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NMeM tight-lipped over funding

Amateur Photographer magazine reports that election rules mean that the National Media Museum is barred from saying whether it fears government cutbacks may scupper its plan to open a base in London.

The NMM, which is Britain's flagship photography museum, has yet to confirm whether it has been granted government funding for the project which is expected to see the creation of 1500m2 of exhibition galleries at a location in the capital yet to be named.

In the run up to the election it is not yet clear where precisely an incoming government will cut spending in order to tackle the huge budget deficit.

Asked whether any government cuts would delay or curtail the project altogether, a spokesman for the Bradford-based museum remained tight-lipped, telling us that it is bound by strict guidelines issued by the Cabinet Office during the election period.

He told Amateur Photographer: 'This means we cannot comment on anything that could be interpreted as making a political statement or relates to governance and financially related issues until after the election.'

See the full report here

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NMeM seeks a Major Projects Manager

Working closely with the Senior Project Manager, you’ll lead internal and external stakeholders to ensure major projects are completed on time and budget. Whether managing external supplier contracts, overseeing the CDM process or co-ordinating the delivery of work packages, you’ll inspire project teams to buy into our vision and deliver a great standard of work.

Coming from a similar role, you’ll already have experience of working with major funding bodies, managing budgets of £2million+ and complex stakeholder management. You’ll be a PRINCE2 qualified practitioner trained in NEBOSH and CDM too, with a good grasp of contract management, change management and risk management. If you can add the leadership, communication and interpersonal skills to manage a multi-disciplinary team, you’ll make a huge impact here.

The National Museum of Science and Industry aims to continually improve its cultural offering through exciting and ambitious projects, such as the Science Museum’s forthcoming climate science gallery, the creation of a dedicated Internet Gallery at the National Media Museum and NRM+, the multi-million pound regeneration of the National Railway Museum’s Great Hall. Based at the National Media Museum, you’ll manage the successful delivery of major projects like these across all our sites, helping us offer an even better experience to visitors.

The National Museum of Science and Industry is a respected family of museums, which includes the Science Museum in London and Swindon, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon. Together, we aim to become the most admired museum in the world.

To apply, please send your full CV and covering letter, clearly explaining how your skills and experience meet our requirements, to:

We regret that we can only respond to successful applicants.

No agencies please.

More here:

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Most of you (myself included !) would have first encountered the Irish philanthropist, Dr Thomas Barnado (1845-1905), as your local High Street charity shop. But what did he have in common with photography and a court case brought against him in 1877 ? Well, his name may not spring to mind instantly amongst the names of early photographers, but perhaps deserves to.

In 1874 Dr. Barnardo opened a Photographic Department in his Stepney Boys' Home. Over the next thirty years every child who entered one of Barnardo's homes had their photograph taken. Children were photographed when they first arrived and again several months later after they had recovered from their experiences of living on the streets. The photographs were kept in albums and case-history sheets. There are over fifty thousand of these 'before' and 'after' cards, printed on a carte-de-visite, of the boys at the homes, and were then sold in packs of twenty for 5 shillings or singly for 6d. each. This enabled Barnardo to publicize his work and raise money for his charitable work.

However, Barnardo was accused of setting up the pictures in a court case in 1877. He admitted to not always using a child who was destitute as a model and sometimes exaggerating their appearances to get across the "wider" truth about the class of children he wanted to help. The courts reprimanded him but said his homes were still "real and valuable charities".

The case was so important because the status of photography was, at the time, a medium by which some kind of visual "truth" was supposed to be revealed. The idea that Barnardo had staged many of his photographs destabilised a Victorian notion of what it was to be an "authentically" poor child. A deliberately manipulated photograph of a child was considered not just an assault on notions of representational truth, but also an assault on the innocence of the child itself.

Well, you can judge for yourself at a talk entitled "Barnardo's Philanthropy and Photography" - see Events for more information.

Carte-de-visite :The transformation
Pictures from the 1870s used by Barnardo's homes to attract funds,
ostensibly showing children "before" and "after" being rescued from the
streets. Barnardo was later accused of setting up the pictures in a
court case in 1877.

