British photographic history

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Seminars: DMU Cultures of Photography - Spring 2015

The Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester, has announced its seminar programme for Spring 2015. They are open to everyone, without charge, and take place on Tuesdays from 4–6pm   in the Hugh Aston Building. 

January 13  2015  (Hugh Aston 2.08)

Mirjam Brusius (University of Oxford)

Talbot’s Tools

William Henry Fox Talbot invented the calotype, yet he also had a wide interest in optics, mathematics, botany, archaeology, and classical studies. His manuscripts, now in the archives of the British Library and the Bodleian Library, reveal the connections and contrasts between his photographic innovations and his scholarly pursuits. Drawing on Talbot’s letters, research notebooks, botanical specimens, objects, and photographic prints, new research in these archives will broaden our understanding of Talbot as a Victorian intellectual and a man of science. Since the range of media and tools of his archive are almost as broad as his interests, the archive will also invite us to re-think the place of photography in Talbot studies. This paper will propose some possible avenues.

February 10  2015 (Hugh Aston 1.47)

Emily Hayes (University of Exeter/Royal Geographical Society)

Geographical projections: lantern slides, science and popular geography at the Royal Geographical Society 1886 – 1904

The period 1886-1904 was particularly significant in the professionalization and popularization of geography. This paper discusses the spatial, social and visual modalities of the lantern slide medium across the multiple lecture spaces, and before the changing audiences, of the London Royal Geographical Society (RGS) at this time. It explores the function of lantern slides as instruments of exposition and entertainment within the contexts of the RGS scientific afternoon lectures and popular evening meeting lectures. 

March 10 2015 (Hugh Aston 2.08)

Lenka Fehrenbach (University of Basel)

Being progressive. : Industrial photography in 19th century Russia

In the Russian Empire the development of photography took place during the same period in which industrialization started to take off. Contemporaries used the modern visual medium to depict the new buildings of factories, which changed the face of Russian cities. Entrepreneurs also started to appreciate the benefits of the new pictures, and used them inside their factories and to promote their businesses to a broader audience. The seminar will trace the interactions between these two fields.

Any queries, please contact the conveners: Damian Hughes and Duncan Shields, Photographic History Research Centre ( See also PHRC website or PHRC blog

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