and uncanny movements, the blinding flash, and then they heard the patter of retreating footsteps, and the mysterious visitors were gone before they could collect their thoughts and try to find out what is was all about.... The party consisted of members of the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York experimenting with the process of taking instantaneous pictures by an artificial flash light, and their guide and conductor, an energetic gentleman who combines in his person... the two dignitaries of deacon in a Long Island church and a police reporter in New York....." Other books by Riis include "Children of the Tenements" (1903) and "Children of the Poor" (1892). "How the other half lives" can be seen here.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ROBERTS, Robert Evan In 1854 the governor of Bristol Gaol, James Gardener, produced a Home Office report advocating the use of photography as an aid to the administration of criminal justice. Robert Evan Roberts was the first known English prison governor to use photography for identification purposes. A governor at Bedford prison (1853- 1885), he was convinced that habitual offenders were getting off with relatively light sentences because there were inadequate records. In 1859 he started to photograph all the prisoners in his gaol, and two years later was given an allowance of seven pounds a year for materials. The practice was taken up by several other counties, but it was quite some time before photographic records became standard practice. However, he was not actually the first to take pictures of prisoners. The New York Illustrated News for 19 March, 1851 reads: "Major Gilpin, of Philadelphia, has had daguerreotypes taken of all the noted characters arrested within the past year or two, and he has now quite a gallery of the celebrities. This is an excellent police arrangement."

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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ROBERTSON, James b. early 1900; date of death not known Robertson was an early war photographer, who covered the Crimean War (1855) and the Indian Mutiny (1857), a sequel to the work by Fenton. In 1857 he was appointed official photographer to the British forces in India. Some of Robertson's photographs of the aftermath of the siege of Lucknow in 1858 are quite harrowing. Together with his assistant, Felice Beato, he photographed views of Athens, Malta and Constantinople, and they both continued to visit the Middle East after the Crimean War. Some of his work may be seen at the Indian Record Office, the Imperial War Museum and at the Victoria and Albert Museum, all in London.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ROBINSON, Henry Peach

b. 9 July 1830; d. 21 February 1901 Henry Peach Robinson was a pioneer of pictorialist photography, earned the term "the King of photographic picture-making", and was certainly one of the greatest photographers of his time. He was very influential until the time of Peter Henry Emerson, who introduced naturalistic photography. He was greatly influenced by the paintings of J.M.W. Turner, and numerous references to him appear in his writings. At 19 he practised as an artist, and exhibited an oil painting at the Royal Academy of Art, in 1852. That same year he began taking photographs, and five years later decided to make a living out it, and opened a studio in Leamington Spa, selling portraits. He later established another studio in Kent. The picture shown here is "Seascape at night", produced in 1870. In 1850 he was introduced to photography, being given instruction on the calotype process by Hugh Diamond, and he also learned how to use collodion. In fact, it was Diamond who most influenced his life and encouraged him to become proficient in photography. In 1857 he abandoned book-selling to become a professional photographer. His first advertisement, dated January 1857, gives details of the "going rate" at the time. A portrait up to whole plate (8" by 6") cost 10/6 (just over fifty pence), 15/- (75p) if two sitters were in the same photograph. Additional services included tinting the hands and face, which doubled the cost of the portrait. The last paragraph contains some remarks on dress: "Dark Silks and Satins are most suitable for Ladies' Dresses, Black Velvet is somewhat objectionable. White and Light Blue should be avoided if possible." One of his novelties was the vignetting of prints; there remain some quite appealing examples of his portraiture using this technique.


Others, particularly the Lady of Shallot (1882), Autumn (1863) are in the Pre-Raphaelite style, which had greatly impressed him in the 1850s. The limitations of photography caused him to perfect the idea of combination printing, for which he is particularly remembered; it is possible that he was first introduced to this technique by Oscar Rejlander, one of his friends. The technical difficulty of portraying sky as well as subject on the same negative caused him to accumulate a stock of negatives of the sky, to be incorporated into his pictures. Perhaps the most famous of his pictures is Fading Away (1858), a composition of five negatives, in which he depicts a girl dying of consumption (which we know as tuberculosis), and the despair of the other members of the family. This was a controversial photograph, and some felt that the subject was not suitable for photography. One critic said that Robinson had cashed in on "the most painful sentiments which it is the lot of human beings to experience." It would seem that it was perfectly in order for painters to paint pictures on such themes, but not for photographers to do so. However, the picture captured the imagination of Prince Albert, who bought a copy and issued an order for every composite portrait he produced subsequently. Fading Away is a composition of five negatives. If one examines a large copy of a print closely one can see the "joins", particularly the triangle of grey with no detail in it. One has to remember, of course, that these were contact prints - there were no means of enlarging at that time. Already at this period there were shades of the conflict between the art and science of photography. The Secretary of the Society and Editor of the Journal, Sir William Crookes, is quoted in Robinson's autobiography: "The secretary at that time was an unsympathetic chemist and all he could see in the picture in what he thought was a ''join,' an imaginary enormity which afforded a text on which he waxed eloquent." It is clear that many who admired "Fading Away" had no idea that it was a combination print and when, in 1860, Robinson outlined his methods at a meeting of the Photographic Society of Scotland, he was greeted with howls of protest from people who seemed to feel that they had been deceived. There was much discussion about what one correspondent referred to as "Patchwork", rather than composition, and Robinson began to conclude that perhaps it might be better in future not to divulge the secrets of his craft, but leave people to enjoy the finished product! However, in "Pictorial Effect in Photography" (1867), a major literary work, Robinson wrote: "Any dodge, trick and conjuration of any kind is open to the photographer's use.... It is his imperative duty to avoid the mean, the base and the ugly, and to aim to elevate his subject.... and to correct the unpicturesque....A great deal can be done and very beautiful pictures made, by a mixture of the real and the artificial in a picture."


At a time when the Photographic Society seemed unduly obsessed with the scientific aspects of photography, Robinson was stressing the need to "see" a picture - advice which still holds good today: "However much a man might love beautiful scenery, his love for it would be greatly enhanced if he looked at it with the eye of an artist, and knew why it was beautiful. A new world is open to him who has learnt to distinguish and feel the effect of the beautiful and subtle harmonies that nature presents in all her varied aspects. Men usually see little of what is before their eyes unless they are trained to use them in a special manner." Some of his observations make sound advice today. Here is a comment on "rules" of composition: "I must warn you against a too close study of art to the exclusion of nature and the suppression of original thought.... Art rules should be a guide only to the study of nature, and not a set of fetters to confine the ideas or to depress the faculty of original interpretation in the artist, whether he be painter or photographer.... The object (of rules) is to train his mind so that he may select with ease, and, when he does select, know why one aspect of a subject is better than another." One of his most ambitious pictures was "Bringing Home the May", a large print (40 by 15 inches) composed from nine negatives. Again, this shows the same frieze-like qualities of the Pre-Raphaelite school. Perhaps the most famous is "When Day's Work is done." (See HERE for the picture and some details). The gentleman in the picture had appeared one day for a carte-de-visite, and Robinson earmarked him for this project. He then searched for a suitable old lady. Both were photographed in his studio separately and at different times, and then assembled. The print itself, which measures 20" by 24"(50cm. by 61cm.) is made up from five negatives. One of his most bitter critics was Emerson, who despised contrived photography, of which "Red Riding Hood" would be a typical example. There was a fairly heated series of interchanges between Robinson and Emerson. Reviewing in "Amateur Photographer" Robinson's print entitled "Merry Fisher Maidens" , Emerson wrote: This is an inane, flat, vapid piece of work, bigger and more worthless than ever. Its composition is childish and its sentiment puerile." Robinson, reviewing Emerson's controversial book "Natural Photography for Students" was equally caustic: "...we cannot help feeling that his system is pernicious, and excusing bad photography by calling it art... we feel it to be the imperative duty of a journal like our own to produce a disinfectant, and stop the disorder..." In 1862 Robinson was elected to serve on the Council of the Photographic Society, and continued to serve on that body until 1891 when, frustrated by the failure of the Society to recognise the artistic dimensions of photography, he resigned (whilst still its Vice-President) and formed the Linked Ring, a brotherhood that was to be very influential in photographic circles for the next twenty years. In 1900 the rift was healed when the (by now Royal) Photographic Society awarded him an Honorary Fellowship - its highest award - in recognition of his services to photography and to the Society. He is buried in Ben Hall Road Cemetery, Tunbridge Wells. He designed and carved the headstone of his grave. Though Robinson is particularly known for his combination printing, he also produced a number of pictorial photographs of woodland and other scenes. Purely as a light incidental comment, Robinson married in 1859, his wife recalling in later years that when they were married, she had been told in no unequivocal terms that it must be "photography first, wife afterwards", so she may have the distinction of being the first recorded photographic widow!

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.


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ROSLING, Alfred b.1802 Alfred Rosling was one of the earliest of photographers, and by 1846 his calotypes for the stereoscope were on sale in London. He was also involved in micro-photography. In December 1854 his "Specimens of exceedingly minute copies of Prints and Papers" together with a microscope, were on exhibition at the Royal Society of Arts. Rosling was also the first Hon. Treasurer of the Photographic Society.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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SALOMON, Erich b. 28 April 1886; d 7 July 1944 Salomon was a German photographer and one of the pioneers of modern photojournalism. He first worked as a carpenter, later reading Law at Munich. His interest in photography was aroused by the development, by Oskar Barnack of the 35mm miniature camera. Unlike its predecessors, this new format enabled one to take photographs by available light. He revelled in taking pictures in situations where cameras were not allowed, and of taking pictures of celebrities when they were off their guard, revealing expressions which they themselves might not wish to reveal in public. His camera was concealed in an attachĂŠ case. He became well known when he published pictures taken secretly at a murder trial. These proved so successful that he became a full-time professional, specialising in pictures which showed the human qualities of celebrities and politicans of his time. He had quite a knack of gate-crashing, to the extent that one premier of France, Briand, once commented that meetings would never be deemed to be important unless Salomon was there. Salomon also worked briefly in England and in the United States, and in 1931 published a book called "Celebrated Contemporaries in unguarded moments" - containing photographs of some one hundred and fifty dignitaries and celebrities of the time. During the second World War he went into hiding, but was eventually arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he died.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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SHADBOLT, George b. 1819; d. 1901 George Shadbolt was in the wood trade, a vocation which he retained throughout his working career, but he also made a distinctive contribution to the development of photography from the early 1850s. It is claimed that Shadbolt, an enthusiast in micro-photography, and sometime President of the Microscopic Society, made the first micro-photographs. One of the founders of the Photographic Society, he was also editor of the Liverpool and Manchester Journal, which subsequently became the British Journal of Photography. He put on a number of exhibitions, using the collodion process. He had an intense dislike for albumen prints, whose glossy nature he dubbed as a "vulgar glare", and preferred salted paper.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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SHAW, George Bernard b. 26 July 1856; d. 2 November 1950 George Bernard Shaw is best remembered for his fifty plays and his distinction as an essayist and wit, but he was also an enthusiastic amateur photographer, who began taking photographs in 1898. In a reply to Helmut Gernsheim as to why he had taken up photography, he wrote: "I always wanted to draw and paint. I had no literary ambition: I aspired to be a Michael Angelo, not a Shakespear (sic). But I could not draw well enough to satisfy myself; and the instruction I could get was worse than useless. So when dry plates and push buttons came into the market I bought a box camera and began pushing the button...." Evidently his success earlier on was not of the highest order. In an article written as an introduction to an exhibition by his friend Alvin Coburn (1906) he wrote: "Technically good negatives are more often the result of the survival of the fittest than of special creation: the photographer is like the cod, which lays a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity...." Shaw was an outspoken as well as knowledgeable writer and critic. He was very much against retouching; commenting in a newspaper (17 October 1888) he wrote: "....there is still far too much of the sort of work that can be seen for nothing in the shop-window, not to mention one or two examples of "retouching" which can only be compared to the pipes and moustaches with which portraits of the sovereigns of England get decorated in school histories.... Retouching claims to be an art within an art; and doubtless it is so in much the same way that conjuring as applied to table-turning is an art within an art. All the more reason for it to be artistically done. It ought, however, to be excluded from a photographic exhibition, on the simple grounds that it is not photography...." Commenting upon an exhibition in (12 October 1887) he was sufficiently unimpressed by the pictures being awarded medals to declare "At this rate of judging, a New Photographic Society will be needed unless the present one promptly mends its ways..." Indeed, only five years later this is precisely what happened, when the Linked Ring was created. In a more lighthearted vein, here is part of an article appearing in Amateur Photographer (16 October 1902). Shaw was writing about that year's exhibitions by the Royal Photographic Society and the Linked Ring, but of interest is his playful comments on what were then called "Life Studies", now more popularly known as photography of the nude: "It is impossible to contemplate the Salon walls without condoling with Mr. Steichen on the conflict between art and popular prudery. The camera can represent flesh so superbly that, if I dared, I would never photograph a figure without asking that figure to take it clothes off. I delight in mankind as nature makes it, and take such a moderate interest in mere garments that my tailor...has..had to change his name to avoid the public discredit of my callous abuse of his masterpieces...." (Shaw's poor dress sense was notorious!: "It is monstrous that custom should force us to display our faces ostentatiously, however worn and wrinkled and mean they may be, whilst carefully concealing all our other points, however shapely and well-preserved... But the avenger has come in the person of the photographer. The photographer's model, knowing that her face is the only part of her person by which she can be identified, hides that, and displays the rest recklessly. The method of concealment adopted by one of Mr. Steichen's sitters is to bury her face in a cat coiled up on the floor, thereby, of course, throwing into the most extravagant prominence those contours the very existence of what is conventionally regarded as a deplorable indiscretion of Providence, to be kept a guilty secret at all hazards. The poor lady's dilemma recurs in nearly all the figure studies.... I venture to submit a plain proposition on this subject. If sitting for a complete life-study is a misdemeanour, it should not be committed, nor should the photographer make himself accessory to it. If it is not a misdemeanour, the sitter should not be ashamed of it. To make matters worse, Mr. Steichen actually labels the lady with the cat in the American language. He calls her a "nude." This may be American modesty; but in English the adjective is only used substantively by old-fashioned dealers to denote a naughty French picture. This use of the word is also exemplified on the books entitled Nudes from the Paris Salon. Consequently English artists use the term Life Study, which is more accurate descriptively, and better grammar to boot...." Shaw was deeply impressed by the photography by Frederick Evans, and the two became life-long friends.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.


