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Stringset Kodak Camera Survey

Dr. George Layne of Philadelphia is working on a book about the earliest cameras of George Eastman, the Stringset Kodaks. So far, he has over four hundred examples in his database, including the 47 in the collection of the National Media Museum in Bradford. He is looking for more. If you have one of these cameras, and you haven't already participated in this project, please contact Dr. Layne at GEORGELAYNE@AOL.COM.

The cameras of interest include the Original Kodak, the #1, #2, #3 and # 4 Kodaks, the #3 and #4 Kodak Juniors, the A, B and C Ordinary Kodaks and the A, B and C Daylight Kodak cameras.

Thank you.

Dr. George Layne - Philadelphia

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Book: Photography and Literature

Photography and Literature assess the complete history of photography, and Brunet begins by examining how the invention of photography was shaped by written culture, both scientific and literary. As well, Brunet looks at the creation of the photo-book, the frequent personal discovery of photography by writers, and how photography and literature eventually began to trade tools and merge formats to create a new photo-textual genre. Highly illustrated,Photography and Literature reflects a photographer’s point of view, giving new attention to such works as the groundbreaking exploration of photography in The Pencil of Nature by William Henry Fox Talbot and Sophie Calle’s projects with Jean Baudrillard and Paul Auster.

Essential for anyone interested in the intersection of the verbal and the visual,Photography and Literature provides a fascinating wealth of autobiography, manifesto, and fiction as well as a variety of images from the first daguerreotypes to the digital age.

Available through Amazon by clicking on the link on the right hand side to search for it.

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Unseen family archive from 1897 on auction

Not just any family photo, but believed to be the first known image of the future Stan Laurel acting. The photos are part of an unseen family archive of more than 50 photographs spanning the comic genius’s life, many never seen in public before.

The most remarkable is the set of seven taken in the backyard of the Jefferson family home in Dockwray Square, North Shields, North Tyneside, where Stan lived for four years. They show a performance of The Rivals of Dockwray Square, which was written by Stan himself.

The collection is to be sold in Newcastle by auctioneers Anderson and Garland, on September 7, and is expected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.

The full report can be found here, and the auction catalogue here.


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Rochester, NY– The world’s only continuous symposium on the history of photography PhotoHistory XV, will take place at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York on October 21-23, 2011. This date represents a new two-year interval between proceedings as requested by attendees, according to officials of The Photographic Historical Society who organize the event.

PhotoHistory XV will contain a full day of presentations on the history of photographic practice, aesthetics, collecting, technology and sociology followed by a next day of browsing at a photographic trade show which attracts dealers from North America and internationally. A call for papers will go out soon. Still and motion photography subjects are considered. For information contact: Martin L. Scott, General Chairman of PhotoHistory XV at:

The most recent PhotoHistory XIV was held in October 2009 and was the last on the traditional three-year interval, which first began in 1970. The changed two –year frequency for the symposium was suggested and voted on by attendees at the 2009 event that drew more than 200 visitors from the Americas, Great Britain, Europe, Australia and Japan.

The symposium’s venue, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, combines the world’s leading collections of photography and film with the stately landmark Colonial Revival mansion that was George Eastman’s home from 1905 to 1932. The Museum is a National Historic Landmark. George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Company, is heralded as the father of modern photography and the inventor of motion picture film.

The formal call for papers abstracts of which are required by 31 December 2010 can be found be found by clicking here: Photohistorypapers.doc.

The Photographic Historical Society of Rochester, NY, is the first organized society devoted to photographic history and the preservation of photo antiques. Founded in 1966, it has a membership of about 120 individuals. For more information see the Society’s web site at

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2012 Biennale of Sydney Fellowship

The Biennale of Sydney have created The Nick Waterlow OAM Curatorial
Fellowship, in conjunction with The Australia Council for the Arts. This
two year, full time fellowship will be awarded to a young curator who
will be mentored by the Artistic Director and will work with the BoS
team on the planning, administration, programming and delivery of the
2012 Biennale. The winner will be announced late in 2010, to coincide
with the appointment of the 2012 Artistic Director.

Full details for the Nick Waterlow OAM Fellowship, including the application process, deadlines and criteria will be released shortly, but background information can be found here.

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Give up?

Well, it was one of seven books donated by a gentleman at the Teignmouth branch of Oxfam, one day shortly before Christmas last year.

