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Preservation of Photographic Archives

12200933454?profile=originalI've read with interest the Guardian article of last Thursday on the incredible story of the photographic collections of Tate and V&A, and also your comment on British Photographic History (

As director of the Photo Library of an art historical research institute (a German institution with seat in Florence) working also theoretically on photo archives, I would like to draw your attention to the "Florence Declaration - Recommendations for the Preservation of Analogue Photo Archives" (see link below).

To the many reasons that were mentioned in the article and in the blog, why throwing away such photographic holdings is an unforgivable crime against the scientific community and the entire society, I would like to add some new research perspectives on photographs and photo archives as material objects that cannot be substituted by digital surrogates. These new studies go beyond the disciplinary borders of art history and see photographs and archives as research objects on their own.

The "Florence Declaration" aims at an integration between the analogue format and the digital format, which only can guarantee the correct conservation of the photographic heritage for future studies and at the same time the implementation of digital instruments.

Here you can find the text of the Florence Declaration (in 5 languages) and the list of subscribers:

It would be very supportive if you and other members of British Photographic History would sign the "Florence Declaration" and help us to spread it! As facts are showing, a greater and more widespread understanding of the inescapable value of analogue photographs and archives for the future of research is a primary need!

With best regards,
Costanza Caraffa

On the Florentine Photo Library, its projects and publications:

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12200948655?profile=originalThe New York Times didn’t always use photographs to its best advantage, as it only first published an illustrated Sunday magazine in 1896. But since then it has built up a true treasure house of photographs with a staggering five million to six million prints and contact sheets (each sheet, of course, representing many discrete images) and 300,000 sacks of negatives, ranging in format size from 35 millimeter to 5 by 7 inches — at least 10 million frames in all.

The picture archive also includes 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery. When the Museum of Modern Art set out to exhibit the highlights of the Times archive in 1996, it dispatched four curators. They spent nine months poring over 3,000 subjects, working with two Times editors, one of whom spent a year on the project. In the end, they estimated that they’d seen only one-quarter of the total.

They have now started to post them onto Tumblr bit by bit. This is because if they posted 10 new archival pictures every weekday on Tumblr, just from their print collection, they wouldn’t have the whole thing online until the year 3935!

You can see the first few ones here.

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19th century photography rocks on... (updated)

12200943480?profile=originalThis looks like a battle of the rock groups. Queen needs to step aside for another head thumping band, and this time it is Radiohead.

You may not know this but their bassist, Colin Greenwood, has an interest in analogue processes and 19th century photography. Radiohead approached Sebastian Edge, a UCA Maidstone graduate with a distinction in MA Fine Art, to work on their publicity photograph for The King of Limbs LP. The black and white print was captured on glass using 19th century processing techniques and a large home-made camera.

Now the world-famous group, fronted by Thom Yorke, has given permission for Sebastian to sell prints of the image to fund a project to safeguard traditional photography techniques, known as the North London DarkroomIt is based on Milmead Road, Tottenham Hale, and houses specialist equipment and materials for those interested in hand-made photographic and printing techniques. You can read the rest of the article here.

Photo: Sebastian Edge's Radiohead photo.

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PhD Studentship: The Photo Book in Ireland

Applications are invited for a three year full time PhD, working within the Irish Photobook research project in the School of Art and Design. The project focus is the representation of Ireland through photographic publishing. The project team; Paul Seawright, Donovan Wylie and Martin Parr will supervise the research. The Irish PhotoBook project develops Parr and Badger's internationally acclaimed work on the history of the Photobook, using their methodology to evaluate the development of Irish Photography. Seawright and Wylie are key figures in Irish photography and have long standing research interests in both the representation of Ireland and the photographic book. Plans are in place for a major exhibition and publication in partnership with the Photo Ireland Photography Festival and the Gallery of Photography, Dublin and the creation of a special book collection at Ulster. The successful candidate will play a key role in the project and we welcome research proposals that develop a body of research within this framework.

Project Title /Subtitle         

The Photo Book in Ireland


Supervisor 1     Professor Paul Seawright

School of Art and Design, Faculty of Art Design and the Built Environment.

Research Institute Art and Design.