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SNELLING, Henry H b. ?; d.? Henry Snelling, an American, wrote a book entitled "The History and Practice of the Art of Photography." his work was published in 1849. He beings his work, quite uncompromisingly, with the observation: "As in all cases of great and valuable inventions in science and art the English lay claim to the honor of having first discovered that of Photogenic drawing. But we shall see in the progress of this history, that like many other assumptions of their authors, priority in this is no more due them, then the invention of steamboats, or the cotton gin." Referring to Fox Talbot, he comments: He is a man of some wealth, I believe, but he demands so high a price for a single right in this country, that none can be found who have the temerity to purchase. The execution of his pictures is also inferior to those taken by the German artists, and I would remark en passant, that the Messrs. Mead exhibited at the last fair of the American Institute, (of 1848,) four Calotypes, which one of the firm brought from Germany last Spring, that for beauty, depth of tone and excellence of execution surpass the finest steel engraving. When Mr. Talbot's patent for the United States expires and our ingenious Yankee boys have the opportunity, I have not the slightest doubt of the Calotype, in their hands, entirely superceding the Daguerreotype. His work can be found here.


STEICHEN, Eduard Jean b. 27 March 1879; d. 25 March 1973 Eduard Steichen (he later changed his name to Edward) was born in Luxembourg, and when he was still a baby the family emigrated to America. He studied painting in Paris, and had soon gained a reputation for his work in photography. In 1900 Clarence White saw his photographs and lent some encouragement to him. White also wrote to Stieglitz, who bought some of Steichen's photographs. In 1901 Steichen was elected to the Linked Ring, and the following year he became a founder of the Photo-Secession, and designed the cover for Camera Work. Until the first world war Steichen's work consisted largely of photographs in a post-impressionist style. Later he was to burn all his paintings and concentrate totally on photography. Initially his photographs show an impressionist influence, with soft focus. He later turned his style to "straight" photography. In a somewhat whimsical mood Steichen once wrote: "Some day there may be... machinery that needs but to be wound up and sent roaming o'er hill and dale, through fields and meadows, by babbling brooks and shady woods - in short, a machine that will discriminately select its subject and, by means of a skillful arrangement of springs and screws, compose its motif, expose the plate, develop, print, and even mount and frame the result of its excursion, so that there will be nothing for us to do but to send it to the Royal Photographic Society's exhibition and gratefully to receive the 'Royal Medal'."

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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STIEGLITZ, ALFRED b. January 1, 1864; d. July 13, 1946 Stieglitz, an American photographer, probably did more than any other individual to promote photography as an art at the same level as other arts, and has been dubbed the "patron saint of straight photography." It is said that at the age of eleven he had begun to take an interest in photography, and learned by observing a local portrait photographer work in the darkroom. His blunt nature often came over: on one occasion he observed the photographer re-touching a plate, and on enquiry, was told that this made the subject look more natural - to which he replied "I wouldn't do that if I were you." He studied mechanical engineering and photography at the Polytechnic of Berlin. In 1883 Stieglitz saw a camera in a shop window in Berlin, bought it, and photography in earnest began. Many years later he wrote "I bought it and carried it to my room and began to fool around with it. It fascinated me, first as a passion, then as an obsession." From 1892 he was becoming famous for his photographs of everyday life in New York and Paris. There is a tremendous atmospheric quality in many of his outdoor scenes. In the 1890s Stieglitz took a pioneer step in moving towards a hand-held camera. In "The Hand Camera - its present importance" (1897) he wrote: "The writer does not approve of complicated mechanisms, as they are sure to get out of order at important moments, thus causing considerable unnecessary swearing, and often the loss of a precious opportunity. My own camera is of the simplest pattern and has never left me in the lurch, although it has had some very tough handling... A shutter working at a speed of one-fourth to one-twenty-fifth of a second will answer all purposes. A little blur in a moving subject will often aid to giving the impression of action and motion. In order to obtain pictures by means of the hand camera it is well to choose your subject, regardless of figures, and carefully study the lines and lighting. After having determined upon these watch the passing figures and await the moment in which everything is in balance; that is, satisfied your eye. This often means hours of patient waiting. My picture, "Fifth Avenue, Winter" is the result of a three hours' stand during a fierce snow-storm on February 22nd 1893, awaiting the proper moment. My patience was duly rewarded. Of course, the result contained an element of chance, as I might have stood there for hours without succeeding in getting the desired pictures." In 1902 he became one of the founders of the Photo-Secession, a group of talented avant-garde artists. In 1905 he also founded and directed the Photo-Secession Gallery in 291 Fifth Avenue, New York, a gallery which came to be known as the "291", and which exhibited not only the work of contemporary photographers, but also works of Picasso, Rodin, Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec. Speaking in New York, in 1902, Stieglitz said "The result is the only fair basis for judgment. It is justifiable to use any means upon a negative or paper to attain the desired end." Stieglitz, committed to the idea of photography as art, often found this challenged.


"Artists who saw my early photographs began to tell me that they envied me; that my photographs were superior to their paintngs, but that unfortunately photography was not an art.... I could not understand why the artists should envy me for my work, yet, in the same breath, decry it because it was machine-made - their...'art' painting because hand-made, being considered necessarily superior....There I started my fight... for the recongition of photography as a new medium of expressions, to be respected in its own right, on the same basis as any other art form." In 1903 Stieglitz launched, edited and published Camera Work - a magazine which became world famous and continued publication for a number of years. Amateur Photographer was most enthusiastic, and on its first edition of 1903 wrote: "For Camera Work as a whole we have no words of praise too high, it stands alone; and of Mr. Alfred Stieglitz American photographers may well be proud. It is difficult to estimate how much he has done for the good of photography, working for years against opposition and without sympathy, and it is to his extraordinary capacity for work, his masterful independence which compels conviction, and his self-sacrificing devotion that we owe the beautiful work before us." In 1907, it was during a trip to Europe that one of his most well-known photographs was taken It is called "The Steerage":

"There were men and women and children on the lower deck of the steerage.... I longed to escape from my surroundings and join them.... A round straw hat, the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right.... round shapes of iron machinery... I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that, the feeling I had about life..." Stieglitz did much to promote photography, and to get it talked about. There were two stages in his


life: at first he produced somewhat romanticised pictures of an Impressionistic style, then later moving over to realism of a high order. He also had pronounced views about the current controversy over amateur photographers and the professional. Not the easiest of people to get on with, his leadership was little short of dictatorial and he was an insufferable egocentric windbag, but he made a distinct and influential contribution to the development of new styles of photography. He was a visionary of the highest order. His own photography alone makes him stand out as one of the greatest of photographers; his influence over photography has been enormous. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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STONE, John Benjamin b. 1836; d. 1914 Born in Birmingham, Sir Benjamin Stone was M.P. for the city, and a scholar with wide interests. He became a documentary worker, who photographed an enormous variety of subjects, travelled widely, and wrote several books. He is remembered for his many photographs of everyday life in Victorian England. In 1895 Stone founded the National Photographic Record Association.

A correspondent to Amateur Photographer (May 22, 1902) wrote:

“I attended the Knutsford May Day Festival on the 1st May and succeeded in obtaining a few snapshots of Sir Benjamin Stone, who was busily at work securing records of that ancient festival. I enclose the photographs, which may be interesting to your readers. In a brief conversation with Sir Benjamin he expressed the opinion that record photography had a great future before it, and would be more and more appreciated as time went on. His heart and soul is in his work, and it was a pleasure to observe with what manifest enthusiasm he made his exposures.” His prophecy was fulfilled recently when some of his pictures of Windsor Castle proved of considerable value in the wake of a fire which damaged part of the castle. His pictures included state and private apartments, the royal chapel and the library, and English Heritage used these as a reference, to help restore the building and furniture. Some of his many pictures (he left over thirty thousand negatives) are in the British Museum, others in the Birmingham Public Library. For further reading, an excellent book is CUSTOMS & FACES photographs by Sir Benjamin Stone 1938-1914 by Bill Jay See also http://www.pijiu.co.uk/photos/benjaminstone/benjaminstone.htm

© Robert Leggat, 2003.

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STRAND, Paul b. 16 October 1890; d. 31 March 1976 Paul Strand was an American who was taught photography by one of his school teachers, Lewis Hine, and who became a successful photographer. He was greatly influenced by the Photo-Secession group, and made some superb abstract close-up pictures. Initially he did some experimental work in the medium, but then moved over to what we know as straight photography - work which relied totally upon subject, viewpoint and choice of lighting, rather than upon any manipulation at either the negative or the printing stage. Some of his work appeared in the last two editions of Camera Work (1916-17). In what turned out to be the last edition, Alfred Stieglitz described Strand's work: "His work is rooted in the best tradition of photography. His vision is potential. His work is pure. It is direct. It does not rely upon tricks of process. In whatever he does there is applied intelligence. In the history of photography there are but few photographers who, from the point of view of expression, have really done much work of any importance. And by importance we mean work that has some relatively lasting quality, that element which gives all art its real significance... The work is brutally direct. Devoid of any flim-flams; devoid of trickery and any 'ism', devoid of any attempt to mystify an ignorant public...." In this edition are "Blind" and "The Fence." Both are well- known, the latter clearly ignoring the conventional rules of perspective. Strand himself wrote: "Objectivity is of the very essence of photography, its contribution and at the same time its limitation..." "Honesty no less than intensity of vision is the prerequisite of a living expression. This means a real respect for the thing in front of... the photographer... this is accomplished without tricks of process or manipulation through the use of straight photographic methods..." Strand's images were contact prints, many from 10" by 8" negatives.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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SUTCLIFFE, Frank Meadow

b. 1853; d. 1941 Sutcliffe originally started photography using wet collodion in 1875, but soon after turned towards dry plates. His artistic work centred round landscapes and life in around the fishing ports of Yorkshire.

Sutcliffe followed in the wake of Emerson, whose fame lies in the photographing of the Whitby scene. His most famous image is called "Water rats" (1886), a delightful picture which caused considerable controversy, and the wrath of the Whitby clergy for corruption of the young; it is said that they excommunicated Sutcliffe for exhibiting what they felt to be an indecent print "to the corruption of the young and the other sex". By contrast the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) purchased a copy of the picture.

