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I'm not sure if this recently published archive is useful to those photo historians wishing to trace the ancestry of some early photographers, as it focuses on those at the bottom rung of London society between 1690 to 1800! But I thought I'd post it, just in case.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and produced by theuniversities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire, London Lives, a five-year project, involved digitising eight London archives or up to 240,000 manuscripts and printed pages. It features a rich variety of documents previously all but inaccessible to the public.

The site allows both amateur and professional historians to searchthe archives for individuals recorded in workhouses, criminal registers, coroners' reports, court orders and papers governing the dispensation of poor relief.

Users of the free site will be able to read scans of the original documents and typed text versions. The idea to map the lives of ordinary Londoners was conceived following the success of a project that digitised the Old Bailey's records. There was a proliferation of documents in urban Britain in the 18th century as civil society flourished and the relationship between the individual and the state was transformed. It is this paper trail that historians will be able to trace in pursuit of an individual's life story.

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Picture the scenario:
Museum: Curator, back room, dark corner, faded shoebox.
Inside shoebox: paper-wrapped, gold-framed daguerreotype depicting Paris's Pont Neuf spanning the River Seine.
Back of frame: Handwritten with the date '1839' - the dawn of photography.

Phillip Prodger, the first full-time photography curator at the PeabodyEssex Museum, knew right away he was onto something special. Now, with the help of a Harvard conservator, he’s working to find out whether the print could have been taken by Louis Daguerre himself. If so, the 4-by-6 1/2-inch image could be worth upwards of $3 million. The picture itself is not signed. On the back of the frame, a label names the shop of Vincent Chevalier, the Paris optician who made Daguerre’s camera lenses. It’s unclear who took the photograph.

In fact, no more than 20 daguerreotypes are known to exist from that year. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has nothing dating to 1839. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has a daguerreotype from 1840.

“It’s quite early, and it’s an outdoor scene in Paris, reportedly in good condition, by someone who is quite well known,’’ said Laura Paterson, a specialist in the photographs department at Christie’s auction house. “All of these things add enormous value. It sounds as if they have a rare find on their hands. It’s of immense historical importance.’’

So how did such a valuable art object end up in a shoebox? To begin with, the museum dates to 1799, meaning an immense amount of jumbled materials came into its possession well before modern collection policies and records were in place. A man named John Burley bought the daguerreotype in 1842 in Paris and later gave it to the museum.

To follow the detective trail with Inspector Clouseau, read the full report here.

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Call For Papers.

(De)constructing the Archive in a Digital Age.

September 10th 2010, School of the Arts Loughborough University, UK.

Organised by Iris

Paper Submission Deadline; Friday 30th July 2010

One-day debate on the possibilities of the archive.

This event aims to provide an environment for sharing information whilst stimulating debates about the role of the
archive within art, culture and design.

Possible topics of enquiry may include but are not limited to;

· The discussion about how the archive should respond to the digital age continues. How does the physical archive change and adapt in the face of new

· When is the archive not an archive? What is the difference between the archive and the collection?

· How should we respond to the growing number of images available to us in the digital archive, as increasingly we are exposed to photographs for which
there are no original viewing contexts available? What is the value of these
decontextualised and dematerialised documents to the researcher as historical

·How is the institutional archive to respond to questions about the democratization of the archive, not only through the process of digitisation
and online access but also the growing use of more interactive forms of viewing/sharing
with web 2.0?

Paper presentations, abstracts of 200-300 words may be submitted for a 30-minute paper presentation.

Panel submissions abstracts for a 90-minute colloquium, which is to consist of 5 participants (1 chair and 4 presenters; each presenter taking no more than 15 minutes) may be
submitted. Abstract length should be 250-350 words.

Poster presentations, 200 word abstracts for a themed poster to be shown at the conference will be accepted.

Artworks, submissions for artworks related to the topics will be considered, please send a 200 word abstract. Include details of medium, size and installation requirements on a separate

Please send abstracts (clearly marked as to which category you are interested in) and a brief C.V. to;


Mort Marsh, IRIS.

Loughborough University

School of the Arts

Edward Barnsley Building

Epinal way

LE11 3TU.

