Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Rob McElroy has just published his press release about the sale of his good friend Matt Isenburg's monumental collection of photographica.
As detailed, Matt Isenburg's collection of cameras, lenses, images, photographic literature and ephemera, plus many other supporting items that chronicle the first 40 years of photography has been sold and now resides in Canada. Matt was in an enviable position with a keen eye and good income to accumulate many magnificent, rare and historically important items, often with the motto of paying "tomorrow's prices for today's collectibles". The collection contains a comprehensive history of the daguerreian and wet plate eras of photography, outstanding in its coverage of both the hardware and resultant images which is one of the collection's unique features, and it is clearly the best ever assembled in private hands anywhere in the world. Many had the privelege of travelling to Matt's home to view his collection that was displayed in the attic of his home, complimented by a vast and comprehensive library of contemporary photographic literature from around the world, housed on the ground floor. I had the fortune to view the collection as a house guest in 2009. Many will know Matt through his long term presidency of the Daguerreian Society and his many lectures to photographic historical groups and the articles that he wrote. Matt has always been encouraging of others to continue the quest of exploring and documenting our photographic past and the maintenance of his collection intact and accessable will ensure that this can continue for many years to come, especially with the very active program of photographic studies at Ryerson University, also situated in Toronto where the Isenburg collection now resides.
Matt accumulated numerous choice cartes de visite with many mind boggling examples of photographers with their cameras and other tools of trade, these being amongst the most sought after types of carte especially for the insights into photography practice in the 19th century that they provide.
Marcel Safier, Brisbane, Australia
I, like many others on this list, have been a warmly received house guest of Matt who has shared his immense knowledge and hospitality with so many for a subject he has cherished. To know that this collection will be kept together, curated and shown is a remarkable legacy that we will all benefit from. It also has the advantage of now being in Canada where I currently reside :-) Rob and Marcel both make excellent points about Matt's ability to further the subject by enouraging others in so many ways and I agree fully with that. I'm honored to have him as a friend and mentor - both roles he has excelled in.