What is interesting is that he had followed Emerson's suggestion that instead of having the entire picture sharp (the aim of every early photographer whether or not they succeeded) he softened part of the picture, and the background in "Water Rats" is very soft and diffuse. Sutcliffe was a member of the Photographic Society, but being opposed to the emphasis at that time on technique, left it to become a founder-member of the Linked Ring Brotherhood, 1892. He retired from photography in 1922, but remained a curator of the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society from 1923 until shortly before his death. A photographer who is regarded as a pictorialist, there is also the documentary aspect of much of his work, portraying as it does the life of the times, with their street musicians, farmers, and other ordinary people. The full extent of his contribution was not recognised until long after his death. His work may be seen at the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, Whitby. He obviously had a good sense of humour, and describes in A.P. ( March 6th, 1902) an occasion when another photographer got into difficulties: "There are two piers at Whitby, which, though starting from points widely apart, almost touch each other where they end. The one pier is given up to fashion and frivolity, the other is deserted, except by fishermen and photographers. One evening last summer, when the band was playing ".Ehren on the Rhine,” an't the sitters on the seats were tapping their feet on the ground to prevent the band playing out of time, a solitary photographer might have been seen on the other pier unpacking his apparatus. At last he had got it all unpacked, and his polished mahogany camera and lens “shone like a burning flame together” in the rays of the setting sun, towards which it was pointed. Slowly the sun sank, till it nearly touched the sea. What was the solitary photographer going to take at this time of night? The crowd on the other pier began to be interested in him.


Soon the end of one pier was crowded with people watching the solitary photgrapher on the other pier. ' He expects a ship coming in,” said one. “No, he is waiting till the lamps are lit,” said another. “He wants to take a moonlight photograph,” said a third. “No, he wants to take the sun as it dips into the sea,” said a fourth. "What beautiful legs he has got! ” said a fifth. “Yes, but his coat does not fit,” said a sixth. “And his ears stick out,” said a seventh. “Look! Look!” said everyone at once, "he is taking off the cap.” And so he was, but just as he was putting it on again, the cap fell down on to the pier; it fell on its edge and began to roll. The photographer looked at the rolling cap, then at the lens, undecided whether to rush for the cap and put it on the lens, or to take his coat off and throw over the whole camera. He decided to run after the cap, which by this time was perilously near the edge of the pier. As he did so, one of his legs got entangled with one of the tripod legs, which had called forth such admiration from one of the crowd. Down came the tripod, camera, and all, with a crash; the cap gave a little jump and went into the sea. The photographer stood aghast. The crowd cheered to a man. The photographer slowly picked up the pieces and went home." The Sutcliffe Galleries still exist, as does a web-site on his work. See www.sutcliffe-gallery.co.uk/ Since writing this piece from the Amateur Photographer, Mr. H. Bell has written pointing out what would seem to be an inconsistency. He writes: "Reading the account of the photographer on the Whitby pier supposedly awaiting the setting sun over the sea, Whitby is on the east coast and as such the wait would have been infinite, as most photographers could tell you the sun sets in a westerly location which is variable according to time of year, but easterly, never!" Never too late to learn new things! © Robert Leggat, 2003.

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SUTTON, Thomas b. 1819; d. 1875 Thomas Sutton set up a photographic firm in Jersey in 1855, together with Blanquart-Evrard, but he is remembered as a prolific writer on photography. For eleven years he edited "Photographic Notes", a journal which he had founded together with Blanquart-Evrard. He was responsible for the first English Dictionary of Photography (1858). Sutton also had the distinction of being the first to develop a true single-lens reflex camera. This he patented in 1861. The camera was manufactured by Thomas Ross and J. Dallymeyer. Brian Coe, in his excellent book "From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures" states that Dallymeyer used to charge ÂŁ2.75 for a quarter-plate model.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Significant PEOPLE in the early history of Photography T-Z ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Talbot, William Henry Fox Thomson, John Tripe, Linnaeus Turner, Benjamin Breckell Vogel, Herman Watkins, Carleton E. Wedgwood, Thomas Wellington, James Booker Blakemore Wheatstone, Charles White, Clarence Hudson Wilson, Edward L. Wilson, George Washington Wolcott, Alexander Women Photographers Woodbury, Walter Bentley Young, William D


THOMSON, JOHN b. 14 June 1837; d. October 1921 Together with Paul Martin, and Jacob Riis in America, John Thomson is widely regarded as one of the fathers of what we now term documentary or social-documentary photography. The work of these photographers show far more than a mere record; there is a great deal of humanity expressed in many of their pictures. John Thomson was born in Edinburgh, and studied at the University. He became involved in photography, but his passion was geography, and he travelled extensively, his travels being published in a series of books, the last of which contained over two hundred photographs. In the introduction to this book (Illustrations of China and its People, 1873) he writes "I made the camera a constant companion of my wanderings and to it I am indebted for the faithful reproduction of the scenes I visited." In 1866 Thomson was appointed instructor in photography at the Royal Geographic Society. Whilst there he was approached by an otherwise unknown Adolphe Smith, with a view to illustrating Smith's book (Street Life in London, 1877) on the poor of London. This book consists of thirty-six case histories illustrated with photographs. The book contains woodburytype reproductions, a process invented in 1864, and just what was needed for wide distribution. It was not a printing process - each illustration had to be inserted manually into the book - but production speed and the quality of the work were a feature of this invention, as is the distinctive red-brown colour of the finished work. In 1879 Thomson set up a studio in Buckingham Palace Road, London, and later on in Mayfair. When he died, the Royal Geographical Society printed a biography which detailed much of his work in the Far East, but made no mention of his greatest work, "Street Life of London." It may be that people of the time preferred not to have to come to terms with what was being portrayed. What comes over is his sensitivity and vision - good honest photography without any pretensions. Thomson continued to work until his death at the age of 84, writing papers for the Royal Geographical Society on the uses of photography. Some of his work may be seen at the Society's headquarters in London. Š Robert Leggat, 1998.

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TRIPE, Linnaeus b. 14 April 1822; d. 2 March 1902 In 1855 Captain Linnaeus Tripe, serving in the Madras Native Infantry, became official photographer to Burma. The following year he became government photographer to the Madras Presidency, and travelled round India compiling a large collection of calotype photographs of sculptures, forts and temples, including a number of stereoscopic photographs. What is particularly remarkable is that so soon after the invention of photography, an official photographer was being appointed in the Services.

days.

Tripe's pictures are all calotypes, so are contact prints, and since these pictures measure 15" by 12" it shows just how bulky the equipment would have been in those

Tripe also made a number of stereoscopic pictures, which were subsequently published. If Linnaeus' name seems unusual, spare a thought for his brothers and sisters, whose names included Cornelia, Theophilus, Cornelius, Octavius, Algernon, Septimus and Lorenzo!

Š Robert Leggat, 1999. Last updated undefined


TURNER, Benjamin Breckell b. 1815; d. 1894 Turner took up photography in 1849, exhibiting at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Regarded as a first class calotype worker, his photographs were much praised. One of his prints, "Scotch firs" was particularly admired by Prince Albert who, of course, was duly presented with a copy.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WATKINS, Carleton E b 1829; d. 1916 A prolific and outstanding American photographer, Watkins was famous for his panoramic views. In the early 1860s he explored the Yosemite Valley to take photographs. At that time, of course, sensitising, exposing and processing had to be done on the spot, so he had taken with him twelve mules for his equipment, together with a converted wagon, which became his dark room. He used huge glass plates measuring 40 by 50 centimetres.

One of his best known photographs is Cathedral Rock, taken in the 1860s, an Albumen print now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WELLINGTON, James Booker Blakemore b. 1858; d. 1939

J.B.B. Wellington studied architecture but soon turned to photography. In the 1880s he worked with George Eastman in New York, and then returned to England to become manager of Kodak at Harrow, before eventually setting up his own firm.

negative intensifier.

He developed POP paper, canvas bromide, a fast-grained emulsion and, in 1889, a

An accomplished pictorial photographer, his work is clearly influenced by paintings of John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. He was a member of the Linked Ring. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WHEATSTONE, Sir Charles b. 6 February 1802; d. 19 October 1875 Wheatstone started his working life as a musical instrument maker. In his early thirties he became Professor of Experimental Philosophy at Kings College, London, and in 1836 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was a physicist who is remembered for his studies in acoustics (including the invention of the concertina) and for his contribution to the invention of telegraphy. His particular contribution to photography was in his development of stereoscopy; in 1838 he described the theory of stereoscopic vision and his invention of the stereoscope to the Royal Society. His mirror stereoscopic viewer required that both pictures in the pair be reversed laterally. The advantage of the arrangement was that one could cope with large pictures, which is why the principle is still in use today when viewing Xray stereoscopic pictures. Wheatstone was a member of the Photographic Society and served on its Council. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WHITE, Clarence Hudson b. 8 April 1871; d. 7 July 1925 An American, Clarence White began his career as a book-keeper, but a few years later took up photography. His work was highly praised by Stieglitz, and was printed in various editions of Camera Work. In 1902 he became a co-founder of the Photo-Secession group, and in 1907 became a teacher of Photography at Teachers' College, Columbia University, a post he occupied until his death. Together with Gertrude Kasebier he founded the Pictorial Photographers of America, an organization that continues to exist today. Clarence White's portraits and landscapes showing a particular interest in chiaoscuro (the technique of representing three dimensions by carefully using light and shadow). None of his pictures have heavy shadows or dark tones; he specialised in light, delicate pictures.

White was one of the photographers promoted by Stieglitz as the 'Photo-Secession', exhibiting his work in their exhibitions and publishing it in Camera Work - including a whole issue in 1908. His pictures are characterised by his use of light, often creating a virtual glow from the highlights. He experimented widely with printing processes, including platinum and gum bichromate. Shown here is "The Orchard", made in 1905. Many of his pictures are platinum prints, though some also were made using the gum bichromate process. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WILSON, Edward L. b. 1838; d. 1903 Edward Wilson was an American professional photographer, who is of interest inasmuch as he prepared a lengthy pamphlet entitled "To my Patrons," giving advice to those who were to come to him to have a portrait taken. Though well-meaning, it comes over as a bit of a sermon, but it does show reveal some of the limitations which made portraiture in the 1870s quite a difficult task. The following is a short portion of the pamphlet: "The intention of this little book is to say a few words in a kindly way to those who have photographs taken, in order that the intercourse between them and their photographer may be pleasant, and result in the most successful pictures. People who desire pictures, generally seem unwilling to give the necessary time to secure good ones. As time is precious, therefore, we publish this that you may be informed beforehand on certain points, a knowledge of which will save time..... To produce pictures.... requires skill, good taste, culture, much study and practice, to say nothing of an expensive outfit and a properly arranged studio. With all these the photographer must know how to manage a most obstreperous class of chemicals, fickle as the wind, and, therefore, he needs all the assistance from you that you are able to give him. He is entitled to the same respect and consideration from you as your minister, your physician, or your lawyer.... Remember...that it is he who takes the pictures, not you; that it is he whom you hold responsible for the result and not yourself; that it is he who knows best (or ought to) how to take it, and not you, and that his reputation suffers if he fails, not yours. For the sake of a good result, then, try to submit to the suggestions of your photographer. We guarantee satisfaction.... When to come A bright day is not necessary. In fact, the light is best when the heavens are clouded... Light-haired and light-eyes subjects should avoid a very bright day if convenient. How to come Never come in a hurry or a flurry. Red takes black and red faces take black. Moreover, if you are pushed for time, your pictures will present a worn and wearied expression, which you will not like.... How to dress Dress is a matter which should have your careful attention. The photographer is very much tried by his patrons sometimes, who place upon their persons, when about to sit for a picture, all sorts of gee-gaws and haberdasheries which they never wear at home, or when mingling among their friends. The consequence is some miserable distortions and caricatures... Dress naturally, and think a little while you are about it... The best materials to wear, for ladies, are such as will fold or drape nicely; for example, ....poplins, satins and silks. Materials with too much gloss are objectionable, though we can generally overcome that. The various colours in the dry goods market take about as follows: Lavender, Lilac, Blue Purple... take very light, and are worse photographically than pure white. Corn color and Salmon are better. Rose pink, crimson, pea green... show a pretty light gray in the photograph. Scarlet, Claret, Sea Green, Light Orange.... take still darker... Cherry, Wine colour, Bottle Green, Dark Orange... show nearly the same agreeable color in the picture, which is dark but not black. Striped goods, or goods having bold patterns in them, should never be worn for a picture. Avoid anything that will look streaky or spotty."


