British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history


I am currently doing a practice based PhD in Photography at Brighton University. The focus of my research is on the photographic portrait studio.

I am trying to locate any writing on commercial portrait studios in the 20th century. I am particularly looking for first hand accounts describing the studio setting, the day to day running of the studio and descriptive accounts both from the sitter's perspective and the photographer's. Any more general historical information would also be useful too or even articles from trade magazines reflecting the state of the industry.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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The photographic press - the BJP is a good start point.  For the 1970s and 80s The IIP/BIPP's The Photographer carried a lot of  examples. 

Thanks Michael, I've been checking these out. Annoyingly the BIPP don't keep an archive of The Photographer back issues or any record of articles that may have been published in them. I guess it's just a question of sitting in the British Library and browsing through them.  Thanks again. 


Have you tried contacting Tom Reeves of Edward Reeves photographic studio in nearby Lewes?

This has been a family-run studio since the mid-19th century and I understand he keeps an archive of historical material. Maybe there will be suitable sources from the early-1900s to help with your project. 

Thank you Jayne, that's most helpful. 

My father did his apprenticeship at Darby's Studio in West Bromwich, during the late 50s/early 60s he is a mine of fascinating information and anecdote. Get in touch with me if I can be of any assistance

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