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September 30-October 2, 2010
The symposium springs from Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection, the Ransom Center’s exhibition of this foundational collection of the medium’s history. Curators, collectors, historians, and photographers will participate in a series of panel discussions that focus on the areas in photography on which the Gernsheims had such impact—collecting, exhibiting, publishing, and historiography. Leaders in their fields will consider the forces that have historically shaped these areas, as well as the contemporary influences and developing trends that continue to affect our understanding of the history of photography.

Registration is limited and opens April 15. Please refer to:

The Flair Symposium, held biennially at the Ransom Center, honors the ideals set forth by Fleur Cowles and her landmark Flair magazine.

Photo: Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826-27.
Photo by J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Exploring the Port of London archive

ARCHIVES chronicling 250 years of riverside history are set to go on display.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) archive, which includes more than a kilometre of documents and records, will be catalogued in a programme expected to last three years. Work will begin at The Museum of London Docklands, situated near to Canary Wharf, compiling the data electronically so that on completion it will be accessible via the internet.

Claire Frankland, museum archivist, said: "The PLA archive collection is unique. It covers everything from the initial grand development schemes through to the details of day-to-day life in the docks. A special talk to explore the archive has been scheduled for this Friday (23rd April) - see Events section.

"It is an archive of international significance, an invaluable resource for social, economic and maritime historians, as well as those pursuing interests in local and family history. "The archive is massive and we are really excited about what the cataloguing process is going to reveal."

A panorama of the river dating to 1937, covering both banks between London Bridge and Greenwich was recreated by three photographers, Charles Craig, Graham Diprose and Mike Seaborne and the PLA will add this to the archive.

Historic photographs
The historic photographic archive is one of the most heavily used segments of the collection, and runs to over 40,000 images, mostly black and white but some colour. The earliest images date from the late 1850s and the latest are views of the Docklands today. The bulk of the images cover the enclosed docks of London and the River Thames.

Every aspect of cargo-handling operations for each and every commodity once common in the port is represented in the collection. Dozens of the different trades carried out in the Port are depicted including Dockers, Stevedores, Lightermen, Police, Office Staff, Riggers, Coopers, Samplers, Deal Porters, even a Rat Catcher with his dog. There are special collections on:

* the Port during the 1939/45 war
* bridges
* dock construction and dock warehouses
* dock trades
* the Silvertown Explosion of 1917
* ships, sailing vessel and Thames barges
* river reaches
* hundreds of aerial views of the docks and river.

Publications and reproduction of images
The quality and scope of these images has formed the basis of several highly successful publications produced by Docklands staff. Over three hundred were chosen for the best-selling book ‘Dockland Life’: A Pictorial History of London’s Docks 1860-1970.

Images of the banks of the Thames from London Bridge down to Greenwich were used to produce the top-selling ‘London’s Lost Riverscape’.

On a daily basis prints are supplied to a wide range of customers including the media, book publishers, film makers, academics, companies relocating to Docklands, pubs and restaurants, as well as to many private individuals.

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Illustrated London News archive goes online

A unique visual archive of 19th century Victorian Britain, including illustrations and photographs of events ranging from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the Boer war, will be available online for the first time from today. The Illustrated London News archive holds 250,000 pages and as many as three quarters of a million illustrations, from as far back as 1842.

With its debut in 1842, The Illustrated London News became the world’s first fully illustrated weekly newspaper, marking a revolution in journalism and news reporting. The publication presented a vivid picture of British and world events – including news of war, disaster, ceremonies, the arts and science – with coverage in the first issue ranging from the Great Fire of Hamburg to Queen Victoria’s fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace.

The Illustrated London News Historical Archive gives students and researchers unprecedented online access to the entire run of the ILN from its first publication on 14 May 1842 to its last in 2003. Each page has been digitally reproduced in full colour and every article and caption is full-text searchable with hit-term highlighting and links to corresponding illustrations. Facsimilies of articles and illustrations can be viewed, printed and saved either individually or in the context of the page in which they appear. Wherever possible Special Numbers covering special events such as coronations or royal funerals have been included.