And so it goes on! One should bear in mind, of course, that at this time photographic plates were sensitive only to blue light.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999

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WILSON, George Washington b. 7 Feb 1823; d. 9 March 1893 George Washington Wilson was born in Scotland, and was one of the early royal photographers. In 1849 he set up business as a portrait miniaturist; a brave feat at a time when photography was becoming an ever-increasing challenge offering cheaper pictures and becoming fashionable. After a while he began a short partnership with John Hay, setting up a portrait studio. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were keen on photography, and commissioned the partners to document the building of Balmoral, their new highland home, from 1853 onwards. Thus began a long association with the Royal Family, and in 1868 Wilson illustrated one of the Queen's "Leaves from the Journal or our Life in the Highlands." In 1873 he was awarded a royal warrant.

His fame spread widely, and in 1864 claimed to have sold over half a million prints. He was the photographer whose photographs were first sold in Cabinet size. In 1876 Wilson built new premises, perhaps the first to mass-produce photographs. This large firm rivalled that of Frith over the border. He also produced a number of Stereoscopic pictures, notable for the fact that the exposures were very short - less than one second. By the 1880s his was one of the largest photographic publishers in the world. He employed over thirty assistants in his Aberdeen firm, and was particularly keen to ensure that his prints were carefully washed and gold-toned, so as to remove all residual chemicals. As a result, Wilson's albumen prints were more stable than others made in the same era. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WOLCOTT, Alexander b. 1804; d. 1844 Wolcott was an American Daguerreotype photographer and instrument maker. He is particularly remembered for having invented a camera which, instead of a lens, had inside it a large concave mirror which reflected intense light on to the plate, thus greatly lessening the required exposure time. It also had another advantage for Daguerreotype photographers in that the image was no longer laterally reversed. The disadvantage was that the size of the pictures were limited to 2 square inches. Wolcott opened the world's first portrait studio in March 1840, and a year later sold exclusive rights to Richard Beard, who opened the first studio in Europe a year later. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Women Pioneers of Photography Few women photographers are cited in the most popular books on the history of photography, for which there could be several reasons. One is that history has a habit of becoming repeated and in turn quoted, with the result that it becomes the established lore even when the story may have been incorrect. In fact, women were very active in this field and deserve far greater prominence than has been accorded to them. This brief article can only scratch at the surface; those wishing to pursue this further are well advised to read "A History of Women Photographers" by Naomi Rosenblum, published by the Abbeville Press (ISBN 1-55859-761-1). This book makes illuminating and compelling reading, and the author of this article has drawn heavily upon it. Those familiar with the ordeal of taking photographs in the earliest days would sympathise if women were to regard this new activity as not being their cup of tea. In the earliest days, development would be needed immediately after exposure; consequently the equipment needed for photographs outside a studio would be cumbersome. In addition, the chemicals could be smelly, and the whole process initially was a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. However, this clearly did not deter women from being actively involved in picture-making. There is also evidence that women did not receive the acknowledgement due to them inasmuch as many accepted a more supportive role for their husbands. Of those who participated, a number would be relatives of a male photographer. Fox Talbot had a number of female relatives who were active in this field, and indeed his own wife, Constance, both took pictures and developed and printed them. Emma Llwelyn printed for her husband, John Llwelyn. Robert Tytler photographed the ruins following the Indian Mutiny of 1858; his wife Harriet accompanied him, and though the work received much acclaim, the records only mention the husband's name. Elizabeth, wife of Disderi, famous for his carte-de-visites, was in partnership with her husband, and continued to operate in Paris after his death, until her own death in 1878. It says much of the times that her death certificate cites "without profession, 61 years old." There follows the names of a few women who practised photography in the earliest years: Laure Albin-Guillot (b. 1880; d. 1962) together with her husband, spent many years photographing specimens, plant cells and animal organisms. She also produced nudes and soft-focus portraits, and wrote articles on photomicrography. Berenice Abbott studied with Man Ray in the early 1920s, and was almost solely responsible for preserving the work by Eugene Atget. Anna Atkins(b.1799; d. 1871) became the first person to print and publish a book, photographically illustrated. On her tombtone in Halstead, Essex, her husband is


referred to as a JP, but she is simply referred to as "Daughter of..." - again a sign of those times. Alice Austen (b. 1866; d.1952) was an American photographer. She received a camera at the age of ten, and never looked back! In addition to many family and local interest photography, she became involved in documentary work. Having lost her money and home in the 1920s stock crash, she was for a while in the equivalent of a poor house, though her work ultimately became recognised and she was able to live comfortably for the last years of her life. Emma Barton (b. 1872; d. 1938) lived and worked in Birmingham and in the Isle of Wight. One of her pictures, "The awakening", gained her a medal from the Royal Photographic Society in 1903. Alice Boughton (b. 1866; d. 1943) was an American photographer whose work included pictures of children, portraits and theatre. For a while she worked in the studio of Gertrude Kasebier. She became a member of the Photo Secessionist movement. Some of her pictures are in Camera Work. Anne W. Brigman (b. 1869, d. 1950) was an American who produced a number of nude and draped figures in landscape. She was a close friend of Edward Steichen, and exhibited in the Photo-Secession exhibitions. She too had some pictures published in Camera Work. Christina Broom (b. 1863, d. 1939) has sometimes been referred to as the first British woman press photographer. The number of events she covered included Derby Day, at Epsom, Surrey, investitures of monarchs, women suffrage demonstrations, the Oxford and Cambridge Boat race, and the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. Bessie Buehrmann was an associate of the Photo-Secession group. Her consisted mainly of portraiture. Julia Margaret Cameron b.1815; d.1879, is without question the most well-known woman pioneer in photography.

Mary Cassatt (b.1844, d. 1926) was an American-born impressionist, famous for her paintings of mothers and children. One of her pictures was published in Camera Work. Nancy Ford Cones (b. 1869, d. 1962) worked in photography in the latter stages of the period covered by this work. She operated in Ohio. Kodak used some of her work for publicity purposes. In a Kodak competition of 1905, she received second prize for a photograph entitled "Threading the needle", Edward Steichen winning the competition, and Alfred Stieglitz coming third.


Clementina Hawarden (born 1822, died 1865) operated in South Kensington, London, and produced hundreds of images of her family and nearby surroundings. She was awarded a medal by the (then) Photographic Society, though she died aged forty-two, before receiving the award. Many of her prints are owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Frances Benjamin Johnston (born 1864, died 1952) was an American photographer who opened a studio in Washington in 1890. She was much in demand photographing celebrities of her day, and had several assignments photographing in the White House. In 1897 she published an article entitled "What a woman can do with her camera." Gertrude Kasebier (b. 1852; d.1934) was the first woman to be elected to the prestigious Linked Ring. Theresa Llwelyn, a distant relative of Fox Talbot used "photogenic drawing" (photograms) of seaweed specimens. Agnes Warburg (b.1872; d.1953) was inspired by her elder brother to take up photography. She exhibited at the Photographic Salon of the Linked Ring and at the Royal Photographic Society, where she was highly active. She was a foundermember of the Society's Pictorial and Colour Groups. She specialised in landscapes and portraits, and also experimented with the autochrome colour process. Catharine Barnes Ward (b.1851; d. 1913) was an American photographer who later lived in England. She became associate Editor of the American Amateur Photographer in 1890, was a popular lecturer, and a strong supporter of women photographers. She joined the Photographic Society in 1893. In 1893 she married Henry Ward, the founder and editor of the magazine "Practical Photographer." Her works included a well-illustrated "Shakespeare's Town and Times" , books on Dickens and the land of Lorna Doone. Jane Wigley, an English photographer, purchased the franchise to operate from Beard, and worked in Newcastle and London. It is stated that she was one of the first to use a prism in the camera so as to reverse the daguerreotype image. These are just a few of the many women early pioneers of photography, doubtless many more being unheralded and, at present, unknown. Again, those wishing to pursue this area further should read Dr. Rosenblum's remarkable book, which covers the entire period of photography from the earliest days up to the present.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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WOODBURY, Walter Bentley b. 26 June 1834; d. 5 Sept 1885 The inventor of what came to be called the Woodburytype process, he was born in Manchester, England, and lived for some time in Australia and Java, establishing photographic studios there, using the Collodion process, before returning to England. Here, whilst working on the Carbon process, he developed a new mode of photographic engraving, demonstrating this to the Photographic Society on 5 December 1865. This he patented in July the following year. He also invented a method of water-marking, calling it "filigrane".

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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YOUNG, William D. Young produced a number of photographs recording the building of the railways in Uganda and Tanzania, in the 1890s. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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Processes, styles and movements in photography

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Additive colour process Albumen process Amateur photographers Amateur photographer Magazine Ambrotype process Anaglyphs Architectural photography Artists and Photography Autochrome process Beginnings of Photography Bromoil print process Calotype process Camera Lucida Camera Obscura Camera Work Carbon process Cartes-de-visite Collodion Process Colour, photography in Combination Printing Cyanotype process Daguerreotype Development Documentary photography Dry-Plate Process Enlargers Fading of prints Film Fixing Gelatin Gum Bichromate Process Heliographs

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Impressionism Kodak Landscape Photography Latent Image Lighting Linked Ring Melainotype process Micro-photography Naturalistic Photography ozotype Photo-Secession Pictorialism Platinum Process Portraiture Pre-Raphaelites Salted prints Separation Negatives Social Reform, Photography for Stereoscopic photography Subtractive colour process The "291" Tintype process Toning Travel Photography Unusual equipment, processes and stories Vorticism War, Photography of Waxed paper process Wet plate process Women pioneers of photography Woodburytype process


The ADDITIVE colour process There are two different ways of producing a colour, the additive and the subtractive. In the additive process, all colours can be made by mixing three primary colours: red, green and blue. Yellow, for example, is a mixture of green and red light. This process was first demonstrated, in 1861, by Sir James Clerk Maxwell. Though this was the first of the two, it was the subtractive process which was to become the standard colour one in our lifetime.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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AMATEUR photographers In many areas - music, drama, and sport for example, the term "Amateur" has its own connotation. This is no less the case in photography, and still continues to present a difficulty. In the recently developed City & Guilds photography scheme for non- professional photographers there was considerable debate as to whether the term should be used, because it seemed to carry a pejorative innuendo. Too many people confuse "amateur" with "amateurish." Many of the candidates for this examination are undoubtedly professionals in all kinds of areas. Some may be pursuing courses as a creative leisure pursuit, others may be doing so because they wish to use photography as an adjunct to their professional activities. For example, is a teacher who uses photography in the classroom as a tool to enable his children to attain educational objectives other than photography a professional? He may be a professional teacher; is he a professional photographer? The Royal Photographic Society does not distinguish between professional and amateur; whether a print is saleable is irrelevant. Nevertheless amongst photographers there still remains a slight tension which is not easily resolved; the reality is that there is ample room for both. If some of the quotations below are anything to go by, the controversy was as vociferous in the early days of photography. Here, with little comment, are some of the stances that were being taken in the previous century, and it may be a useful exercise to identify the prejudices and misunderstandings, where they exist, and compare that with one's own view. Thomas Sutton, in 1857: "Photography is yet in its infancy, and it offers to the intelligent amateur a field for readily gaining distinction as the author of valuable experiments. Let him consider whether he will occupy his spare time and cash in producing photographs of more or less merit and which may be doomed to fade before his eyes, or whether he will employ the same opportunities to advance the art. Professional photographers have rarely the time to bestow on experiments, and they are generally too ready to "pooh, pooh" all innovations. On the other hand, a large class of amateurs are equally ready to "try" all new processes, good or bad." Jabez Hughes, in 1863: "..it is not to be wondered that the impulses forward should emanate rather from the amateur than the professional. The former pursues the art for pleasure, the latter for profit. The one can try all manner of experiments, and whether he succeed or fail he secures his object - agreeable occupation. The professional, however, has all his energies directed to make things pay. He has too much at stake to speculate. He chooses the safest way. He is the true conservative, and when he gets hold of anything that works passable well, changes with reluctance. If an amateur experiments with a new toning bath on a batch of perhaps half-a-dozen prints, and fails, well the loss is not great, and he gains in knowledge and experience. But the professional has his batch of perhaps six hundred, and if he fail, the loss is something considerable.... The advance of photography is something like the progress of an army. The main body keeps in safe marching order, while the more daring and adventurous are the pioneers who lead the army - rushing here, feeling their way there; always skirmishing, often retiring, but eventually succeeding in finding new tracks and safe paths for the main body to securely pass along." Article appearing in "Amateur Photographer", 27 March 1885:


"The amateur is, presumably, a man of more cultivated education and greater leisure than the professional photographer, and may reasonably be expected to have a keener sense of the aesthetic principles, and a more educated knowledge of the history and science of art than his professional brother - better skilled though the latter may be in the technique of his art." Peter Henry Emerson, in his book "Naturalistic Photography" took precisely the opposite point of view: "In reality professional photographers are those who have studied one branch of photography thoroughly, and are masters of all its resources and no others. It is not a question of ÂŁ.s.d., this "professional" and "amateur" question, but a question of knowledge and capacity. An amateur is a dabbler without aim, without knowledge and without capacity, no matter how many of his productions he may sell." Alfred Stieglitz, in 1899: "Let me here call attention to one of the most universally popular mistakes that have to do with photography - that of classing supposedly excellent work as professional, and using the term amateur to convey the idea of immature productions and to excuse atrociously poor photographs. As a matter of fact nearly all the greatest work is being, and has always been done, by those who are following photography for the love of it, and not merely for financial reasons. As the name implies, an amateur is one who works for love; and viewed in this light the incorrectness of the popular classification is readily apparent."

