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Meeting and Photographing Picture Post's Bert Hardy -- Researched & Written by David Joseph Marcou.

Among my 81 books so far and numerous essays on many subjects I've authored about a half dozen books about Picture Post and Bert Hardy, that magazine's lead-photographer.

My meeting and photographing Bert Hardy in November 1981, around the time of my 31st birthday (just two years after I'd taken up photography decently), was so influential to my future works, that I didn't just write one story and forget about that meeting, but I wrote extensively about it. Eventually, an archival print of my best photo-portrait of Bert Hardy and his dogs Lizzie and Kim, was even added to the Photographs Collection of the British National Portrait Gallery, where it resides today.

I'd been a member of the Missouri-London Reporting Program that semester (Autumn 1981), with John H. Whale and Ernest Morgan our program moderators (JHW was our London instructor and editor). Mr. Whale's day job was working for the Sunday Times of London in many editorial capacities, and our group's office was on the top floor of the Sunday Times building at 200 Grays Inn Road. Mr. Whale's office was on a lower floor of that same building.

Sally Soames, an ST photojournalist, learned I was at least as interested in photography as I was in my semester's writing projects, and gave me the address of a black-and-white photo-printer she said was the best in the world, Grove Hardy Ltd. I went about my semester using a neighborhood printer instead, Prem Olsen. I covered many subjects with my writings, including 50 IRA relatives' meeting with the Cardinal of England Basil Hume at Westminster Catholic Cathedral, with one woman telling the Cardinal what he could do with his read-statement as she stormed out.

Covering 7 or 8 stories, I was still 4 or 5 stories short of my requirement (12, which I'd not reach then, thus my poor grades that semester). Near end of semester, Prem suggested I contact a photojournalist who'd taken good photos and who had good stories to tell about those photos. I obtained his phone number and arranged an interview. The photojournalist's name was Hardy, as it turned out the Hardy in Grove Hardy, so I talked with Sally again, and she said "Mr. Hardy is a very nice man."

I was instructed by the Hardys to take the train from the Elephant & Castle Station to Oxted in Surrey. The Elephant & Castle District was Bert's birth district, where he'd grown up in neo-Dickensian fashion in the 19-and-teens, in a rough and tumble world.

It took 38 minutes to arrive at Oxted by that train, and Bert was waiting for me to drive me to his 300-year-old farmstead, where Mrs. Hardy met us at the gate. The first interview was intriguing, with mentions of many famous people Bert had photographed, but also discussion of his photographing everyday places and people too, including his beloved Elephant & Castle, the street urchins of Glasgow, Betty Burden (the post-war Birmingham shop-girl in "Millions Like Her"), World War II, the Korean War; and the Family of Man.

We also discussed the Queen's wedding of 1947, where Bert took some fairly good photos too, though he was at least as interested in telling me about how the all-day-position-locked-in photographers relieved themselves during the coverage (into thermos bottles). He also mentioned his advertising work, because after Picture Post closed in 1957, Bert opened his own advertising photo business, and was very successful with that too for a few years, before he got the bug to farm, and bought one with his second wife, Sheila.

When I mentioned I'd like to photograph Bert, I was told we'd need to schedule another meeting a couple of days' later, which we did, and I was driven back to Oxted for the train.

When I returned for those photos, I photographed not only Bert and his dogs, but Bert seated by his living room window, as well as Mrs. Hardy, plus a man from the Rank Company, who stopped in for a minute to say hello. However, the woman I married in 1986 (later divorced), absconded with many of my negatives from that 1981 shoot in 1987, though I'd first sent a few small prints to the Hardys.

Before I left my second interview with the Hardys, I was told I must also interview a mystery man of sorts, Mr. Hardy's Korean War writing partner, James Cameron. I did several days' later, but was not allowed to take his picture. However, James Cameron put Bert's Korean War photography into better context, especially regarding their coverages at Pusan (where the UN side was apparently executing political prisoners) and Inchon (the key turning point for the South Korean/UN side in that war; Hardy and Cameron's coverage at Inchon was the only significant word-photo coverage of the first day's attack, and won the Missouri Pictures of the Year Award).