Iris is an internationally focused research resource dedicated to promoting the work of women artists using photographic-based media.

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Top price for Lincoln carte de visite

Continuing with the carte de visite theme, but American, though, the highest-selling item in a recent auction of Lincoln family ephemera this month was an autographed Abraham Lincoln carte de visite which easily surpassed its US$10/20,000 estimate by selling for US$38,775.

The lot - a signed portrait of Lincoln from a negative originally taken by Mathew Brady - came from the family of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the great grandson of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and also the last male descendent of the Lincoln family.

Though Roger Fenton was the first todocument war in photographs, Brady (1822-1896), who documented the American Civil War (1861-1865), was probably one of the greatest of photographic documentary photographers. His Lincoln photographs have been used for the $5 bill and the Lincoln penny.

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Hello all

A new website was launched last year but it is still being refined that contains probably the largest database in existence of British and Irish photographers

Although specific content requires payment to help cover the costs of setting up and maintaining the site (and collection used to produce it) there is an increasing amount of free content such as the biographies of British photographers Most of these have been produced in collaboration with actual descendants of the photographers and there are many more to be added. The database is maintained by Ron Cosens of Yorkshire and is based on details obtained from his massive photographic collection which he has been merged with extensive trade directory and other research by Sandy Barrie of Ipswich, Australia. Many others have contributed to the site and my role has been to contribute data from photos, censuses, newspapers etc. and to do biographical research. I am also interested in looking at British photographers that worked in Australia (and New Zealand) in connection with my research into biographies of Australian daguerreotypists and also I am writing a book on the history of the carte de visite in Australia.

Please feel free to visit the site. Should you have material you wish to submit such as a photographer's biography or if you are researching a particular photographer please feel free to make contact through the site. Ron, Sandy and I are all subscribers to this site; and


Marcel Safier
Brisbane, Australia
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In a walk-through of the current landmark exhibition "Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change" in Washington (coming to Tate Britain this September), Getty Museum's distinguished former curator of photographs, Weston Naef, noted some startling observations to lead him to conclude that some early Muybridge photos may not be taken by him.

Instead, Naef suggested they were done by others, whilst Muybridge merely published them. If he is correct, the histories of photography are about to be significantly revised. What other photography historians and curators have to say about the dispute will be very interesting to see.

Read the article here and a Q&A with Naef himself on this very topic can be found here.
So draw your own conclusions ...
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Poster collection goes on Flickr

The Poster Collection at PARC is in the process of being uploaded to Flickr. The archive holds over 300 posters dating from 1974, mostly of photographic exhibitions, from small independent galleries including Half Moon Gallery, Impressions Gallery, Cockpit Gallery Holborn to The Photographers Gallery and large institutions such as Tate, V&A Museum and the National Portrait Gallery and is a fascinating resource. This is an ongoing process with 75 images of posters already uploaded so keep checking as more go online...

Belinda May,
Exhibitions Intern at Photography and the Archive Research Centre
London College of Communication
Elephant And Castle, London

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The National Media Museum has released booking details of the Niépce in England conference which takes place at the museum on 14-15 October 2010. Details are given below...


Conference Update

An international conference on recent

advancements in scientific, art historical, and conservation research relating to the

photographs which Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

brought to England in 1827.

Co-organized by the National Media Museum

and the Getty Conservation Institute

13th - 14th October 2010

National Media Museum

Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

Dear Colleague:

The National Media Museum (NMeM) and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) are pleased to invite you to the Niépce in England conference, to be held at the National Media Museum, Bradford, United Kingdom on Wednesday and Thursday, October 13-14, 2010.

Conference Objective and Goals

Niépce in England

This two-day conference will present the results of new, unpublished research and scientific investigations, which have been undertaken during the NMeM and GCI Collaborative Research Project. In the Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum are three plates by Niépce. The conference will address the research and conservation of these photographic treasures, and will discuss future conservation measures that would provide for their long-term protection and preservation. The reason why Niépce brought these plates to England, and their subsequent history, will also be outlined more fully than previously published.