Supervisor 2      Donovan Wylie

School of Art and Design, Faculty of Art Design and the Built Environment.

Research Institute Art and Design.



Professor Martin Parr



The Research Institute Art and Design and the Faculty of Art and Design and the Built Environment Research Graduate School advertises priority topics on which applications for research degrees are particularly invited. Applications may be for full time or part time study.

The recruitment process often co-coincides with recruitment to research degree studentships managed by the University. These are normally full time.
Applications are also welcomed from students who are self funding or who are applying for other external studentships, grants, bursaries and awards.

While priority topics are advertised, applications on topics proposed by the applicant are also considered where there is supervisory capacity and relevant resources. Applicants are advised to discuss this with the head of the Faculty of Art Design and Built Environment Research Graduate School.

Undertaking a research degree is significant commitment.  Applicants may contact the potential supervisor of the priority topic for clarification during the development of their application. There is no requirement to do so and applicants who do not do so are not penalised.


Applications are normally submitted online. <>

Information for prospective research degree students, including application forms, can also be found on the university Web pages <>

Professor Neil Hewitt heads the Research Graduate School (RGS) of the Faculty of Art Design and Built Environment. <>;

The Research Institute Art and Design (RIAD) Director is Professor Karen Fleming. There are 3 research centres within RIAD  - the Centre for Applied Art Research, the Design and Architecture Research Centre and the Centre for Fine art Research. Research students are members of RIAD. <>

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Conference: Art versus Industry?

12200933860?profile=originalArt versus Industry? Is An international conference at Leeds City Museum, being held 23-24 March 2012. Of particular interest are two papers Nicole Bush (Northumbria University) Mechanical Patterns: The Role of Brewster’s Kaleidoscope in the Age of Morris and the Machine and Patrizia Di Bello (Birkbeck) ‘Camera-Medusa’: Stereoscopic Photographs of Statuettes. The full programme and further information is below.


Organised by:

Dr Kate Nichols (University of Bristol)

Gabriel Williams (University of York)

Rebecca Wade (University of Leeds)


Full details at


Registration deadline: 9 March 2012. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER



Friday 23 March 2012



Registration and coffee



Welcome and introductions



Lara Kriegel (Indiana University)

Filaments of History: Ladies, Lace, Labour and Nation at the Fin de Siecle


10.45-12.45 Panel One: De-Centering the Narrative

Chaired by Sarah Turner (University of York)


Lara Eggleton (University of Leeds)

Surface Deceits: Owen Jones and John Ruskin on the Ornament of the Alhambra


Sally Tuckett (University of Edinburgh)

Colouring the Nation: Scottish Turkey-Red Design and Manufacture


Natasha Eaton (University College London)

Subaltern Colour? Art, Industry and Colonialism in Britain and India


Renate Dohmen (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

The Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883-4: A Differenced Vision of the Great Exhibition?


12.45-1.45 Lunch (provided)


1.45-3.45 Panel Two: The Aesthetics of Technology

Chaired by Mark Westgarth (University of Leeds)


Alistair Grant (University of Sussex, Victoria and Albert Museum)

Galvanic Engraving in Relief: The Origins of the Art of Electro-Metallurgy


Angus Patterson (Victoria and Albert Museum)

For the Promotion of Art: The Formation and Influence of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Electrotype Co&ection


Graeme Gooday and Abigail Harrison Moore (University of Leeds)

Decorative Electricity: The Gendered Aesthetics and Ethics of Domestic Electric Lighting


Anne-Marie Millim (University of Luxembourg)

“A substitute for moonlight”: The Cultural Value of Mining in The Graphic (1870s)


3.45-4.00 Coffee



Tom Gretton (University College London)

Industrialised Graphic Technologies Feature the World of Art: The Illustrated London News and The Graphic

c. 1870 - 1890


5.00 Please join us at the Victoria (behind the Town Hall) to continue our conversations!

8.00 Conference Dinner (not included, but we hope you will still join us).




Saturday 24 March 2012



Registration and coffee



Colin Trodd (University of Manchester)

Affinity and Alienation: Civility, Barbarism and Discourses of Design Culture, 1862-1894