James suggested to me what he'd write about elsewhere, regarding how a photojournalist must stick his or her neck out to get their photos, while a writer can stay in back, then head home to his/her typewriter to compose his or her story more safely.

I've written in great detail and been published so many times about Bert's (and James's) coverages, including in my booklet "Crucial Collaborations", my dual biography of those two great journalists; in my complete history of Picture Post, "All the Best"; and in my biography of Bert Hardy, "The Cockney Eye", that readers interested in further specifics of the lives of Bert Hardy and James Cameron as chronicled by me, will either have to wait for more installments here, or search paper libraries and websites for what I've already published on those topics. Of course, many other writers have authored accounts of their lives too (including Bert and James themselves), but I've long felt a decent ability to cover their lives, due to meeting them in 1981 in their homes, as I did.

Regarding Bert's "weaknesses", I need to add that Bert loved the ladies, and saw quite a few of them on his many travels, which likely had something to do with the breakup of his marriage to Dora, his two sons' mom. Also, since he often had to do several photo-essays each week for Picture Post, he set up a lot of his photos. His photographic and human dexterity though, made nearly all his photos look very naturally arrived at, part of his true genius given the magazine's work conditions.

One other item: The first 18 BH photos I expressed interest in receiving prints of to illustrate my future writings about our interviews, were printed by Grove Hardy; I received them a few days' after my interviews with Bert. In subsequent years, I've received additional prints of Bert's photos, and also many of my own photos over the years were printed by his darkroom too. I believe the Bert Hardy Darkroom (as it was later named) went out of business circa 2009, and Charlie Keeble, it's final manager, passed away a couple years ago. Mr. Hardy had passed in 1995, and many memorials still exist today to his name and works. (Sheila Hardy and Charlie Keeble were also old Picture Post hands, who learned picture research and darkroom skills on that great picture magazine, published from 1938 to 1957.)

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12200999285?profile=originalReflecting the World: Museums and collections of visual and sound documentation around 1900 is an international conference organized by the Elysée Museum, the University of Lausanne and the University of Geneva, Switzerland, 5-6 November, 2015. A paper copy of the call can be Appel_com_colloque_2015.pdf

On the occasion of the exhibition “The Vaud Iconographic Collection,” the Elysée Museum, the University of Lausanne and the University of Geneva are organizing a conference to take place in Lausanne and Geneva from the 5-6 November, 2015 on the history of the museums and collections of iconographic and auditory materials established around 1900 with local, national or global aspirations.

The spread of photography, the invention of cinema, and the development of sound recording devices around the end of the 19th century engendered the creation of a large volume of still and moving images, as well as sounds registered from across the world. At the time, various institutions were established in order to collect, archive, and highlight these materials, so as to preserve visual and auditory traces of history, geography, and all the social phenomena stemming from particular regions or states, or even the entire world. It concerns, for example, documentary photography museums which arose from local projects in France, Swiss and Belgium; the Archives de la Planète, created by the banker Albert Kahn; the project of Boleslas Matuszewski for a repository of historical cinematography; or the earliest, globally-directed sound archives, set up in Vienna and Berlin.

This colloquium has as its aim to better understand the history of these collections from a comparative perspective at an international level, following three lines of reflection:

I—History of the museums and collections, and their actors
- What networks were involved in the establishment and conception of these institutions? What were the culture, backgrounds and ambitions of those who imagined and realized these projects?
- What protocols were established for collecting the documents? What were the methods for classifying, storing and conserving the materials?
- How did these institutions reflect new ways of conceiving the archive, collections, and museums? What relations did these institutions maintain with earlier forms of archives and museums?
- What conceptions undelay the diffusion and display of the documents?
- How were the relations between these diverse projects imagined? Did they seek to stand alone regionally, or rather to be associated with one another?

