British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

James Downs
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Since 2018 I have been editor of 'Photographica World', the journal of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain. A former archivist and librarian, I worked for many years as an independent researcher and recently completed a PhD on 'Ministers of "the Black Art": the engagement of British clergy with photography, 1839-1914. Current projects include a biography of Horatio Ross (1801-86) and a book on Hungarian photographer Iván Szabó (1822-58) – written in collaboration with the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.

James Downs's Blog

Egyptology and Photography: Two Founding Fathers

In the latest issue of Ancient Egypt magazine  (No.78, June-July 2013) I have an article entitled “Egyptology and Photography: Two Founding Fathers”  which traces the correspondence between W H F Talbot and Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius in the 1840s. Lepsius was then preparing for his pioneering expedition to Egypt, and wanted to learn the art of photography from Talbot so that his team could use cameras to record inscriptions and…

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Posted on July 21, 2013 at 16:11 — 2 Comments

Publication: A Carnal Medium

The final decade of the nineteenth century possesses a power to intrigue and fascinate that seems only to grow with time. More than a mere decade, the 1890s continues to inspire works of both fiction and non-fiction. It is a period known by many names - fin-de-siècle, Decadent Nineties, the Beardsley Years, the Yellow Decade, even the Naughty Nineties - and populated by a coterie of literary and artistic icons whose work…

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Posted on January 6, 2013 at 15:30

Hungarian Research

Just returned from Budapest, where I have been carrying out more research on Iván Szabó, including a visit to the fortress of Komárom which he helped defend against Austrian forces during the siege of 1849. During this visit I was very fortunate to be accompanied by Dr Gyula Kedves, Director of the Military Museum in Budapest, and an expert on both Komárom and the 1848-49 war. Other highlights of the trip included a visit to the Hungarian House of Photographers at Mai Manó Haz in Nagymezõ Utca,… Continue

Posted on May 19, 2011 at 21:27 — 2 Comments

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At 11:45 on May 25, 2011, Hugh Ashley Rayner said…

Dear James,

I have currently only a very brief note on  Simpson: 

Simpson, Rev. W.

Amateur. Active in Agra circa 1869. Photographed buildings near Muttra & Agra. His work was published in ‘Illustrations of Buildings near Muttra and Agra’,  published by the India Museum in 1873.

(Ref: Biographical index published in ‘From Bombay to Shanghai’ . Stichtung Fragment Foto, Amsterdam, 1995.)

Unfortunately I don't have any info at all, on anyone called Mullens; so any light you can throw on either his or Simpson's photographic endeavours in India would be much appreciated. Likewise, if I find out any more info, I'll pass it on.

Best Wishes, Hugh Rayner.

At 1:30 on May 23, 2011, Irene Caesar said…
Hello James! Very nice to meet you! I do not have connections in Hungary, but would love to collaborate there!
At 21:32 on September 4, 2010, James Downs said…
Today I bought a carte-de-visite by William Friese Greene: the image itself is relatively uninspiring, but I valued the physical link to one of cinematography's great pioneers. Another purchase today was an old album of photographs from the early 1900s, including clergy portraits, Oxford events and several very fine photographs of boating and rural scenes.
 
 
 

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