11.00-1.00 Panel Three: Making and Mechanical Perception

Chaired by Danielle Child (University of Leeds)


Ann Compton (University of Glasgow)

Building a Better Class of Craftsman? Re-examining Issues of Education, Craftsmanship and Professional Practice

in Sculpture and Related Trades, c. 1880-1925


Gabriel Williams (University of York)

‘Mechanical Dexterity’ and Sculpture Machines at the Great Exhibition


Nicole Bush (Northumbria University)

Mechanical Patterns: The Role of Brewster’s Kaleidoscope in the Age of Morris and the Machine


Patrizia Di Bello (Birkbeck)

‘Camera-Medusa’: Stereoscopic Photographs of Statuettes


1.00-1.45 Lunch (provided)


1.45-3.15 Panel four: Labour, Class and Invention

Chaired by Kate Hi& (University of Lincoln)


Jasmine Allen (University of York)

The Status of Stained Glass at the International Exhibitions


Frances Robertson (Glasgow School of Art)

Crank-Pin Tracks and Corinthian Columns: Engineers and Draughtsmen as Visual Technicians


Ben Russell (Science Museum)

James Watt’s s Workshop: A Nexus Between Art and Industry


3.15-3.30 Coffee



Steve Edwards (Open University)

Picture Capitalism


4.30-5.00 Roundtable discussion and closing remarks

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The Israel Museum, Jerusalem and the Shpilman Institute for Photography announce the opening of the 2012 edition of the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography and welcome nominations and submissions.
Awarded every second year, the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography aims to catalyze groundbreaking work in the field by providing scholars and photographers with financial support in the amount of $ 45,000.- in order to pursue original work and ideas in the medium. A first of its kind, the prize is awarded exclusively for the creation of new research rather than the recognition of previously completed projects. It is presented to an artist and/or scholar who aims to expand the boundaries of the medium and contribute to the understanding of photography.
As detailed in the regulations prospective candidates may include artists and scholars in photography with a rich and well established record of past achievements who intend to create new work or undertake new research in the field, ideally combining the theory and practice of photography.

Please visit the website for more information and spread the news among the photography community.

The deadline for submissions id September 1, 2012.

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Tate's scandalous 'rubbish' ...

12200933672?profile=originalArchives full of photographs of artworks from their collections and beyond, including sensitive documents relating to government committees and export applications have been saved from being thrown out. Brian Allen, director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, a UK educational charity with links to Yale University, immediately dispatched a van to salvage the hundreds of boxes when he received a call out of the blue from a "low-ranking" Tate employee informing him they were destined for the skip.

Some photographs were of otherwise unrecorded works, and were the only image in existence. Others were shots of important pictures taken by different cameras, in different lights and from different angles over many years, often showing dramatic changes. Although the archives' disposal occurred within the past five years, the news has only now emerged, as reported in a Guardian article here today.

Photo: Skip material quality?  Images of two John Hoppner works. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian.

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12200949263?profile=originalThis ongoing exhibition (across the pond, unfortunately) is held in conjunction with the Daguerreian Society, and features some 60 nineteenth-century daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. It addresses several facets of the public’s insatiable appetite for portraits of loved ones and strangers alike. Flawless artistic and studio portraits will be on view.

Highlights include a rare portrait of James Cutting, the inventor of the ambrotype, by Mathew Brady and a pair of important full-plate daguerreotype portraits by Southworth and Hawes on loan from The Dandrew-Drapkin Collection. One features the statesman Daniel Webster, the other, Alvin Adams, the shipping magnate whose company later became American Express. Other formal portraits of sitters are an elegant likeness of a lady by John Jabez Edwin Mayall and a playful photograph of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky by Alphonse Plumier. In contrast to these formal portraits, the exhibition also presents images of anonymous subjects, mainly workers and models made by unknown “operators.”

This is the second in a series of exhibitions drawn from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection. You can view them at the Museum of Fine Arts, Florida.

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12200947292?profile=originalMinnie Weisz Studios in Kings Cross will be running a series of weekend workshops learning to make positive ambrotypes, images direct onto glass, tin and acrylic. Following in the footsteps of Frederick Scott Archer, the inventor of the collodion process in 1851, you will be taught by experts in the field of alternative historic photographic processes, practising and teaching in the UK : Jo Gane, John Brewer.

