British photographic history

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Publications: New Editions of Victorian Photography Books

Edinburgh and Boston-based publisher MuseumsEtc has launched new editions of two classic books on photography, newly-designed and typeset to be accessible for a contemporary audience. Both highly readable, they provide fresh and fascinating insights into the complex photographic practices - and society - of the Victorian period. A History and Handbook of Photography was first published in 1876, and The Photographic Studios of Europe in1882.

John Thomson, editor of A History and Handbook of Photography, is renowned for his photobook Street Life in London, “a pioneering work of social documentation [and] one of the most significant photobooks in the medium’s history” (The Photobook: A History, Parr & Badger, Phaidon 2004). In a career which also included a series of outstanding photographic portfolios - shot in challenging conditions - documenting life, landscape and architecture in the Far East, followed by a successful studio portraiture business in London, Thomson also took time to translate from the French and edit this edition from the original of Gaston Tissandier.

The Photographic Studios of Europe by H Baden Pritchard (“a distinguished name in photography” - Mark Haworth-Booth) is the only detailed account available of working practices and conditions in the studios of the leading photographers of the Victorian period. Revealing, surprising, perceptive and authoritative, this first-hand report is based on seeing scores of photographers and their workshops in action. The result is fascinating and valuable both as a social historical record and as a classic of photographic literature.

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