To request pricing or a free trial contact

Please note: The ILN Historical Archive is only available for institutions to trial and purchase.The archive is not available at this stage for individual subscriptions, although a pay per view site may be
considered at some future time. Users of the archive can share images and articles for non commercial purposes only. If you wish to order and download images for commercial purposes please visit the Mary Evans Picture Library.

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12200893298?profile=originalDe Montfort University, Leicester, UK, is currently recruiting students for the second year of its innovative MA programme in photographic history. The course offers a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme of study and provides a series of modules ranging from photography and theory to practical work in photographic archives. The first year attract an international intake of students and the course has been widely acknowledged as the best in the field.

This course is dedicated to the study and focusing on the important technological, visual and historical material which makes it an interdisciplinary subject. It aims to help students develop the necessary critical tools to research photography history, and provides access to primary materials through visits to local, regional and national archives and collections. The course is part of an active research community and benefits from visiting subject specialists and opportunities provided by course partners which include the National Media Museum, Bradford, Birmingham Central Library, the British Library and the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Some further information about the teaching methods used can be found here: DMU HoPP.pdf

The course is for students from a variety of disciplines including conservation students, archivists, historians of science and those from various fields of visual studies, for instance visual anthropology, photography or art history. The MA Photography History and Practice is delivered on a full-time weekly basis, over three semesters and includes workshops, lectures, seminars and practical sessions, with written and oral assessments, and a dissertation, or part-time over two years.

Potential students also have the opportunity to apply for a Wilson Fellowship which provides a scholarship of £5,000. Applications for the bursary close on 1 August 2010. This scholarship is available to one student entering the M.A. Photographic History and Practice in September 2010. Funding has been made available by The Wilson Fellowship in Photographic History, and can be used towards tuition fees and other programme-related costs. Click here to link to a PDF giving further information about the Fellowship.

For more information about the course click here or contact the Course Leader: Dr Kelley Wilder by email at: or telephone: +44 (0)116 207 8865.

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One can't mention India without mentioning China these days. So bear with me, here goes ....

A newphotobook (ISBN-13: 9780670080908) published by Penguin entitled "Shanghai : A History in Photographs, 1842-Today" will hit the shelves tomorrow. Produced by Pulitzer prize winning photographer, Liu Heung Shing, and Karen Smith, an internationally renowned expert on Chinese contemporary art, it charts in images the history of the city from the end of the first Opium War to the present day. Liu was the first ethnic Chinese photographer to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography accolade.

Apart from works by H.S., the book containsimages from the impressive Jardine Matheson Archive, Shanghai Municipal Archives, Shanghai Library, Shanghai Art Museum, photographic giants such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, private collections and newly commissioned works from the latest photographers who have taken on the challenge of photographing the city.

"There were two criteria for photos to be selected, it had to be a good photo with historical significance and it had to be appropriate in telling the story of Shanghai," Liu said. He added that many of the old photos needed to be restored, a task that involved great skill and patience. All of the photographs also had to be verified to ensure their authenticity and accuracy.

The early sections of the book relating to when Shanghai was divided into foreign controlled quarters was an era in which Chinese did not have cameras, so all the pictures were taken by Westerners.

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NMeM seeks web content co-ordinator

Web Content Co coordinator £22,500, Bradford. Fixed term until 1st April 2012. Award winning, visionary and truly unique, the National Media Museum embraces photography, film, television, radio and the web. Part of the NMSI family of museums, with a world-leading online presence, we aim to engage, inspire and educate through comprehensive collections, innovative education programmes and a powerful yet sensitive approach to contemporary issues.

We are looking for a Web Content Coordinator to bring our websites alive with dynamic, engaging and audience-focused content.