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER magazine The contribution which The Amateur Photographer, affectionately known as the AP, made to the development and encouragement of photography has seldom been noted, which is surprising, given the stature of many of its contributors right from its beginnings on October 10, 1884. By this time photography had been in existence some fifty years. However, this was also a period when those who practised photography varied enormously in their styles, and there was considerable intolerance of other peoples' methods. Up till this period photographs, like paintings, had to be viewed at exhibitions. However, that year saw the beginning of photography reproduction in printing, and also coincided with the publication of H. P. Robinson's "Picture Making by Photography." Being well aware of the rivalry between Robinson and P.H.Emerson the astute editors of the AP invited each to review exhibitions, especially those which contained each other's work, and were duly rewarded! Emerson described a piece of work by Robinson as "inane, flat...worthless. Its composition is childish and its sentiment puerile..." whilst Robinson, reviewing Emerson's book "Naturalistic Photography for Students" wrote: "We cannot help feeling his system is pernicious, and excusing bad photography by calling it art... We feel it to be the...duty of a journal like our own to produce a disinfectant, and stop the disorder..." In 1891 the rejection by the Photographic Society of George Davidson's picture "The Onion Field" from its annual exhibition precipitated many resignations from the Society and led to the formation of the Linked Ring. This new Society formed its own annual exhibition called the Photographic Salon. Meetings of this group were often held at AP's offices in London. One of the most long-serving editors was F.J.Mortimer who kept a tight rein on the magazine, ensuring in particular that alternative movements like the Photo Secessionists were kept at bay. AP has continued to this day, though it is very different from the rather stuffy and text-ridden journal it once was. It becomes fashionable (a form of one-upmanship perhaps) to decry the magazine once one has gained some expertise in photography, but this is misplaced. Photographers, whether they practise for profit or as amateurs , can always gain from the experiences of others, and of course there is always a new generation of beginners who can gain much from reading it. Moreover, for those interested in the history of photography there is a wealth of data in the early copies showing the rise and fall of certain models of cameras, and the fads of the time. For example, Sir Henry Wood, of Promenade Concert fame, does not feature as a photographer, but “Amateur Photographer” (Jan 2, 1902) provides details of a Christmas lecture for children at the (now) Royal Society of Arts, where he presented a few experiments on the properties of light, including spherical and chromatic aberration and, in a second lecture, the use of the camera for scientific investigation. He also gave a demonstration of the principles of colour photography. Obviously Sir Henry was not only a man of distinction in music!

© Robert Leggat, 2003.

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ANAGLYPHS The conventional method of viewing stereoscopic photographs in the last century was to use a viewer which held a pair of images, and which enabled each eye to see only one; by fusing these together a three dimensional effect was recreated. It was W. Rollman who in 1853 first illustrated the principle of the anaglyph using blue and red lines on a black field with red and blue glasses to perceive the effect, but this was for line drawings only. In 1858 Joseph D'Almeida began projecting three-dimensional magic lantern slide shows using red and green filters with the audience wearing red and green goggles. It is to Louis Ducas du Hauron that we owe the first printed anaglyphs, produced in 1891. This process consisted of printing the two negatives which form a stereoscopic photograph on to the same paper, one in blue (or green), one in red. The viewer would then use coloured glasses with red (for the left eye) and blue or green (right eye). The left eye would see the blue image which would appear black, whilst it would not see the red; similarly the right eye would see the red image, this registering as black. Thus a three dimensional image would result.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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AUTOCHROME process The Autochrome was the first viable colour photograph process, and was introduced in 1907 by the Lumière brothers. The Autochrome "screen" was created by forming a layer of minute starch grains dyed in the primary colours (red, blue and green)**, behind which was a layer of panchromatic film. When the picture was taken these starch grains acted as tiny filters on the film. The film was then subjected to reversal development, and then viewed, as a transparency, though an identical screen. The pictures, though dark by present day standards, were delicate and of a soft pastel nature.

** The colours are disputed. See here. Most writers however stick to the primary colours. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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BROMOIL PRINT process This process was introduced in 1907 by E.J. Wall, and consisted of a positive image on a paper support. It was based on the principle that oil and water do not mix. Once an enlargement was made, it was bleached in a solution of potassium bichromate. to remove the black silver image. This left it in a condition in which it was possible to apply greasy inks of various colours to pigment the surface of the gelatin, using special brushes. In time this replaced the gum bichromate process, which had been invented in the previous decade. Both processes, incidentally, received the term "muck spreading" by their detractors!

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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CAMERA LUCIDA The Camera Lucida, designed in 1807 by Dr. William Wollaston, was an aid to drawing It was a reflecting prism which enabled artists to draw outlines in correct perspective. No darkroom was needed. The paper was laid flat on the drawing board, and the artist would look through a lens containing the prism, so that he could see both the paper and a faint image of the subject to be drawn. He would then fill in the image. However, as anyone who has tried using these will know only too well, that too required artistic skills, as Fox Talbot also discovered. See also Camera Obscura.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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CAMERA WORK This is the title given to an influential quarterly journal which appeared in 1903 in the wake of the Photo-Secession movement. It was edited by Alfred Stieglitz, and among the many contributors were Frank Eugene, Clarence White and Edward Jean Steichen. The first edition reads: "Only examples of such work as gives evidence of individuality and artistic worth, regardless of school, or contains some exceptional feature of technical merit, or such as exemplifies some treatment worthy of consideration, will find recognition in these pages." This magazine was beautifully produced. Some of the pictures were printed on fine Japanese tissue, and pasted in by hand. Many of the articles were written by leading authors. The reception by British photographers to the publication was immediately favourable. That same year "Photography" reported: "There can be no other verdict but that Camera Work beats all previous records for dignity, good taste, and...value." "Amateur Photographer" for 1st January 1903 also was full of praise. (See Stieglitz). There were in total fifty editions. The last publication was in June 1917, when the Photo-Secession movement had begun to lose its way. The script clearly shows that further editions were at the planning stage. The June edition contains a letter (17 November 1916), addressed to Stieglitz, from Frank Eugene, which reads as follows: "I have not received Camera Work for a very long time, probably due to the war, censorship, etc. etc.... The older I grow the more I appreciate what you have accomplished with your very wonderful publication. When I see you I shall be delighted to tell you how largely the possession of Camera Work has helped me in my work as a teacher, and what an incentive it has always been to my pupils towards a higher standard. It does...for the man with the camera, what the Bible has...for centuries, tried to do for the man with the conscience...." Sadly this, the fiftieth edition, turned out to be the last of this remarkable series, of which few copies now remain. Since this was written, Camera Work has been republished by Taschen Publications (ISBN 3-82288072-8) The book contains all the illustrations, and a masterly introduction by Pam Roberts, who is the Curator of the Royal Photographic Society. It comes in paperback, and if one were only allowed to recommend one book, it must surely be this one, as it contains a simply excellent collection of outstanding photographs. A "must" for any serious photographic historian. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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CARBON process, The Print fading was a common occurrence in the earliest days of photography, and several people sought to address themselves to this problem. In the mid 1850s some began to experiment with carbon, and in 1864 Joseph Wilson Swan perfected the process, which he also patented. Prints made using this process came in any colour, and were permanent. The sensitising solution consisted of a mixture of carbon, gelatin, the colouring material, and potassium bichromate. Once the paper was exposed to light, the areas exposed became insoluble in water. Development consisted of washing the unexposed soluble material away in warm water. The image being laterally reversed, it needed to be transferred to another base which was usually paper, but which could be leather or wood; the image was in relief. A variation on the carbon process was the Woodburytype, introduced a year later. Prints made by this process would come in any colour, and were permanent. Carbon prints became very popular, and the process is still used occasionally.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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COLOUR, Photography in Though the invention of photography had an immediate impact on the whole art world, the early photographs were in monochrome. As an additional service, daguerreotypes could be hand- painted, which kept a number of painters of miniatures in business. However, it was to be some time before colour photography was to become a reality. In the 1860s James Clerk Maxwell, using as a subject a tartan ribbon, showed that three monochrome images could be formed of a subject, each one taken using a different colour filter (red, blue and green). By projecting these images using three lanterns, each equipped with a corresponding filter, the colours could be recreated. The results were somewhat disappointing to Maxwell and his collaborator Thomas Sutton, but nevertheless they deserve the credit for laying the foundations of trichromate colour photography. Interestingly, strictly speaking this experiment should never have worked! Maxwell did not know this, but at that time the emulsion in use only responded to light at the blue end of the spectrum. So how could anything have been recorded on the "red" and "green" slides? It was not until one hundred years later that when the experiment was repeated, it was discovered that the green filter had also passed some blue light, whilst the ribbon's red colours were also reflecting ultra-violet rays, which had been recorded on the red plate. However, though this (by sheer coincidence) produced the right effect, it does not detract from Maxwell's discovery, for with an appropriate emulsion responding to all colours the method works well. In 1873 Herman Vogel discovered sensitising dyes, which was a step forward in the pursuit of full colour photography. As a result of his work, "orthochromatic" plates, sensitive to all colours with the exception of red, were produced. When in 1906 "panchromatic" films, sensitive to all colours, came into production, some photographers began taking three "separation" negatives, using a viewer which enabled one to see all three slides superimposed upon one another. In 1907 Auguste and Louis Lumière produced plates they called Autochrome, using a different system from that above. The colours appeared in delicate pastel shades, often looking very dark, but were well received at the time. Back in 1869 Ducas du Hauron had published a book offering another method - the subtractive one by which colour could be re-created. One of his suggestions had been that instead of mixing colour lights, one could combine dyed images; film could be coated with three very thin layers of emulsion, each sensitive to the primary colours; once processed as positives, the transparency could then be viewed as a full colour photograph. At the time, however, the emulsions were such that none of his proposals could be tested. It was not until the mid 1930s that Kodak was to produce a film based on this principle, to be named Kodachrome; up till then the additive methods suggested by Maxwell had been used.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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COMBINATION PRINTING In the early days of photography the material of the time was not sensitive to red; it was highly sensitive to blue, and therefore blue sky was rendered in a very light tone. Most of the photographs taken in the 40s and 50s were usually of foreground landcapes with blank skies - very little detail (if any) in the sky. Roger Fenton, an architectural and landscape photographer and one of the fine photographers of this period, did a lot of experimental work on this. The solution he adopted was to make negatives a little thin in the foreground and then to over-expose when making the prints. This however was not an ideal solution, and it was the problem of this attempt to record sky that led photographers to probably one of the most interesting early concepts in photography which we now call "combination printing." Combination Printing is the term given to the technique of making pictures from more than one negative or print. It can take various forms: ● ● ●

printing two or more negatives, one after the other, on the sheet of paper; superimposing two negatives, printing them both together; cutting out parts of a number of prints, and arranging, perhaps pasting them on card or photographed background, and then photographing the finished result (montage).

Hippolyte Bayard was the first to suggest that separate negatives of clouds be used to print in the skies. However, others, particularly William Lake Price, began to explore the idea of using combination printing to produce compositions. The most famous of the early combination prints is "The two ways of life", by Rejlander, who masked all areas of the photograph other than the area being printed. Rather different is the technique by Henry Peach Robinson, who made photomontages; his classic example is "Fading Away."

