British photographic history

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Wet Plates in Cold Climates: Alaska’s Oldest Photograph & Early Photography

With the increasing cold winters we seem to be experiencing each year in the UK, I thought the following lecture and exhibit might be of interest to fellow BPH members wishing to pursue this area of photography.

Jim Simard, Head of the Alaska State Library Historical Collections, and Ron Klein, photographer and historian are on a search for the oldest photo taken in Alaska as part of their work in creating a new exhibit on early Alaskan photography. Using historical research techniques and an acute knowledge of early photographic processes, they are combing through numerous public and private collections to find the most interesting and earliest photographs of Alaska. If you can make it to Alaska on next Wed 2nd March, their presentation “Wet Plates in Cold Climates: Alaska’s Oldest Old Photograph—and Why” will be on from noon to1 p.m. at the Alaska State Museum as part of the Wednesday noon lecture series. And it's free entry when you get there!

Of interest to BPH members might be an exhibit, which will run through the summer of 2011, tentatively titled, “The First 25 Years of Alaskan Photography,” and will composed primarily of photographs and artifacts from the collections of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museums.  The exhibit will feature images by masters of “wet plate” photography who made significant contributions to the fascinating story of photography in the Alaskan frontier.  The exhibit will feature images by early photographer Charles Ryder, who accompanied the Western Union Telegraph Expedition of 1866, creating the earliest known Alaskan photographs. It will include the work of professionals such as Eadweard J. Muybridge, H.H. Brodeck, William H. Partridge, and other masters of “wet plate” photography. Amateur photographers who made significant contributions to the development of the art will be included. Stereo images, “magic lantern” slides, hand tinted cabinet cards and tiny cart-de-visites all contribute to the fascinating story of photography in the Alaskan frontier. 

The full press release can be found here.

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