Conference Themes and Speakers

Philippa Wright, Curator of Photographs, National Media Museum

Larry Schaaf, Independent Photo historian

Pamela Roberts, Independent Photo Historian

Grant Romer, Independent Photo Historian

Art Kaplan, Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute

Dr, Dusan Stulik, Senior Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute

Colin Harding, Curator of Photographic Technology, National Media Museum

Philip Gilhooley, Independent Fingerprint Consultant and Lecturer in Forensic Science, Liverpool John Moores University

Peter Bower, Forensic Paper Historian

Roy Flukinger, Senior Research Curator of Photography, Harry Ransom Centre, University of Texas

Barbara Brown, Head of Photograph Conservation, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas

Isabella Kocum, Frame Conservator, National Gallery

Susie Clark, Independent Photographic and Paper Conservator

• Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and his work

• The first six photographs brought to England by Niépce in context

• Scientific investigation into the three Niépce photographs in The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the NMeM

• Dating and conservation of the original frames

• Conservation and preservation issues related to the Niépce plates

The full schedule and speaker biographies can be viewed at the museum website at

Related Events

Conference participants will have a very unique and unprecedented opportunity (that may not be repeated in our lifetime) to view all three Niépce plates ‘out of their frames’, enabling participants to closely examine the surfaces and reverse of these unique photographic treasures. The plates, and their conserved frames, will be on display throughout the conference in the Kraszna-Krausz Print Viewing Room, in the NMeM Research Centre.

• A Conference dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 13th, 7pm – 10pm at the National Media

Museum. Tickets for the dinner need to be purchased with your conference ticket at a cost of £22.


Formal registration for the Niépce in England conference is now open. Please note that attendance to the conference is limited. All registrations will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have already registered initial interest in the conference you are not guaranteed a place and will still need to ring and book your place.

For further enquiries regarding the conference please email and we will respond to your enquiry accordingly

To book your conference ticket please call the museum box office on +44 (0) 870 70 10 200. Please note that tickets can not be purchased online.

Ticket costs

• Full price conference ticket £90

• Concession price conference ticket £70

• Wednesday evening dinner £22

Hotel accommodation

Overnight accommodation is available locally at the Bradford Jurys Inn Hotel.

The hotel is a two minute walk from the museum and rooms can be booked either online at: or by calling +44 (0) 870 4100 800.

Rates range from £55 to £80 for a double room. Early booking is advisable.


National Media Museum in Bradford opened as The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in 1983 and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The Museum is devoted to photography, film, television, radio and the web and looks after the National Photography, Photographic Technology and Cinematography Collections. The Museum is home to two temporary exhibition spaces and, a Research Centre that hosts regular displays from its extensive Collections. The Museum’s vibrant programme reflects all aspects of historical and contemporary media practice and issues.

The Getty Conservation Institute works internationally to advance conservation practice in the visual arts—broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. The Institute serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the GCI focuses on the creation and delivery of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world’s cultural heritage.

This conference is kindly supported by a number of organisations & private individuals, including:

The Royal Photographic Society,

Wilson Centre for Photography,

The University of Bolton

The National Gallery, London

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NMeM Job: Duty Manager

Job Description:
Duty Manager, Bradford: Full-time position
£19,000 per annum, increasing to £20,000 on successful completion of probationary period

The National Media Museum’s eight galleries and three cinemas attract over 700,000 visitors every
year. You’ll lead the Front of House team to deliver a great experience to all our visitors, while also making sure commercial targets are met.

Overseeing day-to-day Front of House operations, you’ll deliver training, drive sales, handle daily takings of up to £10,000 and generally make sure your team is delivering the highest levels of customer service. At the same time, you’ll manage Health & Safety and act as Incident Controller in emergencies, making sure the Museum is
safe and secure for visitors.

Required Skills:
You’ll be managing a team of up to 15 here, so a good track record as a manager in a similar customer-facing environment is essential! You should be a good team player too, with the communication, motivational and interpersonal skills to lead and inspire people. Experience of cash handling and working on a till or ticketing system is also important, as is the flexibility to work evenings and weekends.

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, we aim to engage, inspire and educate through comprehensive collections, innovative education programmes and a powerful yet sensitive approach to contemporary issues.