The book in question described the quest of two Victorian scientists in finding their long-lost brother in Fiji back in 1881. Entitled "A Trip To The Highlands of Viti Levu", this unique photo book consisted of 44 portraits ofFijians, and was written and self-published by Gerard Ansdell in 1882. According to the report "Ansdell and his brother, scientists and members of the Royal Society of London, had set out in 1881 in search of a lost brother, who they believed was working on a coffee plantation in Fiji. He was tracked down in Viti Levu, and Ansdell and his brother documented everything from their trip to create what was a vivid anthropological record of life on the South Pacific islands."

Valued by Oxfam's own team of specialist valuers at £2,000 to £3,000, this historical book stunned the charity and Bonhams, when it went for £37,000 in April this year - enough to buy 1,500 goats, feed 5,300 families or provide safe water for 41,000 people!
The most Oxfam had raised from a single book until now was £18,000 fora 17th century economic treatise in 2005, and for an early novel suppressed by Graham Greene.

Luke Batterham, a books specialist for Bonhams, said they were surprised by the "huge amount" the book made. But a multiple bidding war, including one bidder who was believed to have tracked the rare book since the only one came up in auction in Australia in 1977, helped propel it to an Oxfam record. "It falls into that category of if you don't buy it now you're unlikely to see another copy," said Batterham. "It was in exceptional condition. It's very rare in its own right and there were some very tenacious people with an anthropological interest in Fiji."

The rest of the story can be found here. Guess I'd better make my way to the nearest Oxfam now ....

Photo: A photograph from A Trip To The Highlands of Viti Levu, which was discovered in an Oxfam bookshop and has raised more than £37,000 at auction for the charity (Oxfam/Press Association).

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The international and regional photographic elite and enthusiasts alike will soon turn their gaze and cameras on Hong Kong as the first-ever large-scale photo festival in the city, The Hong Kong Photo Festival, organised by the Hong Kong Photographic Culture Association, takes its debut from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31.

There will be 3 major exhibitions on show; one of which will be the 'First Photographs ofHong Kong'. It will showcase over 100 photos in 19th century collected from prestigious museums in France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Ireland. The highlights will be the first published stereo photograph of Hong Kong landscape by P. Rossier and a series of exceptional panoramic views of Hong Kong and its harbor, including two beautiful ones dated March 1860 by the famous war photographer
F. Beato
Details of the exhibition will be published in the BPH Events section when available.

The other exhibition is "China in the Past 30Years" - a photographic essay accounting the transformation of China in the past three decades since its opening to the outside world.
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One of the most significant images of 20th-century Wales, 'Three Generations of Welsh Miners' (1950), by American photojournalist, Eugene Smith, has been bought by the Wales National Museum.

This legendary photograph (representing past, present and possible future), for which the museum paid around £5,700 for the print and an artist’s proof, from the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, will be on display at the Cardiff museum until October. The photo was hailed as portraying the realities of post-war Wales tothe rest of the world, and has become an iconic image of the 20th century.

One of the miners in the photograph, Vernon Harding, who was then 22years old and is now 82, has viewed the photograph at the museum. Professor Dai Smith, the Raymond Williams Chair in cultural history at Swansea University, talks about the image in his forthcoming book In the Frame: Wales 1910-2010.

Further details, including a video interview with Mr Harding, can be found here.
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The Scot who shot Abraham Lincoln .....

.... well, not literally. That was carried out by John Wilkes Booth.

Only 119 photos of Lincoln are know to exist today. Hence, top prices are paid for them. Out of this, only 24 feature Lincoln standing in full pose. But did you know that the majority of them will very likely be 'shot' by our very own Scottish photographer, Alexander Gardner!

Gardner (October 17, 1821 – December 10, 1882) was an apprentice silversmith jeweller in his early teens, and subsequently owner and editor of the Glasgow Sentinel newspaper. It was only by visiting the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, London in 1851 that changed Gardner's life and sparked an interest in photography. There he saw the work of American photographer, Matthew Brady. He moved his entire family to the US in 1856, and even managed to get a job overseeing Brady's Washington DC's gallery until 1862. Talk about influencing one's life! They parted company as apparently Brady had a habit of attributing his employees' work as "Photographed by Brady".

