British photographic history

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The British scientist and inventor William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) pioneered the art of ‘photogenic drawing’ in the 1830s – the method of capturing images using light-sensitive paper and a camera. His experiments with this new medium, ranging from the delicate capture of natural specimens to atmospheric architectural studies, lay the foundations for photography as we know it today. Living and working in the village of Lacock in Wiltshire, Talbot also produced simple, sensitive portraits of his family and friends.

Published to accompany a Media Space exhibition opening at the Science Museum in London on 14 April 2016, this stunning catalogue examines how Talbot’s invention of photography evolved to establish its artistic, scientific and industrial possibilities. Also explored are the relationships within the network of photographers who gravitated towards Talbot’s process, each of whom took photography into different territories.

Featuring 100 high-quality reproductions of Talbot’s work, Dawn of the Photograph is a testament to his magical and industrial visions, as well as his ambitions for photography as a means of mass production.


ISBN: 978 1 78551 053 3
PAGES: 176
PRICE: £27.95, $45
PUBLICATION: 2 June 2016

Dr Russell Roberts is Reader in Photography at the University of South Wales.

Greg Hobson is Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum in Bradford

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