II—Objectives, philosophies, and geographical or historical imaginaries underlying the projects
- What were the scientific, educational, heritage, as well as political and social goals of the project initiators?
- What gazes did the promoters of the projects bear regarding humankind, society, geography, history, and heritage? What relationships did the projects hold with emerging knowledge and science?
- What conceptions of the nation and the universal did they project? How did they articulate the local, the national, and the international?
- To what notion of social peace, or peace between states, were these projects associated?
- What were their conceptions of images and sound, and the place that these were given in relationship to texts?
- What practical, social, political or scientific utility was attributed to the new media?
- Who was the envisioned public?

III—Uses and fate of these collections
- What values did users and public authorities attribute to these documents? How were the documents ultimately used, in relation to the original objectives?
- What was the fate of these collections and these notions through the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries?
- What is the current status of these collections? What potential do they hold for research and further development?

- Paper proposals (including CV, title, and abstract of approximately 500 words) in either French or English should be submitted by January 15, 2014 to:;;
- Speakers will be informed of their acceptance shortly after.
- The conference will be held on 5-6 November, 2015

Organizing committee
Anne Lacoste, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
Olivier Lugon, Université de Lausanne
Estelle Sohier, Université de Genève

Scientific Committee
François Brunet, Université Paris-Diderot
Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University
Anne Lacoste, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
Olivier Lugon, Université de Lausanne
Estelle Sohier, Université de Genève
Jean-François Staszak, Université de Genève

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TV transmission: The Real Tom Thumb

12200998462?profile=originalThe Real Tom Thumb: History’s Smallest Superstar, a documentary on the life of Charles Stratton, will be broadcast on BBC4 on Tuesday 25 November, at 9pm. The programme features contributions from David Burder FRPS discussing early photography (shown, below) and the demonstration of the collodion process and Dr Michael Pritchard (shown, right) on photography and celebrity. It will be available on the BBC iPlayer. 

According to the BBC: Michael Grade reveals the extraordinary and utterly unique story of General Tom Thumb, the world's first global show business celebrity. Just 31 inches tall, he went from humble beginnings in America tointernational superstardom, eventually performing on stage before over 50 million people, including President Lincoln and a devoted Queen Victoria. Yet Tom Thumb didn't choose his own career and his selling point was his disability. Is this story one of success or exploitation? And why do we remain just as fascinated by performers with unusual bodies?

12200998285?profile=originalAs an impresario and lifelong entertainment devotee Michael sets out to follow the remarkable life of Tom Thumb (real name Charles Stratton) from his discovery aged four by the legendary showman PT Barnum to his setting out on the first ever showbusiness world tour. The journey takes him to New York and across snowy New England, then back to the UK to discover how adored Stratton was by the British public. It features exquisite hand-made suits, tiny bespoke carriages and the first ever visit by a film crew to Stratton's specially designed home, complete with miniature staircase.

Looking to our own times, Michael meets contemporary entertainers to find out what it's like to be a little person or disabled actor today, and asks whether it's ever right for us to be entertained by people with unusual bodies. Expecting a tale of exploitation, in Stratton Michael eventually discovers the story of man who made the very most of his situation and had a truly unforgettable life. And in the process there is a discovery that rewrites the history of Charles Stratton, suggesting he may have had a long-forgotten baby.

Read more here:

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12200997262?profile=originalFollowing a lively panel discussion about the role of Women Photographers, both historical and current, held at the TATE Modern in April 2014, we are now inviting papers and visual presentations for a conference to be held at the Tate Modern, London in the autumn of 2015.

The original panel brought together women from across the globe to explore and identify key themes and issues pertinent to women’s work in photography in the 21st century. The energetic debates and presentations were inspirational. Through these discussions key issues were identified, informing the development of work for women in photography, highlighting the need to ensure a place for women in the burgeoning histories of the medium.  

The TATE Modern, The University for the Creative Arts, and UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) (at London College of Communication, UAL) are now organising a two-day conference, Fast Forward: Women in Photography – Then and Now,to be held at the TATE Modern on 6th & 7th November 2015.