During this time, Gardner steadily built his own reputation as a portrait photographer. Around the same period, Abraham Lincoln became President, while the threat of Civil War loomed. And so the story goes that this Scottish photographer was soon recommended to Lincoln for the position of chief photographer. In 1866, Gardner published a two-volume work, Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War. Each volume contained 50 hand-mounted original prints.

But did you know that it would be Gardner who took the last-ever portrait photographs of President Abraham Lincoln prior to his assassination four days later on Good Friday, April 14? And this Scotsman and his camera were present at Lincoln's funeral. He was also the only photographer allowed at the public hanging of the President's assassination conspirators. After 1871, Gardner gave up photography and helped to found an insurance company!

In this video, expert Daniel Weinberg of the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop, Inc, presents a short and fascinating documentary about Gardner and examines some of his most important photographic images.

Photos: Alexander Gardner (1821-1882); Gardner's cracked glass portrait of Abraham Lincoln, widely considered to be the last photograph taken of the president before his death; The execution of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, July 7, 1865.

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Muybridge Galore!

For all you Muybridge fans out there, there seems to be no shortage of events dedicated to this innovative and influential early pioneer of moving photography who hailed from Kingston-upon-Thames.

It kicks off with a 'Muybridge in Kingston Launch Day' which includes an evening lecture on his links to the history of the moving and projected image given by Muybridge expert, Stephen Herbert.

You can also partake in a series of events/talks over the coming weeks, not forgetting the not-to-be-missed Tate exhibition. Details of some of the events can be found in the BPH Events section or a more comprehensive one can be found here.

The Stanley Picker Gallery & Kingston University is working inpartnership with the Royal Borough of Kingston to develop research around their unique and extensive Eadweard Muybridge collection at KIngston Museum & Archive, details of which can be found here.

Photo: Copyright Kingston Museum and Heritage Services.
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Levine Photography Collection Premieres

Considered by many to be among the finest photography collections in private hands, The Noel and Harriette Levine Photography Collection, spanning over 170 years, is being presented in its first public display since it was gifted to the Israel Museum in 2008.

The Levines first embarked on the creation of what became one of theworld’s most significant photography collections in private hands nearly four decades ago. A Rare Gift pays tribute to their foresight, as they were among the few early collectors to recognize the promise of photography as a major art form.

Never before on view in its entirety outside the couple’s New York home,this extraordinary collection inaugurates the Robert and Rena (Fisch) Lewin Gallery and Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis Gallery in the upper level of the Museum’s reconfigured Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing. Details of the exhibition can be found here.

The Levine Collection embraces the medium of photography as a whole, focusing broadly across periods, styles, and schools, from the 1840s through the present day. The collection includes notable examples of vintage 19th-century photography, among them: Iconic calotypes by the British practitioners David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, and signature examples of pictorialism by Julia Margaret Cameron.

A copy of the exhibition catalogue can be found here, and a sample of the exhibits can be seen here.

Photo: Portrait of an Unknown Man, 1898

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Writing elsewhere Marcel Safier describes a project which he and Stefan Hughes have joined forces on. The intention is to produce a biography of the neglected but important figure in photograpic history, inventor of the successful collodion photographic process Frederick Scott Archer.

Marcel states: "We became acquainted through our mutual friend, Archer enthusiast and contemporary wet plate practitioner Sean McKenna. Already fresh and interesting material has come to light and it is our intention to chronicle as much of Archer's life as possible and to examine his significance to photography and look in detail at his family and circle of friends."

Stefan has created a website to support the project:

Marcel also appeals for more information: "Some of you may have valuable information you wish to share such as an image, correspondence, a newspaper or journal article or details on one of his friends and collaborators(such as Peter Wickens Fry, Warren De La Rue etc.) I know speaking to one friend on this list that he had actually contemplated writing a book himself on Archer. We certainly want to know if someone else is contemplating that task. There is a forum on our site but we welcome direct email contact. I shall be in touch directly over coming months with those people I know personally on the list that might be able to assist is. Anyone who has suggestions for grant funding or publication of our book is also welcome to make contact."

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The Photographers' Gallery, London, is to close this Autumn 2010 as construction starts on the transformation of the Gallery's building on Ramillies Street, London. The conversion by architects O'Donnell+ Tuomey will create:

  • Three floors of galleries
  • A floor dedicated to learning for all
  • An improved Bookshop and Print Sales space
  • A brand new street level Café/Bar
  • An accessible building with a new lift

Although the building will be closed, the Gallery will continue to present projects, talks and events in Central London, as well as working with schools and young people. The Bookshop and Print Sales teams will continue to operate over this year.