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The CYANOTYPE process This is an early process first introduced by John Herschel in 1842. It is still in use today, and is more commonly known as the blue-print process. In the early days paper was impregnated with iron salts and then used in contact printing. The paper was then washed in water, and the image would come out as a white image on deep blue. Long expsoure times were required, but one advantage was that since the chemicals were mainly sensitive to Ultra-Violet rays, the solutions can be prepared in subdued light, rather than in a darkroom. One of the earliest users of the process was Anna Atkins, who produced the first photographically illustrated book.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DEVELOPMENT The function of a developer is to convert the invisible (latent) image into a visible form. In the very earliest days of photography exposures had to continue until an image had been formed, hence the need for very long exposures. It is said that Daguerre discovered development accidentally, having placed some unsuccessful sensitised plates into a cupboard, and having returned later to discover that the plates bore an image. By further experimentation he concluded that the mercury in the same cupboard was responsible for producing the image. Fox Talbot also discovered that there was such a thing as a latent image that could be developed, and as a result was able to reduce drastically his exposure time - from as much as an hour to a minute or less.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY The history of photography is full of people who with great intensity put forward theories on the nature of photography, or who denigrated the work of others, or set up break-away groups. These people have their place, but fortunately there were others who avoided controversy and who set about recording the life and times of the period in which they lived, either from a sense of mission, or simply to leave an accurate version of their life and times for others. Up to the time photography was invented events were portrayed by means of painting, and whilst many of them evoke an emotional response it is difficult to be sure that what we are being presented with is not fanciful, incorrect, or even blatantly dishonest. There are, for example, so many different paintings of Queen Elizabeth I that it is not clear what she looked like! (See also Alfred Chalon's comments in Artists and Photography.) Photography does add to authenticity, but the oft-quoted adage that "the camera cannot lie" is a very misleading one. Even with "straight" photography (i.e. where neither negative not print has been retouched), there are many ways by which the process can be used to manipulate and mislead, for example by selection of viewpoint, or by using a picture out of context. Used honestly, however, photography has the capacity to capture a particular moment in time, to reproduce images in considerable detail, to overcome language barriers, and compellingly to draw attention to situations about which we might otherwise be unaware. This capacity was immediately recognised by early photographers. For specific aspects of documentary photography, see Architectural, Landscape, Portraiture, Social Reform, Travel and War.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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ENLARGERS The earliest enlargers used direct sunlight, and thus came to be known as "solar cameras". It was an American, D.A. Woodward, who in 1857 first constructed an enlarger. It was a cumbersome object. The sun was collected by means of a convex lens, and the camera has to be turned with the sun. This design became the model for a number of solar cameras. The picture shows an advert for his cameras, and a medal that he had been awarded to him at a major exhibition.

Another pioneer was Wothly, from Aachen, who made a few improvements to Woodward's solar camera, and exhibited portraits almost at life size. Wothly's solar camera was a monstrosity! The condenser had a diameter of 1 metre. The heat of the condensed rays of sun was such that one had to have water troughs built in. However, perhaps the first ever reference to an enlarging process can be attributed to Draper. In 1840 he wrote: "Exposures are made with a very small camera on very small plates. They are subsequently enlarged to the required size in a larger camera on a rigid stand. This method will probably contribute very much to the practice of the art." Louis Jules Duboscq (1817-1886) made an apparatus for enlarging by electric light, and showed it to the Paris Photographic Society in 1861. Eventually, of course, the solar camera disappeared from the photographic industry and was replaced by enlarging cameras that used arc lamps. As the sensitivity of papers increased, so it was possible to use other sources of light.


However, even at the turn of the century it was possible to buy simple daylight enlargers. This one was made by Griffin and Sons. The advert. in the A.P. read as follows:

Messrs. J. J. Griffith and Sons Ltd. have introduced an instrument which should find a cordial welcome at the hands of many an amateur who desires to make bromide enlargements without elaborate apparatus. They are inexpensive, and whilst folding into small space can be erected quickly and by one movement, there being no loose screws or bolts. .... Having set up the instrument, the user places his negative in the groove at the small end and sensitive paper in the box at the large end. The camera is then taken into daylight and exposed to the clear sky for a period varying between a few seconds and a minute or two. Upon development of the exposed paper a sharp, bright enlargement will be the result. The price of the enlarger to take quarter-plate and enlarge to whole plate, including meral exposure shutter and achromatic lens, is 12s 6d (62p).

May we also ask your attention to our gaslight attachment for enlargers? This consists of a parabolic reflector, in from of which are fixed two incandescent gas burners of a special type. ... The attachment can be fitted to almost any enlarger on the market." (Cost, 10s 6d - 50p).

Š Robert Leggat, 2003.

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FADING of prints Though (unlike Wedgwood), the early photographers had learned to remove the unused light-sensitive solutions by fixing prints, they still had a major problem in that many of the early photographs had a tendency to fade. So serious was the problem that in 1855 the Photographic Society formed a committee to examine the causes of fading; this committee, chaired by Roger Fenton, received support from an equally concerned Prince Albert, who contributed ÂŁ50 to its funds. The major causes of fading which were identified by the committee included the presence of sulphur in the prints, the presence of fixer because of insufficient washing, and (in some instances) the type of mounting used. They recommended more careful washing of prints. Most members of the committee concluded that gold toning would enhance the life of prints (which indeed it did) and also that some experimenting with protective coatings on the print might be helpful. In 1856 Robert Howlett published a booklet on the preservation of prints. In the 1860s the carbon print process, using pigment, became popular, the process being perfected by Sir Joseph Wilson Swan in 1866.

Š Robert Leggat, 2000.

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FIXING Fixing is the process of removing from photographic materials the unused light-sensitive solutions, thus making the image more permanent. Had Thomas Wedgwood been able to fix his pictures, the invention of photography would have been attributable to him. However, it was not until after his death that Sir John Herschel discovered what Wedgwood had found so elusive. In a paper printed in the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal ( 8 January 1819) Herschel wrote "Muriate of silver (now known as silver chloride), newly precipitated, dissolves in this salt (hyposulphite)....almost as readily as sugar in water." Sodium thiosulphate (incorrectly known as Hypo) is still, in fact, a fixing agent used today. Though fixing made prints more stable, fading was at first a problem that needed to be addressed. One of the causes was inadequate washing of prints after processing. It was this instability that caused people to investigate more lasting processes such as the Carbon one.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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GUM BICHROMATE PROCESS The gum process was introduced in 1894, and was one of several introduced about this period, enabling photographers to obliterate many of the photographic qualities. A gum bichromate practitioner could alter the tones, get rid of details, and using a brush, pencil or rubber, could change an image so much that it looked more like a painting than a photograph. The paper would be coated with gum arabic mixed with a sensitive chemical, which would harden on exposure to light. The exposed gum layer containing a pigment was then washed with water, leaving the hardened parts behind. The print could then be treated with brushes and thus be modified considerably. Gum bichromate prints have little detail, but may sometimes appear almost like charcoal drawings. Stieglitz, writing about the process, said that in it "the artist has a medium that permits the production of any effect desired. These effects are so "unphotographic" in the popular sense of that word as to be described as illegitimate by those ignorant of the method of producing them. In this process the photographer prepares his own paper, using any kind of surface most suited to the result wanted, from the even-surfaced plate paper to rough drawing parchment; he is also at liberty to select the color in which he wishes to finish his picture, and can produce at will in india-ink, red-chalk or any other color desired. The print having been made he moistens it, and with a spray of water or brush can thin-out, shade, or remove any portion of its surface. Besides this, by a system of re-coating, printing-over, etc., he can combine almost any tone color- effect." One of the leading exponents of this process was Robert Demachy. It was eventually superseded by the bromoil one.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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HELIOGRAPHS The name was coined by Nicephore NiĂŠpce (pronounced Nee-ps) to describe the new process he had discovered, when he produced what is generally agreed to be the first photograph, in 1827. The solution he used for this first image was Bitumen of Judea, a derivation of asphalt, found in Syria. It was a varnish which, when coated and dried, hardened when exposed to light. The areas not affected by light were then dissolved using oil of lavender and white petroleum. The light areas, then, were shown by the bitumen, the dark ones by the bare metal. In fact this process has greater resemblance to lithography than to photography, and though it was the first permanent method of recording an image, it was in fact a cul-de-sac as far as photography was concerned.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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IMPRESSIONISM This movement developed from naturalistic painting, particularly landscape, a central feature of 19th Century art. It carried the realist landscape painting of Courbet and others a stage further, the accent being on colour and light in rapid brush- strokes. The term itself comes from a Monet painting entitled "Impression: Sunrise", painted in 1872, a picture of Le Havre in the mist. A malicious critic, Louis Leroy, dubbed his work "impressionist", using the term in a derogatory way, but others warmed to Monet's style and happily adopted the name; from then onwards Impressionism was a term representing an experience arising from a fleeting impression, rather than laborious detail. Their work is characterised by a variety of brush- strokes, and by high-key colours. Other impressionists in the art world included Degas, Renoir and Pissarro. Sir Ernst Gombrich, the art historian, commenting upon the impressionists, writes: "They discovered that if we look at nature in the open, we do not see individual objects each with its own colour but rather a bright medley of cones which blend in our eye or really in our mind." What brought these artists together was not their strategies or general approach, for they were widely different; what united them was an intense dislike for the art establishment of the time, and repeated rejections by the Salon jury in France. They looked with a measure of contempt at the current establishment; it is said that Sir Joshua Reynolds was nicknamed "Sir Sloshua" by them. Photography also had its impressionists. In May 1874 a group of them in Paris began to exhibit photographs at the studio belonging to Nadar. The group continued in being for the next twelve years, and work was exhibited by, among others, Cezanne and Gaugin. Another photographer


who was influenced by the impressionists was George Davidson, who contended that a sharp photograph was not always to be striven for. For one of his photographs, "The Onion field" (1890) he used rough-surfaced paper and a soft-focus technique. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The KODAK Story Or part of it, at any rate! Kodak's name will be remembered, not because of any major technical development, but because it was the first company to produce equipment that could be used by anyone. Up till this time would-be photographers virtually had to be chemists as well as artists; they were picture makers in a very real sense! When Kodak cameras appeared on the scene, picture taking came to the fore, and this paved the way for people to concentrate on the image, and leave the preparation and the development processes to others. The genius behind the Kodak camera - and its name - was George Eastman. His first box camera (the Eastman Cossitt) was produced in 1886, but it was too costly. In July 1888 the Kodak camera was exhibited for the first time in Minneapolis, and became an instant success. Why the name Kodak? It was short, and easy to pronounce. In the 1920s Eastman wrote: The letter "K" had been a favourite with me - it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter. It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with "K". The Kodak was relatively small (approximately 6"x3"x3") and though it weighed nearly three pounds, was still much lighter than current cameras. There was no film counter, and was sold with film for 100 exposures (paper-based, incidentally). The lens was wide, with a sixty degree angle of view, thus anything from four feet onwards would be in sharp focus. Because of the wide angle, it was not considered necessary to have a viewfinder. However, the wide angle lens had very poor definition at the edges, so a circular mask was placed in front of the film at the focal plane - which was not to everybody's liking. What features did the first Kodak have which caused it to have such an impact? ●

● ●

It contained a 20 foot roll of light-sensitive film, sufficient to allow for as many as a hundred pictures approximately 2 1/2" in diameter. it could be used in the hand the shutter worked at roughly 1/25s., which ensured that pictures were sharp provided that one kept the camera still the camera had an f9 lens which ensured that all subjects beyond eight feet or would be in sharp focus.

In effect, it opened the door for photographers to take pictures, without having to learn about processing or chemicals. It was a watershed as far as photography for the ordinary person was concerned. As the advertisements claimed, there were only three simple movements to make: setting the shutter, pressing the exposure button, and winding the film on. And at the end of the film one simply sent the entire camera for processing, and it would be returned with a new film installed. Hence the famous advertising slogan "You Press the Button, We do the Rest!" The Kodak reached Britain towards the end of 1888, and was immediately acclaimed. The Amateur Photographer review stated: We venture to say that it is, without exception, the most beautiful instrument that has ever been offered for the public in connection with photography." It rapidly became the tourist's camera. From the Photographic News Almanac, 1891: "In my varied wanderings I have met the gentleman with the black leather covered box everywhere.... where the American tourists swarm, the Kodak seems as necessary a part of their belongings as the portmanteau" ( a leather trunk for clothes etc., opening into two equal parts). Other versions soon followed, the No.2 Kodak camera introducing transparent celluloid film for the first time. If you are visitng the UK or already live there, the National Museum of Photography Film and Television is a must. The Kodak Gallery will take you through the history of popular photography from its earliest days up to the present.