This call for papers and artist's presentations is looking for  for submissions that explore the significance of women's photographic practices both historical and contemporary, addressing key themes pertinent to  current photography research and to  celebrate the best work produced by women in photography. Themes might include:  new technologies, re-interpretation of archives and histories, vernacular and amateur photography, social and political impact of photography today,identity and sexuality, activist photography , collaborative practices,staging the real, culture of confession, histories of working concerning  production and dissemination ie: collectives/co-ops, web dialogues, networking and social media. In the critical discourses emerging from practice and theory, related to these themes, it is vital today to consider the historical and contemporary place that the work of women in photography occupies.

Submission of papers as follows:

19th January 2015 submit 500 word abstracts for anonymous peer-review

16th March 2015 Successful applicants will be notified after this date.

30th September 2015 Full Paper/presentation required.


Please email submissions to:


For any enquiries please email:


Image Credit: Descendants of the Unfamiliar by Faye Claridge

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Barnardo's historic archive - An update

12200977886?profile=originalLast year BPH reported that the historic Barnardo's archive, which includes historical photography of children dating back to the 1870s, was under threat (See: The plan was for the archive to be digitised after which it would either be destroyed or transferred to another institution. As you might expect this caused a major outcry and Barnardo's eventually backtracked to say that, as it no longer had the space to store the archive it would place it with another institution, An announcement would be made in the Spring [2014] - see image below.

In the interim a number of other archives and museums expressed an interest in acquiring it. 

12200996453?profile=originalSpring 2014 came and went and no announcement was forthcoming. After repeated emails and telephone calls to Barnardo's press office BPH has finally secured an update. A press officer left a message to say that Barnardos had now found space to create a larger storage facility and it would be retaining the archive.

What that means for access by historians remains to be seen. If any photo-historian gains access to the material and would like to report back please do so. 

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Exhibition and Publication: Frank Browne SJ

12200998066?profile=originalThis month has seen the fruition of a twenty-five year project for my son Edwin and myself. Having made 64,000 duplicate negatives and more recently digitised nearly 42,000 we now have made made a selection of 200 which form an exhibition currently on show at the Farmleigh Gallery in the Phoenix park, Dublin. Launched by the Irish Deputy Prime Minister it is drawing large numbers. Concurrently a new Book "Frank Browne, a Life Through the Lens" has been published by Yale University Press.

Browne was a photographer of world status whose work in Ireland is exceptional not to mention his English, Australian and other locations between. Photo-historians amongst others will find these images to be of great interest and anyone visiting Dublin before 23rd. December might find  trip to Farmleigh House and Gallery a half day well spent.

12200997679?profile=originalIf this exhibition sparks enthusiasm a Further visit to the State Apartments in Dublin Castle will also tempt with an exhibition on William Despard Hemphill's pictures from the mid nineteenth century. He was a most successful participant in the Amateur Photographic Society competitions. I made quite a number of albumen prints for this show.

Learn more about the exhibition here:,32284,en.html

Details of the book can be found here:

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12200994295?profile=originalPhotography is central to the ways in which the past is recounted, in public institutions such as museums as much as in private settings. Yet the histories of photographs themselves, and how they are implicated in the stories as well as the telling, are often neglected.

In order to develop a richer understanding of historical photographs, this lecture uses the framing idea of the 'invitation'. To conceive of the photograph as an invitation is to pay attention to the agency it enfolds and its performative qualities; the forms in which photographs circulate; the paths along which they travel and the human connections they facilitate. In this lecture, this perspective shapes Professor Newbury's approach to the work of photographic history and the curation of historical photographs.

The approach is developed through a case study of a photographic collection made in South Africa in the early 1950s, exploring its social biography, and in particular the project of returning the collection to Cape Town in a recent exhibition. The ambition was to begin the process of reconnecting the photographs to the city in which they were made, asking what it means for South African audiences to look at the photographs now. Or, to put it another way, renewing and reworking an invitation to think about the South African past in the post-apartheid present.

The invitation of photography: slow looking at 'strange places' and contested pasts

Darren Newbury
Professor of Photographic History

Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 6.30pm

Sallis Benney Theatre
University of Brighton
58-67 Grand Parade
All welcome. Free event but you must register in advance.
Light refreshments will be served after the lecture.