Application Instructions:
Interested? Please send your CV and covering letter to

Closing date: 4th July 2010

We regret that we can only respond to successful applicants.

No agencies please.
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Michael Faraday's notes at auction

As a chemist, Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was also interested in the new art of photography and
corresponded with scientists on the subject. He was photographed an extraordinary number of times. The photographs of Faraday held in the Institute of Engineering and Technology Archives include a very early example of a calotype (an early photographic process where the image is produced on paper treated with silver iodide and allowed to develop in sunlight) and a telephotograph.

Recently, a series of his Royal Institute evening lecture notes, compiled by Maria Herries, including one on The Daguerreotype in 1848, was sold at Bonhams for £5,400. Full description of the lot can be found here.
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Auctioneers in the Cotswold were stunned when photography specialists from the USA and Europe bid against each other via telephone pushing the price of five rare Fenton photographs up to £100,000, over five times their combined estimated value.

Dominic Winter auctioneer, Chris Albury, said "I had no idea that these photographs were so rare when I first sawthem but it seems likely that there are no more than a handful of each. It was only when I spotted an export ban story on one of these that I realised we had a variant of the same photograph, albeit smaller and without Fenton himself in the photograph." - as reported by the BPH blog creator here.

One of the Oriental-genre photographs by famed Crimean War photographer Roger Fenton carried a top estimate of £5,000-8,000, and fetched £32,000.

Mr Albury added: "The current owner believes his father had them at least fifty years ago and possibly they have been languishing in a damp-stained folder in the attic since Victorian times. When I told him the results he sounded close to tears with emotion saying how much difference this was going to make to him and his family."

The full report of the auction which was held last Thursday (17th June 2010) can be found here, and the sale catalogue, with full description of the photos and hammer prices, is located here.

Photo: Effendi & Musician by Roger Fenton from 1858 sold for £27,000, nine times its expected price of £3,000.
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NMeM: London Presence update

A Freedom of Information request to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that the National Media Museum still sees the Science Museum as the base for its London Presence. The DCMS also confirmed:

  • That it had held no meetings the National Media Museum over its plans for a London Presence between 1 September 2009 and 3 June 2010
  • The Project is expected to cost less than £5 million and therefore does not require any approval from the DCMS
  • The NMSI, the NMeM's parent body, will have full responsibility for funding the Project.

The NMSI, in common with all national museums receiving direct grant-aid from DCMS, is expected to a reduction in its grant as the government starts to rein in public spending. The NMSI will make a decision regarding the Project in the context of a reduced grant and it is this that will ultimately determine whether the Project progresses or not.

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Sorry ! I know it's not totally appropriate (and I'm slightly bias here for being Oriental !) but this new exhibition does feature images by British pioneers like Felice Beato (half-Italian?) and John Thomson. So, please bear with me.

Following the presentation of outstanding works from the history of20th century photography, Museum Ludwig is now highlighting a new section of its extensive photographic holdings. Beginning 11 June, a selection of 19th century Japanese photographs from the Robert Lebeck Collection will be presented together with the Chinese travel album that once belonged to the Bremen merchant Julius Menke. This records the things he witnessed and experienced in China during the 1860s in the form of a carefully made picture atlas. Full details of the exhibition can be found in the Events section, and also here.

On show at the exhibition will be photographs by European pioneersFelice Beato and John Thomson, as well as by early Japanese photographers Hikoma Ueno and Kimbei Kusakabe, along with the beautifully made travel albums in which the photographs were presented for sale.

Curator: Prof. Dr. Bodo von Dewitz

11.06.2010 – 09.01.2011

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday:
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Every first Thursday of the month 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Closed on Monday

Photo: Milton M Miller, c 1864

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Whilst sorting through archive material to use for a website, Bill Hawkins, history enthusiast and member of the Sunderland’s Antiquarians Society, discovered boxes of glass plate negatives that were dust covered and laid undisturbed for six decades.

Mr Hawkins, 55, of Sunderland, found around 30 photographs dating back more than 100 years, including images taken of Tynemouth pier and of the High Level Bridge spanning the River Tyne. This treasure trove of iconic images of Tyneside finally saw the light of day !