Each workshop begins with a mini lecture about the history and science of the wet plate collodion process, each specialist in the field will introduce their own work and examples of ambrotypes for the class to view and discuss.
Participants will learn the process, a hands-on approach, pouring plates, working with large format cameras in the studio, for portraits and still life, processing the plates in our specialist dark room, making up to 7 plates each per weekend workshop.

Further details, including dates etc, can be found here.

Photo: The Bullring Birmingham, Ambrotype © Jo Gane

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Why Join British Photographic History?

I took over the stewardship of the Trinity Mirror collection back in 2004. Since then I have when possible try to discover a little of the history and careers of our earliest photographers and where possible try to credit their work.

Back in 1904 when the Daily Mirror became the first UK daily newspaper to print photographs on a regular basis published images simply carried the credit Daily Mirror. Little credit was given to photographers like Ivor Castle, Tom, Bernard and Horace Grant who were the pioneers of photo-journalism in this country.

My aim, and the reason for joining British Photographic History is to unearth as much information I can find out about these forgotten heroes of Edwardian photo-journalism. 

Can you help?

If you have any information I would be delight to hear from you.

John Mead


Ivor Castle the first photographer employed by the Daily Mirror in 1904

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The Scot who made good in Canada ...

12200945258?profile=originalThe first Canadian photographer of international renown with subjects ranging from royalty, Governors General and the Fathers of Confederation, to Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Anna of Anna and the King of Siam fame. He would also have been responsible for most of the vintage photos of Victorian Montreal, its winter scenes and its citizens. 

Not only that, he also owned the largest photography business in 19th-century North America. But his biggest coup must be the 'Maple Box' - a portfolio of his pictures as Canada's official gift to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, in 1860.

So who was this migrant from Paisley who arrived in Montreal in 1856? Senior cataloguer Nora Hague of the Notman Photographic Archives is a fount of information about William Notman (8 March 1826 – 25 November 1891), his career and times. The Archives (which include 400,000 glass negatives, 60,000 of which have been digitized) are housed at the Mc-Cord Museum, where Hague has worked for more than 40 years. You can read an article on him here and view some of them here too.

But more interestingly, if Notman is someone you are researching on, CBC Ideas, 88.5 or 104.7 FM in Canada will be airing a two-part radio documentary about the life of William Notman by Elaine Kalman Naves on Wednesday, 22nd February, and Thursday, 23rd February, at 9pm. Fear not for local UK BPH readers - with today's technology I think there is an equivalent iPlayer which you can try here on the day. Hope it works!

Photo: Ice shove, Montreal 1884 by William Notman, courtesy McCord Museum.

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12200946469?profile=originalThe search begins...As reported back in December in BPH the current Director of the National Media Museum, Colin Philpott, is to leave in April. The search for his successor - re-designated as museum Head has now started. See: for the original report.  

Head of the National Media Museum
UK, Bradford

Award wining, visionary and unique the Media Museum houses world class collections in photography, film, broadcast and new media.

As Head of the Media Museum you will have the drive and imagination to commission creative content and embrace new thinking, technologies and approaches for our collections, exhibitions and programmes.

The Museum is based in the heart of Bradford.  It is one of a group of four museums including the Science Museum, the Railway Museum and the Museum of Scienceand Industry Manchester.  Together we reach over 5 million visitors.


The role includes:

  • developing a vibrant programme of innovative exhibitions an programmes for local and national audiences
  • leading the external promotion of the museum and its collections to a wide array of stakeholders
  • building cultural partnerships across a local and national landscape
  • developing and coaching an effective leadership team to ensure they reach their full potential
  • working with the science museum to develop and deliver Medial Space – a new exhibition and programme venue for the MediaMuseum in London.

For an information discussion, please contact Heather Mayfield on 0207 942 4862, for further information please visit




You may wish to upload a single document in Microsoft Word format which includes both your CV and a covering statement.




