British photographic history

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The release of Mr Turner, Mike Leigh's film about J M W Turner includes a meeting between Turner and the photographer J J E Mayall who takes Turner's daguerreotype portrait. The film scenario notes: Turner visits the London studio of J.J.E. Mayall, a young photographer and maker of daguerreotypes. Turner is fascinated by the camera and the technology, but expresses concern at the implication of this new art.

In Chelsea, he shows Mrs Booth his daguerreotype portrait, and informs her, to her horror, that he has arranged for the two of them to be photographed together in a few days. Although she flatly refuses to go, we soon find her there, side by side with Turner. She is terrified. As Mayall takes their picture, he talks of having photographed the Niagara Falls. Turner reflects ruefully that there will  soon come a time when photography will replace painting.

In the film John J E Mayall is portrayed by Leo Bill who was instructed by modern daguerreotypist David Burder FRPS. 

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Comment by Angela Kelly on November 6, 2014 at 16:39

 Curious about this new movie and the obvious brilliance of Leigh's high production values. The heightened dramas are masterful and of course great entertainment, but I am hoping for more authentic historical revelations besides the beautiful staging etc. 

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