British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

April 2011 Blog Posts (36)

Symposium: China through the Lenses of the Western Photographers

John Thomson, a Scot who was born two years before the invention of the daguerreotype and the birth of photography, is considered a pioneer of photojournalism and one of the most influential photographers of his generation.

At that time, foreign travel was much more arduous and rare than it is today, and photography was…


Added by Michael Wong on April 30, 2011 at 14:54 — No Comments

Early Photography 1839-1860

Some of you BPH members may have already come across this site, but nevertheless, a useful resource for those who haven't.

This national 'on line' catalogue contains art-historical information on the earliest photographs owned by the Rijksmuseum (Rijksprentenkabinet) in Amsterdam, the Print Room of the University of Leiden and 25 other museums, archives and libraries…


Added by Michael Wong on April 30, 2011 at 14:17 — No Comments

RPS / Photographic Society membership lists

I am completing work on a database of RPS members from 1853-1900 and I recent put out a call for missing membership lists. This produced three more lists previously unknown to me. I would like to make a final appeal for membership lists for the following years: 1855, 1856, 1858, 1860-1865, 1876, 1877, 1894 and 1898.

If you have these – perhaps bound in with the respective volume of the Photographic Journal – I would be pleased to discuss how I might get a copy so that I can… Continue

Added by Michael Pritchard on April 29, 2011 at 9:35 — No Comments

Last call: Photography in Plymouth and the South West

Amateurs and Artists: 19th and 21st Century Photography in the South West. A conference presented by Royal Photographic Society, Historical Group, from Friday, 13 May– Sunday, 15 May 2011 in the Lecture Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA.

Early photography in Plymouth is an untold story.…


Added by Michael Pritchard on April 29, 2011 at 9:30 — No Comments

Book: The First Western Photographer in Mecca, 1884-1885

As mentioned in an earlier BPH blog, The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has just published a new book containing never-before seen photographs of Mecca taken by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje in the late 1800s.

The Islamic scholar Hurgronje was the first…


Added by Michael Wong on April 27, 2011 at 19:41 — No Comments

On Exhibit: One of Britain's most influential modern photographers

Bill Brandt portrayed the lives of all levels of British society in both staged and documentary photographs from the 1930s and 1940s. Now four of his works, including Soho Bedroom (1936), depicting a couple locked in a passionate embrace which was published in his influential book A Night in London (1938) can be viewed in a new exhibition at the Met,…


Added by Michael Wong on April 26, 2011 at 19:30 — No Comments

The Mariannhill Monastery and Ethnographic Photography

Did you know that the Mariannhill Monastery, near Pinetown (South Africa) was a fully fledged photographic studio (complete with painted backdrops for people to pose) from the 1880s to the 1930s? In the late 1890s this studio, then run by Brother Aegidius, produced an album of ethnographic photographs depicting the local Zulu people that found its way into the collections of…


Added by Michael Wong on April 26, 2011 at 19:22 — No Comments

World Wet Collodion Day - 1 May 2011

Wet plate collodion is a photographic process invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851. Prior to this the two main methods of photography had been the daguerreotype and the calotype, both of which had drawbacks. The daguerreotype produced sharp images but were one of a kind, duplication wasn't possible. The calotype was capable of any number of copies but the images were… Continue

Added by Michael Pritchard on April 26, 2011 at 19:18 — No Comments

Book: An Edwardian Summer

Sydney lawyer and identity Arthur Wigram Allen, a tirelessly enthusiastic photographer, was fascinated by the social and technological changes occurring during his lifetime. His talent for amateur photography produced extraordinary pictures that offer a fresh insight into the Edwardian years in Sydney.

The Edwardian era was sandwiched between the great achievements of…


Added by Michael Wong on April 26, 2011 at 18:47 — No Comments

Job: Curator of Photography

Bearer of better news this time round!

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) seeks a curator of photography. This person will oversee and manage the museum's extensive collection, and establish priorities for collections research and development, exhibition programming and interpretation. Additionally, the candidate will be expected to participate in scholarly and…


Added by Michael Wong on April 25, 2011 at 20:58 — No Comments

Auction: 19th century Photographs

If your budget can't quite stretch to the Report of the Juries (1851), fear not as there is a selection of interesting 19th century photographs up for grabs at a forthcoming auction to be held at Bloomsbury Auctioneers on Wednesday 18th May 2011.