For news and regular updates join our email newsletter, the Gallery can be followed on Facebook.To find out how you can support this ambitious project contact the Development Team on, +44 (0)20 7087 9340.

Click here for more:

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The photo-historian Larry Schaaf writes in the The Magazine Antiques about the institutional collection and preservation of photographs within the context of the British Library and it's activities. The first paragraph is reproduced below. Click here for to see the full text (for free):

When photography was first announced to the public in 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1781–1851) took the limelight. Daguerre’s process produced a singular photograph on a silvered sheet of copper, breathtaking in its detail and seductive in its beauty. But in the larger mainstream of communication, it was a dead end. Talbot’s productions on paper seemed coarse and cumbersome by comparison. Yet paper has traditionally been the basis of many reproductive arts and is especially the province of books, allowing Talbot’s approach into existing pathways. The Library of the British Museum (as it was then) was not the logical repository of works of art, a function served by the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert). Some photographs came in through the British Museum’s prints and drawings collection, others as part of donations of private libraries, but the truly stupendous numbers of photographs were collected contemporaneously as illustrations in books and portfolios. Since photomechanical processes were not perfected for most of the nineteenth century, many of these illustrations were original photographic prints. In many ways, we are fortunate that collections such as that of the British Library exist. They are fundamentally different from museum curated photographic collections though each has its strengths. Without this “accidental” collecting, many splendid images would either have been considered insignificant, or would not have fit the aesthetic of the moment and would have been lost to us.

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Points of View a popular success

The British Library's most visited temporary exhibition during 2009-10 was Points of View which attracted 108,989 visitors and surpassed, by far, the Henry VIII exhibtion. Points of View: Capturing the 19th Century in Photographs was the British Library’s first major photographic exhibition and examined the development and influence of photography from its invention in 1839 up to the growth of a popular amateur market in the early 20th century. It showed rarely displayed items from the collection and explored how photography had assumed a critical role as the primary means of visual expression. The show was curated by John Falconer.

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Are there any collectors of photographica out there with original samples of William Willis's Platinotype Company papers, in an unexposed, unprocessed condition? These were marketed during 1879-1937 in sealed tins, like baked beans, but it doesn't matter if the tin has been opened. Please contact me privately if you have something to negotiate.
The background to this request is a major research project just initiated by a leading US Museum into the conservation of historic platinotypes and palladiotypes. In order to make simulacra for testing, we need more information on Willis's commercial papers than his patents provide, and are gaining this by analytical investigations of his original materials.
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Book: Images from the Likeness House

On a winter’s day in 1889, Tsimshian Chief Arthur Wellington Clah went to a photography studio in Victoria to have his portrait taken. “Rebekah ask if I going likeness house,” Chief Clah wrote in his diary, “So I go, to give myself likeness. Rebekah stand longside me.”

In Images from the Likeness House, Dan Savard explores the relationship between First Peoples in British Columbia, Alaska and Washington, and the photographers who made images of them from the late 1850s to the 1920s. He features the images, as they have survived, without digital enhancements, from the earliest glass-plate photographs made by “photographic artists” to snapshots taken by amateurs on nitrate film.

Photography was a laborious procedure in its early days, undertaken only by “photographic artists” who had the knowledge and resources to make images. These professionals often travelled far away from their “likeness houses” to make visual records of this region, transporting their heavy glass plates and equipment by boat and wagon.

In Images from the Likeness House, Dan Savard gives examples of the styles of photographs and methods of producing them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He shows the great technological advancements that took place in this period, from the early negatives produced on
wet-glass plates to the invention of nitrate film. More importantly, he shows how some of these images, produced by outsiders who knew little about the cultures they recorded, do not portray the interests of the people in them, but those of the photographer.

Savard shares his passion for historical photographs as he discusses the value in each, how or why the photographer produced it, or what the image means to researchers today. This is not only an important book about photography, but also a visual statement about perception (and misperception), cultural change and survival. Images from the Likeness House will appeal to ethnographers, photographers, photo historians, history buffs and anyone interested in the history of photography of BC, Alaska and Washington.

Dan Savard is senior collections manager of the Anthropology Audio Visual Collection at the RBCM. He has authored several academic papers and given many illustrated presentations on topics related to
photography and First Peoples. This is his first book.

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