Job Title:  Head of National Media Museum

Department: Media Museum

Location:   Bradford

Reports to: Deputy Director, Science Museum

Date:  25 January 2012

Purpose of the Job


To lead the Media Museum at Bradford, ensuring its future success and maximising the impact of its exhibitions and programmes for local, and national, audiences.


To develop a clear strategic and business plan for the national media collections held by NMSI, and ensure optimum public access through exhibitions, display, digital delivery and research.


Work with colleagues to ensure that Media Space becomes a landmark cultural venue, and ensure that a creative programme for the Media Space enhances the cultural offer in Bradford.


Key Deliverables/Accountabilities

  1. To manage national collections of film, photography and television at Bradford.
  2. To lead the collections and exhibitions teams ensuring they stay abreast of contemporary practice to produce high quality, innovative, visitor focused products that enhance the Museum’s reputation and expand audiences.
  3. Develop and motivate an effective senior team, coaching them to reach their potential.
  4. Setting of and managing of standards across all areas of responsibility
  5. Support the Deputy Director (Science Museum) to maximise access to the collections and ensure that a deeper of understanding of the collections is achieved through scholarship and other research.
  6. Support the Deputy Director (Science Museum) to devise the exhibition, seminar and learning programme for the Media Space and display galleries in Bradford.
  7. Work towards the recognition of Media Space as a major cultural offering, working closely with the arts team at ScienceMuseum, and curatorial team in Bradford and London.
  8. To ensure a strategic approach to building the collection, and robust de-accessioning where holdings no longer have public value.
  9. To lead the external promotion of the museum and its collections to a wider array of stakeholders.
  10. To work devise an audience strategy, working closely with the Directors of Learning and Enterprises, to create targets that maximise visit numbers, whilst also balancing reach and financial impact.
  11. Support the Deputy Director (Science Museum) to recruit an excellent Advisory Board; and lead on its management and participation.
  12. Build partnerships and alliances with regional cultural, governmental and commercial players.
  13. To work with the Director of Master plan and Estate, Deputy Director (Science Museum) and other relevant NMSI colleagues to develop a long-term master plan for the Bradford museum and its collections.
  14. Cultivate corporate and individual sponsorship and patronage.
  15. Take care of your personal health and safety and that of others and report any health and safety concerns.  Ensure proactive compliance with NMSI H&S Policies, including risk assessments and implementing safe systems of work

Working Relationships and Contacts

  • Direct working relationships with the Deputy Director Science Museum and the NMSI Executive group
  • Strong working relationships with: the Director of Master Plan and Estates, the Director of External Affairs and the Director of Development.
  • Strong working relationship with the local authority in Bradford, local cultural organisations, and specialist audiences
  • Strong working relationships with the creative industries represented in the MediaMuseum’s content


Line Management and Budget Responsibility

Directly line manages: 4-6 people

Indirectly line manages: 50-60 people in multidisciplinary teams


Budget Holder of  £4,000-5,000k


Candidate Profile


  • A strong track record of creative success at strategic level in museums and/or galleries
  • A strong track record of commissioning creative content, in display and learning programmes in a museum setting
  • The proven ability to translate ideas into effective action speedily and within a tight budget.
  • Comfortable with change, and effective at promoting it
  • A strong interest in media and associated technology
  • The ability to be a successful ambassador for the museum, communicating the Museum’s core messages effectively at all levels internally and externally
  • A strong track record of building effective partnerships in cultural organisations nationally and internationally
  • Experience of building and championing national venues/galleries/cultural institutions outside London

Skills, Knowledge and Relevant Qualifications

  • Educated to post-graduate level in a relevant subject and\ or evidence of substantial experience of developing and delivering successful creative museological content in different organisations.
  • Demonstrates strong leadership and management skills that will deliver strong performance
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent networking skills
  • Strong negotiating skills, able to focus on museum priorities and achieve a coherent approach to branding across a wide spectrum of activity. 
  • A demonstrable track record of working effectively with different types of collections


  • Leads the team to increased output, higher levels of creativity, stronger connections with science and art content for local and national audiences
  • Ensures a strong outward focus for all activities aligned with meeting the needs of visitors and scholars
  • Leads an effective and pro-active management team that delivers world-class museological outputs
  • Is strongly focused on innovative creative content that directly connects visitors with the Museum’s collections and the creative industries
  • Is strongly committed to developing and delivering a world class media museum within a group of science and industry museums
  • Looks for and develops suitable synergies within the NMSI group to increase capacity and capability in the team at the MediaMuseum

Scope for Impact

  • Will lead the MediaMuseum to be a leading cultural venue in Bradford and London.
  • Will develop and secure strong and meaningful relationships with the public and industry in Bradford and West Yorkshire.

