British photographic history

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Digitisation: The RPS Journal and the BJP to be made available

The world's two oldest photographic periodicals have announced their digitisation. The Royal Photographic Society's Photographic Journal, which dates from March 1853 and the British Journal of Photography which dates from January 1854 will be made available in digital forms to researchers and the public. Both publications have been published continuously since their first issue.

BPH understands that The RPS has already completed digitisation of its Journal from 1853 to 2012 and that it will be made available in a searchable form with the launch of The Society's new website in January 2014. The project has been funded through the generosity of a RPS member. The BJP has announced its own digitisation in its January 2014 issue (BJP, January 2014, p. 98) which stated that 'throughout 2014 and beyond, we will be digitising BJP's entire archive'. Its intent 'is to make [it] available to our readers, as well as historians, professors and researchers worldwide'. It is not reported whether access will be charged for. The RPS will make access available to the public without charge.

Commenting on the RPS digitisation to BPH The Society stated: "During a scoping exercise it became apparent how rare runs of the RPS Journal were and digitisation would both preserve the content and make it far more widely available to everyone from photographic historians, to family historians. The Royal Photographic Society was at the forefront of developments in the artistic and scientific development of photography and these were reported and discussed in the Journal. For much of its history the RPS Journal was read and had an influence far beyond its membership. The Society has always been an important body within British and international photography and the Society’s Journal is unique in its longevity". The ability to access the Journal which has never been previously made available in this way will allow The Society's role, that of its members and wider British photography over 160+ years to be studied as never before.

BPH will carry more on both projects as information becomes available. To contact The RPS about it's digitisation email:

With thanks to Bob Gates ARPS. 

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Comment by Michael Pritchard on February 6, 2015 at 15:11

My understanding is that the BJP has yet to start digitising. I did have a conversation with the BJP myself for an update a few weeks ago and it seems likely that access will be on a paid for basis or possibly included as part of a subscription to the BJP. Watch this space I guess... 

Comment by World Image Trader on February 6, 2015 at 13:59

Is there any update on how the BJP are getting on with their digitisation and whether they will indeed make it available?



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