Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
From the first tentative ‘drawings of shadows’ produced in the mid-1830s to its universal acceptance as a leisure pursuit, photography was swept along by a tide of entrepreneurial activity throughout the 19th century.
As an influential new artistic and documentary medium, photography rapidly developed into a lucrative profession. Science, government, industry and a growing media quickly recognised its power both to reflect and to shape society, while both artists and amateurs embraced its potential for personal expression.
Organised by subject matter, the exhibition asks: 'Who was taking the photograph and why?' Section by section, items are presented within their cultural context to explore some of the major themes of the 19th century – from expansion to industrialisation, science, and the rapid changes taking place in society. The final section reveals how technology responded to the demands of a developing mass market for photography, which continues to the present day.