Sunderland’s Antiquarians Society which was founded in 1900 holds extensive archives that have been collected and donated over the past century by people living in the city. They are all available to members and visitors. The Society now wants to give the negatives to any similar organisations in Newcastle who would be interested in taking them for research and to make available to the public.

The full story can be found here. For more information about the Society, visit here. Or if anyone is interested in the negatives, call Bill Hawkins on 0191 551 3947.

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Three photographs of Alexandra Rhoda "Xie" Kitchin, one of author Lewis Carroll's favourite models, were auctioned off at Bonhams collectible books sale last week (8th June) for £24,000. They were each on a cabinet card with Carroll's negative number, grading letter as well as a caption in the photographer's hand.

Carroll, a keen photographer, considered these to be among his best work, and showed Alexandra in Danish and Oriental costumes. Kitchin's father was the Dean of Durham, and for fifteenyears the Censor of the unattached members of the University of Oxford. Hence this gave Carroll, a fellow of Christ Church, plenty of opportunities of photographing her.

Details of the sale can be found here.
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Muybridge online resource launched

A new digital resource for Muybridge scholars has been launched. The website, the result of an ongoing collaboration between Kingston University and Kingston Museum in the United Kingdom, aims to provide a definitive research resource surrounding the work of nineteenth century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Thesite provides an introduction to Muybridge’s works in historical and social context; and information on the international collections that house them. It is fully searchable. Click here to visit the site: The site launch comes in advance of three Muybridge exhibitions which open in the Autumn of 2010 in London.
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Camille Silvy was a pioneer of early photography and one of the greatest French photographers of the nineteenth century. This exhibition includes many remarkable images which have not been exhibited since the 1860s.

Over 100 works, including a large number of carte de visites, focus on a ten-year creative burst from 1857-67 working in Algiers, rural France, Paris and London and illustrate how Silvy pioneered many now familiar branches of the medium including theatre, fashion and street photography.

Working under the patronage of Queen Victoria, Silvy photographed royalty, aristocrats and celebrities. He also portrayed uncelebrated people, the professional classes and country gentry, their wives, children and servants.

The results offer a unique glimpse into nineteenth-century society through the eyes of one of photography's outstanding innovators.

The exhibition has been curated by Mark Haworth-Booth.

There are a series of lectures and events around the exhibitions - details here:

National Portrait Gallery - 15 July-24 October 2010

Tickets £5/£4.50/£4

To book advance tickets call 020 7907 7079 (transaction fee applies)

Exhibition organised by the Jeu de Paume, Paris, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London

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Eaton S. Lothrop, Jr. ( - 2008) was a science teacher at The Collegiate School, a boys’ school in New York City, from 1954 to 1995, where he also taught photography. He began collecting cameras in 1960, started researching information on cameras and camera history in 1964, and began writing about them and their history in 1968.

Eaton has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections ofbox-form, magazine and “street” cameras in private hands, as well as perhaps the largest collection of single-use/disposable’ cameras known.

The Eaton S. Lothrop, Jr. photographic collection will be sold online between 10th to 30th June 2010. It comprises over 400 lots of cameras and related material dating from the 1870's to 2000's including a No. 1 Kodak camera of 1889 (estimate $1000-1500), stereoscopic models, an original Brownie camera of 1900 (est. $600-900), early English wood cameras, folding pocket Kodaks, an important series of American detective and hand cameras from the 1880's-1910. Among other rarities is a Boy Scout camera released to commemorate the movement's World's Fair, along with a 'Campfire Girls Kodak'. Estimates range from $150 to $3000.

A second auction of Lothrop's important library of original trade catalogues and reference books; photograph collection including daguerreotypes, tintypes and carte-de-visite and his own research materials will take place in the Fall.

Speaking to Amateur Photographer, camera historian Michael Pritchard, who catalogued the collection, said:'As someone who knew Eaton for many years I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work on the collection. While it is a shame the collection cannot stay together, I know many collectors will welcome the opportunity to add to their own collections…'

Details of the auction can be found here.
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