Coming from a similar role, you're an expert at writing punchy and eye-catching web copy for a wide range of audiences, copy-editing content from other sources, and updating sites using content management systems. An organised and tenacious team player with extensive experience of supporting and working with stakeholders, you have a solid mastery of basic HTML and web technologies, simple image manipulation skills and an understanding of social media and its implications. Above all, you know how to make web content contribute to a fantastic user experience, and have the creativity and drive to make our web presence stand out from the crowd.

To apply, please send your full CV and covering letter to:

Closing date: 25th April 2010

We regret that we can only respond to successful applicants.

No agencies please.

We are an equal opportunities employer

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May not be entirely British, but still a worthy book to add to the collection of a photo-historian wanting to know more about the history and evolution of early studio photography in India.

Photography arrived in the harbour city of Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) asearly as 1840, via trade, as well as through European explorers and government officials. With the establishment of India's first photographic society in the city in 1854, the medium was used for documentation and later, even taught as an art form. Between the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century, Mumbai became one of the largest centres of photography's patronage and dissemination in India, underscored by practitioners like Dr. Narayan Daji (C. 1828-1875), a medical doctor and brother to the acclaimed Indologist, Dr. Bhau Daji.

Originally known as the Victoria and Albert Museum and renamed as TheBhau Daji Lad Museum, it’s Mumbai’s oldest – since 1872. This museum was the recent setting for the Exhibition from which this book derived from. The Artful Pose depicts photography that was done in studios around 1855-1930. And the studios did indeed take their cameo-style posing seriously, with props, sometimes a narrative, varied shades of gazes and occasionally yes, a fakir.
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Skills of the wet collodion photographer

I am looking for a little advice!
As the wet collodion plate was coated by the operator, what advice was given in the literature on techniques to produce an even coating. Was the plate tilted and rotated, or spun? Was there a recommendation on the viscosity of the liquid?
I believe it may have been brushed on producing characteristic streak marks.
Any thoughts or even first hand experiences?
John Davies
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Introduced commercially by William Willis in 1917 as a substitute for printing in platinum, whose use was embargoed by wartime government, palladium has since grown in its application, and is now widely practised. Does any collection have a copy of the Platinotype Company's original instructions for the use of their commercial Palladiotype paper, or any other relevant information, please? I am researching the early history, use and problems of the process.
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Following on from the blog creator's article on the bicentennial celebration of John Dillwyn Llewelyn's birthday this year, Robin Turner of WalesOnline has written a column of this man's historic contribution to British photography which can be found here:

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Man and Cameraman is a project to conserve, catalogue, digitise and promote the photographic collection of George Bernard Shaw. Shaw collected around 16,000 photographs taken by himself and others and these will be fully investigated for the first time to reveal Shaw's activities and the evolution of photographic processes. Bernard Shaw was not only a prolific playwright, writer and social-political commentator and thinker but an avid amateur photographer: taking and collecting images from the 1860s until his death in 1950.

Shaw left his paper and photographic archives to London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the British Library and his home (Shaw's Corner, Hertfordshire) to National Trust (NT), it is here the photographs were initially housed before being transferred to LSE. Thus the project extends his desire to open up his collections to researchers and interested parties.

Photography lets us peer into the past and Shaw's photographs give us an informal view into his circle including writers, reformers, actors and actresses. Photographs show us how places used to look and what people did in their private lives - they inform our knowledge of society and its famous personalities: revealing the heritage of us all. Shaw's images include informal prints of people such as: Auguste Rodin; Augustus John; Beatrice and Sidney Webb; Harley Granville-Barker; and Lilliah MaCarthy. They offer a glimpse into the early 20th century theatre and film and include images of stars of Shaw productions such as Vivian Leigh as well as visuals of sets.

Now photography is regarded as an artistic form but in Shaw's time it was not, the collection lets us see how photographers were pushing the boundaries and using it in experimental and artistic ways. Shaw played with light and perspective to advance his craft. He also wrote on the subject for example, reviewing early photography shows.