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12200997653?profile=originalAn exciting new opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic and ambitious individual to join Candlestar as a member of the Photo London team as its Gallery and Artistic Development Manager.

The inaugural edition of Photo London at Somerset House (21-24 May, 2015) will be both a major international photography fair, featuring many of the world’s leading galleries, and an exciting celebration of the art of photography.  Candlestar is now seeking to supplement the small team responsible for the delivery of the event through the appointment of a Gallery and Artistic Development Manager.

Reporting to the Directors, the successful applicant will be responsible for detailed liaison with the galleries attending the Fair, with the artists and curators taking part in the public programme.

The Gallery Development Manager will also work closely with colleagues responsible for VIP relations and programme and communications.

Candidates will need a thorough understanding of the international photography and art market. Candidates will be  ambitious, enthusiastic,  and diplomatic professionals who have demonstrative track record of project management and delivering to  deadline complex projects on time and on budget.  Minimum 3 years managerial experience gained working in a gallery, auction house or art fair will be particularly important.

Please find the full details of the Job Description and Person Specification by clicking here or visiting the website

The closing date for applications will be Friday 5th December and interviews will take place in the week commencing 15th December.

Please send all CVs and a covering letter to Kathryn Hill at

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12200994501?profile=originalRock House, on Edinburgh's Calton Hill is being offered for sale by Savills for £1.2 million. Savills comments that It is notable in photographic history as the studio of Hill and Adamson, and a plaque commemorating their partnership is mounted on the front of the house.

In 1843 Rock House was owned by the scientist Robert Adamson, who in the same year formed a partnership with the artist David Octavius Hill to utilise the newly invented Calotype photographic process. Together they are widely credited with having established the use of photography as an art form.

Hill and Adamson were aided by Rock House's elevated position and abundant natural light. Their subjects ranged from churchmen to the literati of Edinburgh, and from architecture to working class scenes, most famously the fishing community of Newhaven.

Major collections of their work are held by, amongst others, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Getty Museum and the University of Glasgow.

Rock House continued as a photographic studio for over a century, passing through the hands of several prominent photographers including Archibald Burns and Francis Caird Inglis

To see the property details click here:

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The death has been reported of Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani, aged 48, in London. Although not a name that will now be familiar to many photography collectors, for a period in the late 1990s/2000s Sheikh Saud was the largest buyer of photography - photographs and cameras - in the world, securing a number of important photography collections for himself and for the state of Qatar at auction and from dealers across the UK, Europe and North America.

The blurring of lines between the two and allegations of false accounting ultimately brought and end to his spending and formal role but he later resumed his position as a personal buyer. He had a connoisseur’s eye across wide range of art forms, of which photography was just a part and other interests that included wildlife conservation.  


Much of Sheikh Saud's photography collection eventually became part of the the Qatar Museum Authority's proposed photography museum, later renamed International Media Museum, plans for which were scrapped earlier this year - see:

UPDATE: Personal note: I was a Christie's photography specialist when Sheikh Saud emerged on to the scene as a collector of photography.On one memorable occasion he purchased an entire camera sale, bar one lot, much to the chagrin of those present in the auction room who delighted in bidding against him, knowing that he would not stop until he had secured the lot. On another occasion he invited me to a meeting at his Portman Square apartment ostensibly to offer me job in Qatar as a curator of his collection. The whole experience was surreal. Dealers were lining up to offer him all sorts of works of art which he would look at, and then dismiss or indicate an interest with a wave of a hand. We shared a short conversation before I was passed to an aide. The promised job failed to materialise.   

In retrospect, Sheikh Saud could have used some experienced advice on the auction process and how to manage dealers, but I sense, that as money was essentially no object, he knew what was happening and that was part of the game for him. And there was no question that he had a very good eye for traditional works of art, for high-end photography, and to recognise when a photography collection was of sufficient importance to be added to his portfolio.