Š Robert Leggat, 2002.

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LANDSCAPE photography From the earliest days of photography, landscape work was popular, even though it often involved considerable trial and inconvenience, particularly when the collodion process was used. An interesting catalogue of landscape photography is to be found in a somewhat poetically-delivered lecture by James Mudd, to the Manchester Photographic Society in 1858: "Landscape photography! How pleasantly the words fall upon the ear of the enthusiastic photographer. What agreeable association are connected with our excursions into the country. How often have we wandered along the rough sea-shore or climbed the breezy hill-side, or descended the shady valley, or toiled along the rock bed of some mountain stream, forgetting, in the excitement of our pursuit, the burdens we carried, or the roughness of the path we trod. What delightful hours we passed in wandering through the quiet ruins of some venerable abbey, impressing, with wondrous truth, upon the delicate tablets we carried, the marvellous beauty of Gothic window, of broken column, and ivy wreathed arch. How pleasant our visits to moss-green old churches and picturesque cottages and stately castles and a thousand pretty nooks, in the shady wood, by the river side, or in the hedgerow, where the wild convolvulus, the bramble and luxuriant fern have arrested us in our wanderings...." Among the leading landscape photographers of this period were Roger Fenton, P.H. Delamotte, and Francis Bedford.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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LATENT IMAGE, The The earliest exposures were very long indeed, and photographers would peer into the camera to inspect the image as it appeared. At the time it had been assumed that if the image did not appear, no change had occurred. Then Daguerre and Fox Talbot both independently and, it seems, accidentally, discovered that whilst short exposures produced no visible image, if one were to treat exposed plates with the fumes of heated mercury, an image would start to appear. This was a major breakthrough, because it enabled much shorter exposures to be made. In his record dated 23 September 1840 Talbot wrote about his calotype: "Some very remarkable results were obtained. Half a minute suffices for the Camera, the paper when removed is often perfectly blank but when kept in the dark the picture begins to appear spontaneously, and keeps improving for several minutes, after which it should be washed and fixed with (iodine of potassium)." For latent, then, read "hidden." Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MELAINOTYPE process, The This is the name given by some to the Tintype process. The Melaiontype was the name given by its inventor, Peter Neff Jr.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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MICRO-PHOTOGRAPHY This is photography made on a vastly reduced scale, to be observed using a microscope or projected using a "magic lantern." Though George Shadbolt is credited with being the inventor of microphotography, the first known example of micro-photography was by John Benjamin Dancer, in 1839, when he produced photographs 15mm in diameter. Thomas Sutton , in his 1858 Dictionary of Photography, had little time for this kind of work, which he dismissed as "of little or no practical utility" and "somewhat childish and trivial." However, Sir David Brewster, a prominent physicist and Principal of Edinburgh University, was most enthusiastic about Dancer's work, and predicted that micro-photographs might one day be used to send secret messages in the event of war. In the 1857 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica he wrote: "Microscopic copies of despatches and valuable papers and plans might be placed in spaces not larger than a full stop of a small blot of ink." Brewster also took some of Dancer's work on a tour in Europe. It was probably as a result of this tour that several opticians in France began producing micro-photographs. Among these was Rene Dagron, who produced curios, placing microphotographs in penholders, signet rings and other objects. At one stage Dargon employed over a hundred in this flourishing trade. Only a few years later, in the Siege of Paris in 1870, Brewster's prediction came true. Many people were able to escape from Paris by balloon, but because of the prevailing wind a journey to Paris was not possible. To maintain communication with Paris, Dargon and his assistant escaped from the city by balloon, and when they reached the unoccupied zone, he set about preparing a pigeon post service. Messages were printed in microphotographic form, and then were attached to the tails of carrier pigeons. (For further details of this interesting story see HERE). The messages were subsequently enlarged by projection. It is also said that during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, spies used to smuggle secret reports in micro-photographic form. The term should not be (but often is!) confused with photo-micrography; the micro-photographic process is taken to mean a substantial reduction of the "real thing" either for archival, portability or, as shown above, clandestine purposes.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997. Last updated undefined


NATURALISTIC Photography In 1889 P.H. Emerson produced a book entitled "Naturalistic Photography for Students of Art." This was at the time pictorialism was in vogue, and Emerson was making the plea that contrived photography, with such manipulation as combination printing, should have no place in photography. Emerson's main claim was that one should treat photography as a legitimate art in its own right, rather than seek to imitate other art forms; imitation was not needed - it could confer its own legitimacy without it. Emerson's feeling was that pictorialism was becoming somewhat bogged down due to sentimentalism and artificiality. At the same time, others were becoming dissatisfied with the fact that the Photographic Society had become too concerned with scientific rather than with artistic aspects of photography. Emerson urged that photographic students should look at nature rather than paintings, that one should look at the range-finder or focusing screen and see what kind of pictures this created. He felt every student should "..try to produce one picture of his own...which shall show the author has something to say and knows how to say it; that is something to have accomplished..."

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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OZOTYPE PROCESS, The The Ozotope is a pigment process introduced by Thomas Manley in 1898, for which he was granted a patent. A gelatine silver bromide was transferred by contact to pigment paper.

The method did not prove to be very popular at the time. Curiously enough, sometimes one reads of modern day attempts, and a search might prove profitable!

Picture: On Yarmouth Fish Quay, Rev. Henry Dick, 1903 Š Robert Leggat, 2003.

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PICTORIALISM The modern usage of this term may give a misleading picture of the movement as it arose in the second half of the nineteenth century; in any case, like the all-embracing word "art" it is a most elusive, intangible, and highly subjective term. In modern parlance it is sometimes taken to suggest conservatism, and the unwillingness to explore new approaches. In its original meaning anything that put the finished picture first and the subject second was pictorialism. Given such a meaning, pictorialism by no means excluded more modern trends; any photograph that stressed atmosphere or viewpoint rather than the subject would come under this category. By the second half of the nineteenth century the novelty of capturing images was beginning to wear off, and some people were now beginning to question whether the camera, as it was then being used, was in fact too accurate and too detailed in what it recorded. This, coupled with the fact that painting enjoyed a much higher status than this new mechanistic process, caused some photographers to adopt new techniques which, as they saw it, made photography more of an art form. These new techniques came also to be known as High-Art photography. In effect, the term Pictorialism is used to describe photographs in which the actual scene depicted is of less importance than the artistic quality of the image. Pictorialists would be more concerned with the aesthetics and, sometimes, the emotional impact of the image, rather than what actually was in front of their camera. Because pictorialism was seen as artistic photography, one would not be surprised that current styles of art would be reflected in their work; as impressionism was in vogue at the time, many photographs have more than a passing resemblance to paintings in this style. Examples of this approach include combination printing, the use of focus, the manipulation of the negative, and the use of techniques such as gum bichromate, which greatly lessened the detail and produced a more artistic image. Among the major workers who are associated with this approach to photography were Oscar Rejlander, Henry Peach Robinson (who wrote a major book entitled "Pictorial Effect in Photography"), Robert Demachy, and George Davidson.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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PLATINUM printing This process dates from 1873, when it was introduced by William Willis. Plain paper with sensitive iron salts (no silver) was exposed in contact with a negative. The print would then be developed in a potassium oxalate solution. The process produced an image with beautifully rich black tones, and a tremendous tonal range, that makes platinum prints stand out. It was also, unlike other processes, permanent. Amongst those who used this medium were Peter Henry Emerson, Clarence White , Frederick Evans, and Gertrude Kasebier. One of the reasons why this and the gum-bichromate process became more popular amongst serious photographers was that these were ways of distancing themselves from the snapshooters which began to proliferate as a result of the introduction of the first Kodak cameras and film; both processes required skills above the level of the casual amateur photographer. Its use declined after the first world war because of the rising cost of platinum, when palladium largely replaced it.

Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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PORTRAITURE Throughout history people have sought to produce images either of themselves or of others. The problem is that the skills required to make portraits are in short supply, and therefore expensive. Until the eighteenth century, therefore, portraits were generally regarded as the privilege of the wealthy. In any case, artists are able, through this medium, not only to depict what they see, but what they believe or prefer to portray. There are several instances in which a famous personality has been painted on numerous occasions, and have such striking differences that it is difficult to know what the sitter really looked like! The eighteenth century saw a demand for portraits which were less expensive, and this resulted in two developments. One was the use of miniature portraits, which were relatively much less expensive; the other was the popularity of profile pictures, usually traces from the shadow cast by a lamp, sometimes cut freehand from paper. This technique was named after Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), who made profiles, and such silhouettes, often embellished with gold, became very popular. The invention of photography marked a watershed as far as portraiture was concerned, and it is not difficult to understand why photography, from the earliest days, had such an instant appeal both in America and in Europe, particularly in this area. Portraiture, once only for the well-to-do, was now available to all, as a natural leveller. There was a lot of money to be made out of the practice. One of the earliest photographers, Richard Beard, was said to have earned forty thousand pounds in one year (a large sum today - a fortune then!) However, this profession could also be precarious. Beard himself became bankrupt in 1847, and Scott Archer, who invented the Wet Collodion process, died penniless. Sutcliffe, the brilliant photographer of Whitby, failed in Tunbridge Wells, and had to sell out and return to Whitby. Consequently some photographers diversified. Thomson in addition to being a photographer, was a tobacconist, and like others, would offer a photograph and a cigar for six pence (2.5p) Others combined photography with more traditional art. The portrait, though much sought after, was often an event which one had good cause to remember: â—?

â—?

â—?

As the process was only sensitive to blue or white, one had to dress in appropriate colours. Henry Peach Robinson used to provide very specific hints; the portrait could only be taken if the weather was suitable; clients would often have to climb a number of stairs, as most of the studios were located on the top of a building; there were various methods of keeping a sitter still, a popular one being a metal clamp (hidden from the camera) behind the sitter's head. (This was not new to photography, one must add it was quite commonly used on conventional portraiture).

One sitter recalled the ordeal: "(He sat) for eight minutes, with strong sunlight shining on his face and tears trickling down his cheeks while...the operator promenaded the room with watch in hand, calling out the time every five seconds, until the fountains of his eyes were dry."


Full length portraits often reveal how carefully one posed people in order to keep them still and yet provide a natural posture. An interesting photograph is "The Bird Cage" by Hill and Adamson (a section of which is shown on the left); one should note how carefully the hands are placed in this picture, and note also the tell-tale shadow behind the head of the lady on the right, which suggests that there was some device to keep her head still during exposure.