The project partners (LSE and the National Trust) have worked with free-lance conservators, staff and volunteers to dust and re-house the photographs in high-purity storage materials. Shaw's photographic albums have been conserved in a specialist studio to repair damage and will be photographed so people can look through them. As well as prints there are about 8,000 negatives, these are particularly fragile as they degrade in even moderate conditions. They will be sealed in special bags and frozen to halt their deterioration.

Work on cataloguing the 16,000 photographs and digitising 8,000 photographs and all the negatives is now underway and this will let people know what the collection contains. Cataloguing can also reveal stories behind the images as each one is researched. Digitising will provide virtual access to those images taken by Shaw and those out of copyright ensuring their long-term preservation and revealing for the first time Shaw's photographic legacy to the nation and providing a window into his world.

For more information click here.

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As a group of specialist workmen refurbish part of the historic Manor House at Mount Grace Priory, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, it was reported today that a photograph showing some of the original skilled workers has been donated by an anonymous visitor. The current work at the Manor House is part of a £150,000 project by English Heritage to restore two rooms, which were given an Arts and Crafts make over in the 1890s.

Now a photograph dating to the time of the works has emerged, offering the conservationists a window on the past. The picture was handed in anonymously by a local man who found it in an old drawer and shows artisan workmen who were employed by Priory owner, Sir Lowthian Bell.

The English Heritage custodian at Mount Grace Priory, Becky Wright, said: "There are more than 20 workmen shown in the photo, and that's
just about same number of people we have today reviving the two rooms. They played a big part in preserving the priory and we would be very interested to learn if anyone recognises any of them."

The original workers, circa 1890s, who restored the Manor House inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement

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NMeM seeks Membership Executive

Our aim is to create a museum that engages people as it evolves. Our membership scheme is an exciting part of that vision. Your role is to implement a marketing strategy that promotes Museum membership and encourages our audience to be a part of our future. Through a combination of literature, events and local business liaison, you will help to attract a diverse membership base, grow membership levels and, ultimately, generate maximum income for the Museum.

Experience of marketing practices in a similar sector is essential, including direct marketing and print production. You must be adept at using databases and your administrative skills will be exceptional, with strong attention to detail. Flexible and adaptable, you will be comfortable liaising with a wide range of people: members of the public, internal and external stakeholders.

This is an opportunity to help grow the Museum’s reputation, build a loyal audience and ensure that we enjoy a profitable, prosperous future.

For more details click here.

Hours: 35 per week

We regret that we can only respond to successful applicants. No agencies please. We are an equal opportunities employer.

Closing Date: 19th April 2010

Interview date: 26th April 2010

Award winning, visionary and truly unique, The National Media Museum embraces photography, film, television, radio and the web. Part of the NMSI family of museums, it aims to engage, inspire and educate through comprehensive collections, innovative education programmes and a powerful yet sensitive approach to contemporary issues.

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NMeM to save Fenton photograph

BPH reported that the Culture Minister had placed an export bar on a Fenton orientialist photograph sold at at auction. The Art Newspaper reports that the National Media Museum in Bradford, Britain’s main collection of photography, hopes to raise the money, and a spokeswoman told us it is “assessing potential funding opportunities”.

Pasha and Bayadère was staged in Fenton’s London studio, with the photographer posing as a pasha (Ottoman official) watching a bayadère (dancing girl). The role of the musician was taken by Frank Dillon, an artist friend of Fenton. The photograph passed to one of Dillon’s descendants, and it has just been sold privately to a foreign buyer for £109,000. An export licence is being deferred until 1 May, to enable a UK buyer to match the price, and this period could be extended for a further three months. Only one other example of this important Orientalist photograph survives, which was bought by the Getty Museum in 1984.

Photographs are only occasionally subject to UK export licence deferral (they have to be over 50 years old and worth above £12,160 before this can be considered). In one case a vintage photograph which did not have an export licence was exported illegally. Alice wearing a Garland, by Charles Dodgson (the writer Lewis Carroll), was sold for £55,000 in 2001 and then illegally shipped to the United States. The UK authorities would welcome information on its present whereabouts.

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