The Qatar Museums Authority collections are testament to his abilities and it is disappointing that the photography collection that he largely built up is, for now, consigned to a secure, climate controlled warehouse in the desert, with plans for a photography museum now scrapped (see link above) as other priorities for the QMA have arisen. MP

Read more about Sheikh Saud here:

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The fourth Ryerson Image Centre Symposium highlights the most current research in the history of photography, bringing emerging scholars from universities worldwide to speak about their bodies of inquiry, their methods and their findings. This rising group of young photo-historians will engage in dialogue with renowned scholars, revealing how contemporary historical inquiry sits within—and departs from—established traditions. The hope is that participants, and the audience, may better understand how we came to surpass notions of the “history of photography,” moving beyond even diverse “histories of photography,” to arrive at our present sense that there are many histories of photographs.



In the United States during the 1970s, the University of New Mexico, Princeton University and the University of Chicago appointed Beaumont Newhall, Peter Bunnell and Joel Snyder as the first history of photography professors in their art history departments. Since then, numerous such chairs have been created, in photography and visual culture as well as art history departments, and the discipline of photo history has never stopped rethinking and redefining its boundaries, its methods and corpuses.

During the 1980s, the Newhall-ian model of photo history, which had offered coherence to the field and initiated its recognition in the academy and the museum, was shaken by post-modernist historical approaches that addressed the social, political and economic contexts of photographs rather than considering them exclusively as a works of art. The study of photographic history then was swept up in debates within and against French critical theory, which questioned the influence of class structures and power relations and privileged a theoretical methodology at the expense of an historical approach. Discourse regarding the photograph’s indexical status emerged in this context and seemed to be a fruitful means to unify the discipline, but the idea was soon (if not immediately) questioned.

Since the 1990s, the digital revolution has challenged the nature of photography and the notion of its indexicality. Historical research about the use of photographs in the sciences or journalism, for example, has demonstrated that the very indexicality of photography cannot adequately explain, or even summarily describe, the many different roles assumed by the medium or the beliefs in its objectivity and truthfulness. This constant epistemological reflection, accompanied by increased scholarly access to significant and varied photographic collections and archives, has sustained the history of photography as a centre of interest in academic studies. The launch of three new journals dedicated to photography during this period—Études photographiques in 1996; Photographies and Photography and Culture in 2008—provided a complement to such established periodicals as History of Photography (1977) and Fotogeschichte (1981), testifying to this ongoing importance.



“Photography Historians: A New Generation?” offers emerging scholars (post-doctoral and PhD candidates) the opportunity to present their research in the context of the Ryerson Image Centre’s internationally-recognized symposium, and to engage with renowned scholars in discussion of the present state of the field. We invite emerging scholars to submit papers, which question historical methodologies, present new approaches to important collections, and explore new photographic objects and corpuses. Papers will be given in English. Please send a 300-word abstract and a short biography to Thierry Gervais ( by November 30th, 2014.

The symposium will be the last in a planned series of four, designed to foster excellence in research related to the study of photography. The proceedings will be published by the RIC in 2016: the second volume in a series dedicated to scholarly research in the history of photography.

Photography Historians: A New Generation?

Ryerson Image Centre Symposium

March 26-28, 2015, Toronto, Canada

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This symposium seeks to explore how photography and psychology have influenced each other throughout their histories. It aims to uncover how psychological notions have informed photographic practices, and the role that photography has played in the making of psychological knowledge.

This symposium seeks to explore how photography and psychology have influenced each other throughout their histories. Its aim is twofold: to uncover how psychological notions have informed photographic practices, and to bring into light the historical role that photography has played in the making of psychological knowledge and its public dissemination.

Photographic Histories of Psychology
One-day postgraduate symposium
25 November, 2014
Trinity House, PHRC, de Montfort University, Leicester
Registration closes Tuesday 18th (registration fee includes sandwich lunch, tea and coffee)
*£0: PHRC students and speakers
*£10: de Montfort University students
*£20: students
*£26: non students



10:00 Registration

10:30 Welcome Prof. Elizabeth Edwards, Director PHRC

10:40 Introduction Beatriz Pichel


11:00 Photography and Psychology: Historical Exchanges

Chair: Jennifer Chao


Cristina Moraru (Alexandru Ioan Cuza University): “Post-Memory Processes. The Reproduction of Psychological Past Through Photography”