Please note:

  • This job description is not exhaustive and amendments and additions may be required in line with future changes in policy, regulation or organisational requirements, it will be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • This role is subject to a Disclosure Scotland basic criminal record check

For further information see:

Closing date 5 March 2012

We welcome applications from all sections of the community in which we work. We particularly welcome applications from disabled people and we guarantee interviews to suitably qualified disabled applicants.  

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12200936496?profile=originalIt has recently been reported that the French police has opened an investigation into the possible forgery of early photographs sold at the provincial auction house Artcurial Deauville on 29 March last year.

At issue is a catalogue of 83 lots that supposedly came from the family of Charles Edouard de Crespy Le Prince (1784-1850), a minor painter and engraver (the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Museum in Montmorency has one of his works). The catalogue comprised 185 images on salt paper and 73 negatives, all of which are studies of trees and rocks. The works were “rediscovered” according to a catalogue introduction that did not give other details of provenance. The text dated them to 1848, placing them close to the official beginning of photography (1839). Many leading dealers and collectors were present in the saleroom, and others were on the telephone. All the lots sold for prices between €745 and €34,080, mainly within estimate although some of the most expensive made ten times expectations. The sale totalled €554,200. The consignors were given a €100,000 advance.

Several dealers voiced doubts about the authenticity of the photographs immediately after the sale, but details of the affair did not begin to emerge until December when the vendors brought a lawsuit for non-payment against the auction house. The specialist photography dealer Alex Novak of Vintage Works did not attend the sale, nor buy, but has since examined some of the photographs. He points to a number of concerns. One is the paper used, which appears to be polluted. The leading US dealer Hans Kraus says  “It is a salutatory lesson, not to trust catalogues, and to be more careful.”

You can read the rest of this article here.

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John Hillelson (1923-2012)

John Hillelson, who owned the John Hillelson Agency and was the London agent for Magnum from 1958 until 1987 died  on 13 February following complications after a heart operation. John was born on 13 April 1923 in East Prussia and arrived in Britain in 1934 fleeing from Nazism. He was classified as an enemy alien in 1939 but secured a job as a caption writer at the Keystone picture agency. He then served with RAF as a wireless operator rejoining Keystone after the war.

He opened the John Hillelson Agency in 1958 at 145 Fleet Street, representing Magnum Photos in the UK.He maintained close links with Magnum until his death.

His son writes: “After serving in the Royal Air Force during WWII, John Hillelson embarked on a career in journalism that took him to Paris in the early 1950s, to run the United Press picture desk. In 1958, following his return to London, he was invited to represent the Magnum photographers' co-op, and, during the 1960s, he collaborated with a new generation of weekly magazine editors to publish photo-reportage by Magnum photographers and gain exposure for less-known work, such as the pictures of apartheid smuggled out of South Africa by Ernest Cole in 1966-7.

The John Hillelson Agency became one of the most respected picture agencies of 70s and 80s, expanding its stable to include the French Viva and Sygma agencies, and many independent photographers. The Agency's library, overseen by Judith Hillelson with her incomparable visual memory, was an important resource for a generation of picture researchers.

Alongside his love of good contemporary photography, John was a pioneering collector of early photographs specialising in historic images of the Near and Far East by the likes of Felice Beato, Hill and Adamson, and James Robertson. These two strands of interest spanned over a hundred years of photographic development, and came together to confirm John's position as a leading advocate of human interest photography”.