One problem which Hill and Adamson were not able to resolve was eye control. Exposures were very long indeed, and it is likely that Hill (the artist of the two) advised sitters to close their eyes unless they were very good at keeping their eyes open without blinking. Here is one way to solve the problem! One of Fox Talbot's pictures, of his wife and daughters: they are facing the other way, and we only see their hats! (Picture dated 19th April 1842) Trying to keep a sitter still for this long process must sometimes have been quite a feat. The most extreme form of persuasion comes from an article in the American Journal of Photography, 1861, where we read of one operator who had tried all sorts of means of persuasion, "...when it occurred to him that the strongest of all human motives is fear. As soon as he had completed his adjustments, he suddenly draws a revolver, and levelling it at the sitter's head, he explains in a voice and with a look suggestive of lead and gunpowder: 'Dare to move a muscle and I'll blow your brains out....'" Another, advertising photography "without pain" proposed to use gas on his sitters, and once they were out for the count, he would take the picture. Yet another suggested "A good dose of laudanum (opium) will effectively prevent the sitters from being conscious of themselves, of the camera, or anything else. They become most delightfully tractable, and you can do anything with them under such circumstances....." Though there are many examples of work before the invention of Collodion, it was the discovery of this process which triggered off the enormous boom in portraiture. In April 1857 Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, whose husband had been the first President of the Photographic Society, wrote: "Who can number the legion of petty dabblers, who display their trays of specimens along every great


thoroughfare in London, executing for our lowest servants, for one shilling, that which no money would have commanded... twenty years ago? Not that photographers flock especially to the metropolis; they are wanted everywhere and found everywhere. The large provincial cities abound with the sun's votaries, the smallest town is not without them; and if there be a village so poor and remote as not to maintain a regular establishment, a visit from a photographic travelling man gives it the advantages which the rest of the world are enjoying. Thus, where not half a generation ago the existence of such a vocation was not dreamt of, tens of thousands.... are now following a new business, practising a new pleasure, speaking in a new language, and bound together by a new sympathy." It has to be said that this was a period in which portraiture was perhaps more characterised for the quantity of production, rather than by its quality. To some extent the early photographers may be exonerated, because of the technical aspects which so dominated the process. Nevertheless, many of the Carte-de-visite portraits were verging on the banal, their authors being apparently more concerned with making a quick profit than to "portray" the sitter. The lighting for many of these was uninteresting, the setting often so stereotyped that one can almost date the photographs by the props! Bluntly, many images show evidence of very fast impersonal photography where the practitioner was out to make a quick kill and had little time or interest for the sitter as a person. The length of exposure, coupled with a conveyor-belt mentality by some photographers, is the main reason why so many pictures, particularly daguerreotypes, appear so impersonal. Sitters would either stare into the camera or would look into the distance, as Lewis Carroll put it in Hiawatha's photography: "With a look of pensive meaning As of ducks that die in tempests" The "style" being used was not only determined by financial considerations but to some extent by the demands of the sitter; it was fashionable to have pictures which took people out of the real, possibly harsh world and presented them as more well-to-do than in real life, hence the use of standard props which provided such an image. Not all photographers of the period may have welcomed this, but the customer has always to be right; Robinson is said to have commented upon the many people who buy clothes specially for the occasion, and to have said "How am I to get a likeness of a person who does not look like herself?" Many of the images are full-length photographs, which show more of the props and mock glamour than the faces being portrayed, and given the fact that a straight photograph (unlike a portrait) can be cruel, such an arrangement may have satisfied the needs of both photographer and sitter! Nevertheless, there are some remarkable exceptions to this rather dismal trend, where there is evidence that the photographer went to great lengths to portray the sitter as would a painter, by making them feel at ease, by producing close-ups of the face that revealed their personality, by using more adventurous lighting, and by discarding trite backgrounds. Some interesting advice to patrons was provided by Edward Wilson, especially on what to wear. For such photographers, the motive was not profit but quality. Among such workers are Hill and Adamson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll and, sometime later, Alvin Langdon Coburn. Another photographer who used portraiture, but for medical reasons, was Hugh Welch Diamond.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999. Last updated undefined


PRE-RAPHAELITES, The The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood was founded in 1848, and consisted of a group of mainly British artists, all in their twenties, who rejected the neoclassical style which at that time was in vogue, wishing to return to what they felt to be purer Early Renaissance art. Their name comes from the fact that they believed that Raphael had introduced the art they so disliked. Though the movement lasted only ten years or so, the impact they had upon art in Britain at the time was considerable. The movement had in the main three phases: ● ● ●

realist - where the emphasis was upon historical and religious paintings (eg Rossetti, Hunt) "truth to nature" - where the stress was upon contemporary scenes, almost of surreal detail; a fascination for the Middle Ages, leading to painting of Arturian legend, and mediaeval themes and styles.

They tended to look to the past for their inspiration, and thus their pictures had religious, mythological or historical bases, particularly mediaeval themes. Their message appeared to be that truth was ugly, that to beautify it to make "high art" dress people up - contrive the situations. Initially they all exhibited pictures anonymously, all using the same initials PRB. When a few years later the names of the painters became known, they were quite harshly taken to task by Charles Dickens, Amongst their number are names such as Holman Hunt - who painted "The Light of the World" (1853), and Dante Rossetti. John Ruskin actively promoted this trend, and though the group disbanded in 1855, its ideas continued for quite some time. Among those who one might suggest were influenced by the Pre- Raphaelite movement were Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henry Peach Robinson and Francis Bedford. It would be wrong to imagine that a school of Pre-Raphaelite photography existed, but rather that a number of photographers shared some of the sentiments typical of those who were in the Brotherhood. © Robert Leggat, 1998.

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SALTED PAPER Until 1850, the earliest prints were salt-paper ones. They were made by coating sheets of paper with salt dissolved in water, and then sensitising the paper. Salted papers were not subjected to development. They were printed out; that is to say they were contact prints, placed in a frame with the negative, but left to print out in the sun, a process that would take approximately thirty minutes. It would then be fixed in the normal way. Because the paper had been sensitised in this manner, the image was in the paper, rather than on it. The texture of the paper, then, also appeared on the image, and this caused a loss of definition. Some actually preferred this, and were not taken by the glossy appearance of the albumen paper which began to supersede it (see for example Shadbolt), preferring the matte form of salted-paper. Š Robert Leggat, 1997. Last updated undefined


SEPARATION negatives It was James Clerk Maxwell who first showed that by taking three separate pictures, each through a filter (red, blue and green) and by superimposing the lantern slides (again with the appropriate filter in each projector), colours could be re- created. The three negatives produced in this way are called colour separation negatives, because the visible spectrum has been separated into three parts. Early attempts to reproduce colour began at the turn of the century, but were out of the reach of all but the more dedicated and wealthy photographer. Initially the subjects were still-life ones (obviously the three images had to be exactly the same), though cameras were then produced which exposed three pictures simultaneously.

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The SUBTRACTIVE process There are two ways of producing a colour, the additive process and the subtractive one. In the subtractive process a colour is produced by subtracting colours from white light. So to produce yellow, for example, blue is subtracted from white. The three filters associated with this process are ● ● ●

blue-green (called cyan) which is white minus red, magenta, which is white minus green, and yellow, which is white minus blue.

This forms the basis of the current colour photographic systems.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The "291" A growing dissatisfaction with the photographic establishment in England and in America at the turn of the century led to the formation of new groups such as the Linked Ring in the UK, and a group of avante-garde photographers in the United States, spearhearded by Stieglitz The American group came to be known as the Photo-Secession. From November 1905 this group laid on exhibitions of work at "The Little Galleries of the PhotoSecession" at 291 Fifth Avenue, New York, which came to be known simply as "291." Though the idea initially had been to display the new form of photography, the 291 evolved to become a major focal point of modern art. Paintings exhibited included those of Cezanne, Rodin, Matisse, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec. In 1917 the 291, in financial difficulties, closed its doors, though Stieglitz operated other similar galleries up to the 1940s.

Š Robert Leggat, 1998. Last updated undefined


The TINTYPE process First, see Ambrotype. The tintype, also known as a ferrotype, is a variation on this, but produced on metallic sheet (not, actually, tin) instead of glass. The plate was coated with collodion and sensitized just before use, as in the wet plate process. It was introduced by Adolphe Alexandre Martin in 1853**, and became instantly popular, particularly in the United States, though it was also widely used by street photographers in Great Britain. That this process appealed to street photographers was not surprising: ● ●

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the process was simple enough to enable one to set up business without much capital. It was much faster than other processes of the time: first, the base did not need drying, and secondly, no negative was needed, so it was a one-stage process. Cheap to produce, a typical price for a tintype was 6d (2 1/2p) and 1 shilling (5p). being more robust than ambrotypes it could be carried about, sent in the post, or mounted in an album. The material could easily be cut up and therefore fitted into lockets, brooches, etc.

The most common size was about the same as the carte-de-visite, 2 1/4'' x 3 1/2'', but both larger and smaller ferrotypes were made. The smallest were "Little Gem" tintypes, about the size of a postage-stamp, made simultaneously on a single plate in a camera with 12 or 16 lenses. Compared with other processes the tintype tones seem uninteresting. They were often made by unskilled photographers, and their quality was very variable. They do have some significance, however, in that they made photography available to working classes, not just to the more well-to-do. Whereas up till then the taking of a portrait had been more of a special "event" from the introduction of tintypes, we see more relaxed, spontaneous poses. Some tintypes that remain are somewhat poignant. The one shown here is of a child who has died. If this seems bizarre, it would seem to have been quite a practice in the last century. In fact, the original name for Tintype was "Melainotype." It is perhaps worth adding that there was no tin in them. Some have suggested that the name after the tin shears used to separate the images from the whole plate, others that it was just a way of saying "cheap metal" (ie non-silver). The print would come out laterally reversed (as one sees oneself in a mirror); either people did not worry about this, or just possibly they did not discover it until after the photographer had disappeared!*** Being quite rugged, tintypes could be sent by post, and many astute tintypists did quite a trade in America during the Civil War, visiting the encampments. Later, some even had their shop on river-boats. Tintypes were eventually superseded by gelatin emulsion dry plates in the 1880s, though street photographers in various parts of the world continued with this process until the 1950s; the writer well remembers being photographed by one of these street photographers in Argentina, when he was a boy. Eventually, of course, 35mm and Polaroid photography were to replace these entirely. ** Professor Hamilton L. Smith was the first to make ferrotypes in the Unites States, and he and


Victor Moreau Griswold introduced the process to the photographic industry. *** Sometimes failure to recognise this has led to false assumptions. One reader kindly drew my attention to an article in the Guardian, regarding Billy the Kid, whose picture is shown on the right. (See HERE). He was not, as has been assumed by many, left-handed. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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TONING, Print Toning was a chemical process which changed the colour of a photograph. It had a further benefit in that a toned image would be far more permanent. Gold toning came into use in the 1850s, using gold chloride. The tone of the prints varied considerably, as the toning depended upon such factors as the density of the negative, the light, and even the way the paper had been sized. (For example, one finds that prints made in England seem warmer than those made in France, which was due to the fact that paper sizing in England was with gelatin).

Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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VORTOGRAPHS and VORTICISM With its roots in Futurism and Cubism, Vorticism was a movement introduced by the painter and writer Wynham Lewis when he published "Blast: Review of the Great English Vortex." In this the traditional values were ridiculed, and modern technology exalted. This movement was championed by the poet Ezra Pound, and made popular by Alvin Langdon Coburn, who was one of its leading exponents. Like all movements, a concise definition can be misleading, but one of the aims of the Vorticist photographer was to mirror the complexity of industrialised civilisation. The roots of this were in Cubism. Another exponent of this relatively short-lived movement (three years or so) was Malcolm Arbuthnot, a regular contributor to the Amateur Photographer in the early part of the 20th century. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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WAXED PAPER Process One of the problems of the calotype process was that as one had to print through the paper negative, the imperfections of the paper would also show. Care was taken to ensure that the right kind of paper was used. However, the more transparent the paper, the greater the definition. It was quite a common practice to wax the calotype negative after it had been developed and fixed. However, Gustave Le Gray introduced, in 1851, a process whereby waxing was part of the process prior to exposure and development. Le Gray's process also enabled the paper to be kept a week or so before use. However, though it showed a definite improvement in definition, it was also slower than the calotype process; sometimes exposures of up to fifteen minutes in sunshine were sometimes required. It was for this reason that most of the subjects using this process were inanimate. Š Robert Leggat, 1997.

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WET PLATE PROCESS The more popular name for the wet plate process is Collodion, invented by Scott Archer. It is called such because the entire process of coating the plate, exposing it, and processing had to be completed before the collodion dried. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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The WOODBURYTYPE process This is a form of photographic printing, mentioned here because it appears almost identical as a photograph. The process was patented by Walter Woodbury in 1866, and is similar to the carbon process. The great feature of the Woodbury process is that a photograph in gelatine is caused by enormous pressure to indent a sheet of lead. The quality of the pictures was remarkable, with no grain, and the process was widely used until the turn of the century. Š Robert Leggat, 1999.

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A History of Photography from its beginnings till the 1920s. Rating: ****

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Resource for information about the early years of photography. Includes an essay tracing the stages of development from daguerrotypes through calotypes and the collodion process to the dry plate process. Provides brief biographies for an extensive list of important early photographers such as Louis Daguerre, George Eastman, Eadweard Muybridge, Alfred Stieglitz, and William Henry Fox Talbot. Also defines and describes various processes, movements, and terms. Offers a bibliography and list of British museums with large photography collections.

"This site is a very good source of information on the beginnings of photography until the 1920s. It provides thumbnail biographies of people who made significant contributions and reasonably extensive information on the processes, styles and movements involved. It also includes an extensive bibliography organised in terms of level of study and a list of museums where you can see the real thing. Unfortunately, no photographs are included due to copyright restrictions. "

Education Index Top Site "Summarizing photography from its beginnings through 1920, this is a text presentation with information on the contributions of dozens of people and processes in early photography. It's an excellent resource, well organized for ease of use."


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