Allison Huetz (École du Louvre): “The Scientific Study of Emotions in France at the Turn of the Century”


David Keller (Universität zu Lübeck): “Picturing a Person’s Essence: Photographic Materials as Epistemic Instruments in the History of Early Personality Diagnosis”


12:30 Lunch


13:30 Keynote Lecture: Dr. Mathew Thomson (University of Warwick): “Photography and the Landscape of the Child in Twentieth Century Britain”


14:30 Coffee Break


15:00 Photographs and the Making of Psychiatric and Psychological Pathologies

Chair: Damian Hughes


Leticia Fernandez (University of Greenwich): “Imagining the Uprooted Child: Pain, Separation Anxiety and the Second World War”


Julie Mazaleigue (Université de Picardie Jules Verne): “Mental Disorders, Degeneration and Criminality (1880-1910): The Photographs of “Stigmata of Degeneration”, a History Between Psychology, Criminology, Police and Collective Representations”


Katherine Rawling (Royal Holloway): ““The Photographs Illustrating the Book are Good and Well Chosen”. Photography and the Configuration of Psychiatric Knowledge in Late-Nineteenth Century Books”


David Gentilcore, Edigio Priani (University of Leicester): “Towards an Iconography of Pellagrous Insanity in Venice, 1873-1912”


17:00 Open Discussion


17:15 Wine Reception

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Beatriz Pichel
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In recent years, the proliferation of online resources has shifted the balance of research away from physical archives towards online searching and browsing. However, keyword searches do not make it easy to browse for interesting ideas and relevant information when one is not sure exactly what one is looking for, even though it is often easy enough to recognise the potential of such information when one sees it.

Yet arguably browsing behaviour is just as important as targeted searching for developing new ideas and making discoveries, particularly when beginning a new project and before precise questions have been formulated. SERAPH aims to develop a “similarity engine”, a research tool that embodies the serendipitous nature of the physical browsing environment, analogous to browsing library shelves, to support research into photographic history. Users will be able to frame search queries, view results of similarity searches in an interactive 3D network of data nodes, zoom in and out of results, annotate, save and share their results with others. 

The project team invite expressions of interest from researchers, students, scholars, dealers and anyone else engaged with photographic history to join a panel of experts for this project.  Expert panel members will help the project team to understand what a similarity engine needs to do in order to be most useful.  They will help to specify and test the user interface and evaluate the performance of the similarity engine and associated tools.

The total work entailed is a maximum of 10 hours, for which a small honorarium of £200 plus expenses will be available if the funding proposal is successful.

For further details please contact Professor Stephen Brown

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12201002281?profile=originalThe Royal Photographic Society is holding two historical process workshops led by Michael Schaaf. The first on 14 February 2015 will allow participants to make ambrotypes. On the second, on 21 February, participants will making wet-collodion negatives and prints. Both take place in Bristol's St Pauls Darkroom. Early booking is advised. 

Read more and book here:


Image: Michael Schaaf

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12201001501?profile=originalPhotographic collections or 'archives' from Africa and its diasporas are increasingly en vogue among researchers and curators internationally. What is less often discussed are the sensitive issues involved in repackaging such image objects for display in new contexts and for broader audiences in terms of historical time,  geographical place, or cultural location. For instance, copyright is usually understood to reside with the commissioner of a studio portrait but this has not usually been respected with regard to African collections that often fetishize their authors and individual collectors, with negatives used to reprint original images. Private family photographs are regularly repackaged to represent or condemn national culture.

There are are also rights over personal images, beyond legal definition, which are more moral, spiritual, or cultural in dimension.

In some cases, older images have been subject to local iconoclasm because they are not perceived to fit local definitions of propriety today. And yet, there are good historical reasons for wanting to display these images today, because, as in the case of studio photography, they show the world a kind of kind of positive self imaging as an antidote to afropessimism. This panel will discuss ways to work with this material in new ways, with both empathy for the subjects depicted and sensitivity to contemporary views on images.