For more information see: and

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12200945866?profile=originalSpecial places have a magical power. They inspire people with extraordinary stories, Lacock Abbey & House is no exception. Set in rural Wiltshire, Lacock is famous for its picturesque streets, historic buildings and its more recent role as a television and film location. The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds, is a quirky country house of various architectural styles, built upon the foundations of a former nunnery. Visitors can experience the atmosphere of the medieval rooms and cloister court, giving the sense of the Abbey’s monastic past. In 1835 William Henry Fox Talbot invented the photographic negative at the Abbey, taking an image of the oriel window, making Lacock the birthplace of modern photography. The contents within the Abbey reflect 800 years of life here.

Sharing our love of places and people, you’ll manage the care of the Abbey and its collections while striving to improve the visitor experience through offering a glimpse into the incredible stories of the people who’ve lived here. You’ll be bringing this fascinating property to life for all of our visitors. And you’ll need to use all of your creativity and enthusiasm to make sure visitors keep coming back. There’ll be challenges. But, you’ll be ready for them. In fact, you’ll face them head on. Leading and managing a great team of staff and volunteers, you’ll be confident showcasing your big, bright ideas and helping to develop engaging plans across the property with the Lacock team, to improve visitor enjoyment which in turn will generate income and support important conservation activities. You’ll also focus your energies on making sure that the Abbey has effective security and fire protection at all times.

As part of this role involves providing out-of-hours security cover (on a rota basis), you’ll be expected to live in the provided on-site accommodation. This will include evening, weekend and Bank Holiday working. 

About you

Alongside an understanding of collections management and experience in a conservation role, you’ll have an impressive track record of managing people and places. You’re an inspirational leader and enjoy motivating your team with your exciting ideas. You’ll be happy working with big budgets and hitting big targets too. We’d also like you to have a degree or commensurate experience in a relevant field. You’ll enjoy getting things done and making things happen at this special place, like putting smiles on faces.

Incredibly rewarding

We expect a lot, but we’ll offer a great deal in return, starting with stimulating and challenging work and the opportunity to help us achieve our bold ambitions. We value your contribution, recognise the importance of a work-life balance, and are committed to your continued development. You can also look forward to free admission to all our incredible places, plus a helpful 20% off at our shops, cafes and restaurants. But they’re just the benefits we can tell you about here.

About us

Here at the National Trust, we want even more people to enjoy our extraordinary places, spaces and collections. We want people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved with them, be inspired by them, and love them as much as we do. That’s why we’ve put some bold ambitions in place. We want everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to feel like a member of the National Trust and, by 2020, we want to have grown our membership to more than five million.


To be part of something special, please visit our website. Closing date: 29 February 2012. Provisional interview date: 14 March 2012.

For more information see:


Ref: NT12/07790
Location: Chippenham, Wiltshire
Contract: Permanent
Hours: Full Time
Salary: £22,652-£24,496 per annum
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12200935472?profile=originalUPDATE: You can view the video using the link on this page here or here.

In Paris 1886, the world's first media interview took place when the great photographer Felix Nadar interviewed the scientist and sceptic, Michel Chevreul, on his 100th birthday. The two men discussed photography, colour theory, Moliere and Pasteur, the scientific method, the crazy ideas of balloonists, and – of course – how to live for 100 years. It was a lively and interesting conversation between two legends of the 19th century: one born before the French revolution; the other destined to see the marvels of the aeroplane and the movies.

The photographs and the original words were published in Le Journal illustré (Paris) on September 5, 1886. As a series of unposed portraits it is remarkable; as a photographic and stenographic record of an interesting and sophisticated conversation from 1886 it is unique.

Now with the technology of the 21st century, ABC network in Australia has recreated 'The First Interview' as if a talking movie was filmed in the 19th century. It is being shown tonight at 10:05pm on ABC1. (Sorry guys, don't think we can tune in here unless they have an equivalent 'iPlayer' facility, but even then, due to copyright reasons don't think that would be permissible.) Perhaps Aussie BPH members can comment on this documentary.

Photo: ABC, Australia.

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Christopher Penn and I are looking for examples of these stereocards for reference and possible inclusion as one or more figures in his forthcoming book on A.T.W. Penn and Nicholas & Co. to be published later this year by Quaritch. We have a copy of a list that was advertised but no visuals. If anyone knows of any examples that we could see please get in touch.



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