This includes one of the earliest instantaneous news photographs -  an 1855 stereoscopic…


Added by Michael Wong on April 25, 2011 at 20:57 — No Comments

Reports by the Juries 1851 available at auction

Although BPH is not particularly commercially orientated every so often something comes along which deserves making a fuss of. British auction house Bonhams has a copy of Reports by the Juries (1851) up for auction on 7 June 2011. This particular copy was presented by W H F Talbot to his daughter Matilda in 1860 and come by descent to the present owner so it is…


Added by Michael Pritchard on April 25, 2011 at 12:30 — No Comments

Video: Behind the scenes .....

Not a new book as such, as it was published in the tail end of 2009, but Todd Gustavson's "Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digitaltheless, a useful resource and one for a photo historian's library.

This cornerstone volume, created in collaboration with the world-famous George Eastman House,…


Added by Michael Wong on April 20, 2011 at 21:30 — No Comments

London museum hit by deep cuts

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Museum of London has recently announced that it has made 11 roles redundant, including three senior curator posts of pre-history, Roman history and photography. Two collections care experts and six front-of-house “hosts” have also taken voluntary redundancy.  

Another senior curator post (of social and working history),…


Added by Michael Wong on April 20, 2011 at 19:30 — No Comments

The 19th century photo album of Mrs Finn

The daughter of an Irish missionary and wife of James Finn (the British consul at the twilight of Ottoman rule in the second half of the 19th century), Elizabeth Finn, was considered a pioneer in bringing photography to the region when she arrived in Jerusalem in 1846.

In 1850, a British missionary known only as Bridges arrived at the Finn home to recover from the…


Added by Michael Wong on April 18, 2011 at 16:22 — No Comments

Online campaign to secure the Side Gallery's funding

An online petition has been launched save Newcastle's Side Gallery which opened in 1977. The Gallery has a commitment to documentary in the tradition of the concerned photographer. It commissions work in the North of England and shows historical and contemporary work from around the world. Talks are organised around most of the exhibitions. The Arts Council has axed Side…


Added by Michael Pritchard on April 17, 2011 at 12:59 — 1 Comment

A photograph by Thomas Protheroe after 1881

Would anyone recognize the gentleman shown in this portrait by the Bristol photographer Thomas Protheroe? A cabinet card dated after 1881.

Added by Tony Rackstraw on April 15, 2011 at 12:00 — No Comments

Another first for the Scots .....

Did you know that Smithsonian's first photographer and curator of photography was a Scotsman?

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1843, Thomas William Smillie immigrated to the United States with his family when he five years old. After studying chemistry and medicine at Georgetown University, he took a job as a photographer at the Smithsonian Institution, where he stayed…


Added by Michael Wong on April 14, 2011 at 21:40 — No Comments

World's first female photographer? In Edinburgh?

Anna Atkins? Constance Talbot?

Well, according to Roddy Simpson, a former secretary of the Scottish Society for the History of Photography and currently a photographic researcher at Glasgow University, he thinks the accolade should be bestowed upon Jessie Mann, who lived in Edinburgh in the 1840s.

Miss Mann, from Perthshire, was an assistant to Edinburgh-based photographic pioneers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, may have been the first female to use photographic…


Added by Michael Wong on April 13, 2011 at 9:00 — 4 Comments

The Legacy of Ten.8 Symposium - 5 May 2011

Rescheduled from Autumn 2010, this symposium explores the impact and legacy of the photography magazine TEN.8. Published throughout the 1980s before it folded in 1992, TEN.8 was conceived by then Birminghambased Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and John Reardon to bring together the city’s photographers. Its impact however, reached far beyond this initial aspiration.

Speakers include Derek Bishton, journalist and founder member of TEN.8; David Brittain, Manchester Metropolitan University;…


Added by Michael Pritchard on April 12, 2011 at 20:32 — 3 Comments

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