CFP: Panel— Photographs, Ethics and Africa on Display

DEADLINE: Friday, 9 JANUARY 2015

Where: European Conference on African Studies, Paris, France

When: 8-10 July 2015

Convened by: John Peffer (Ramapo College) and Kris Juncker (University of Warwick)

Title: Photographs, Ethics and Africa on Display

Please submit your abstract through:


You will need to provide:

- Your name, first name, email and institutional affiliation;

- The title of your presentation (in English); An abstract of your presentation in English, French or Portuguese (maximum 1500 characters).


If you have questions, please contact:

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12201000858?profile=originalWe are delighted to announce that the 'Rethinking Early Photography' conference now has a fourth keynote speaker: Professor Larry Schaaf, Director of the William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

Please see the conference website ( for details, including the Call for Papers (deadline 12th Jan 2015) and registration information.

Owen Clayton, Jim Cheshire, Hannah Field, and Adam O'Meara.

Organisers, 'Rethinking Early Photography', University of Lincoln, UK.


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Unidentified Photographer: "Gen Lee's Slaves"

12200997071?profile=originalI am investigating the unidentified photographer of the accompanying rare stereoview of Selina Gray (with two children), the Arlington House slave with whom Mrs. Robert E. Lee entrusted the keys and care of the Custis-Lee Mansion before evacuating Arlington Plantation in May 1861. The photo was purchased recently by Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, from an ebay seller in the UK. Given the photographer of other Civil War-era stereoviews of Washington City sold by the ebay seller from the same lot of vintage photos were by G.D. Wakely, George D. Wakely may well be the unidentified photographer. However, little is known about Wakely other than he was originally British and largely spent his career as a pioneer photographer in the US, including in Washington, DC, during 1865-1870. I presume the recently sold stereoviews were previously owned by a UK collector. But, a UK relative possibly received the images before or after Wakely's death (Wakely had no known natural descendants, only step-children from his US marriage to British actress, Matilda Brown). I am also interested in uncovering leads to any surviving photo notes or inventory Wakely might have left to archives in either the UK or US.


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12200996858?profile=originalThe March 2011 earthquake triggered a tsunami that ravaged coastal areas, destroying buildings and sweeping more than 19,000 people out to sea. One hard-hit community was Rikuzentakata, a city in IwatePrefecture: 80 percent of homes and more than 1,500 people were lost. The city’s museums, too, were not spared: The Rikuzentakata City Museum, which held an important collection on the history, folklore and natural history of the region, was completely destroyed. Much of its collection was swept away and its entire staff was killed.

The Rikuzentakata Disaster Document Digitalization (‘RD3’) Project was established to rescue what could be salvaged of the town’s historical photographic collections. Over a period of 31 months, 80 volunteers dried, cleaned and digitalised over 65,000 highly damaged photographs that had been soaked in sea water full of mud, sand and unknown pollutants.

Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. Keishi Mitsui, who led the project, will share lessons learned so others can plan for future disasters. Of particular interest is the project’s use of volunteers and a cloud-based system for data management and archiving, as well as the solutions found for salvaging extremely damaged photographic materials.

18 November 2014
Event time: 6:00 – 7:00pm

Drinks reception: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle), London NW1 4QP

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation


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Photographer unknown

12200995899?profile=originalI have two photographs image size each 2.5" X 3.5" printed on a heavy semi gloss paper but irregularly cut.

They are in the style I think of Cecil Beaton and C1930s?

I am reasonably sure I have seen the girl with the basket of fruit published, perhaps in BJP?

The photos were acquired with a collection of  Dr William Delano Walker who I have mentioned in a previous posting.

Can anybody help me identify the photographer? There is no information on the reverse of the prints.


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"Focus Magic" users?

I'm restoring and archiving something like 2500 very old, (mostly pre 1920's) photos, and would like to try to re-focus quite a number of them. Most were taken by family members and friends probably using Kodak cameras, and inevitably many show evidence of camera shake and focussing problems. I wonder if any members have user experience of a PS plug in called "Focus Magic"? I use Elements 11 for most of my work. Any advice for this software, or indeed any other, would be very useful.

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