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12200988285?profile=originalThe restoration of the United Kingdom’s first cinema - located in the heart of London’s West End at the University of Westminster in Regent Street – has been given the green light by Westminster City Council, as the campaign to raise funds for the landmark project moves into its next phase.

The Regent Street Cinema is celebrated as the ‘Birthplace of British Cinema’ as it was used by pioneering filmmakers, the Lumière brothers, to perform their first ever moving picture show in the UK on the 21 February, 1896.

The project will see the preservation of the key architectural features of the Cinema from its 1920s heyday, combining the restored fabric with up-to-date technology, bringing it into the 21st century. Once completed, the iconic venue will house a 200-seat auditorium which will be open to the public and become a landmark destination for British film and a lively hub for University of Westminster students and external visitors including the local community and school children who will come to learn about the heritage and evolution of film and cinema. The restored Cinema’s programming will be distinctive and highly informed, combining cutting edge and experimental work with a stimulating mix of the best of current UK, independent  British and World cinema, documentary films, retrospectives and classic repertory titles.

The design scheme for the restoration has been created by Tim Ronalds Architects, a practice that has experience of working with landmark theatre spaces, such as the Hackney Empire redevelopment and plans for Wilton’s Music Hall. Building work will commence in April 2014 and the opening of the Cinema is expected in April 2015.

A major campaign to raise money for the restoration project was publicly launched in March 2012 and the University is seeking additional supporters to be involved in this nationally important project.  To date, the University of Westminster has secured two thirds of the £6 million needed to complete the restoration and reopen the Cinema.  Generous major donors have so far included the Heritage Lottery Fund, Quintin Hogg Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and Odeon. As part of the wider campaign the University has also secured donations to name over a quarter of the seats in the new Cinema and is aiming to have all 200 named by its supporters well ahead of the Cinema opening.  The University previously received a £1 million donation from the MBI Al Jaber Foundation which was used to bring the Edwardian style Grand Entrance Hall at the Grade II listed campus back to life.

The Cinema project is being backed by some of the biggest names in the British film industry who sit on its advisory board.  Tim Bevan, Co-Chair of Working Title Films (Rush, Les Misérables, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy), Asif Kapadia, film director and alumnus of University of Westminster (Senna, The Warrior, Far North), Paul Trijbits, Producer (Saving Mr. Banks, Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe), and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (The Avengers, Anna Karenina, We Need to Talk About Kevin).

Professor Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Westminster, said: “The Cinema holds a unique place in the history of filmmaking and cinema, and it is wonderful to see that 175 years since the founding of our institution, a new and exciting phase in its history will begin.  When it re-opens, the Cinema will offer an outstanding venue in which to nurture future talent as well as provide a place where our students, alumni, industry professionals, and our community can come together and enjoy film and our shared Cinema heritage.”

Asif Kapadia, Film Director and University of Westminster alumnus says “I was proud to study Film, Video and Photographic Arts close to the location of the new Cinema at the Riding House St campus in the mid 90's, at the time we didn't have a dedicated cinema to screen our films. Over the years so many fantastic, iconic cinemas in the UK have closed down or been redeveloped, so this is a marvelous opportunity to restore a venue that played a vital role in the birth of cinema in the UK, and highlights the University’s history of innovation in education and learning. Bringing the Cinema back to life will benefit both current and future students and will provide a platform for independent cinema, short films, documentaries and emerging British talent in the heart of the West-End”

Sandi Toksvig OBE, a supporter of the Regent Street Cinema, says “This is the birthplace of Cinema, where it all started. How fantastic for young people to be able to showcase their work, here, alongside great professionals. This Cinema is a place where we can celebrate not just the past but the future. This is a significant building and it’s wonderful that so many who are passionate about Cinema, the history of film or who have a connection with the heritage and future of the University want to be a part of it.”

The University of Westminster is a leading global centre for excellence in the arts and film production.  The restoration of the Regent Street Cinema reinforces the University’s international reputation for academic and practical teaching which boasts a number of Oscar and BAFTA winners among its alumni. The Act of Killing, Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer - a Reader at the Media, Arts and Design faculty of the University of Westminster - and produced by the University of Westminster's Professor Joram ten Brink, won an award at this year’s BAFTA ceremony for best documentary. University alumnus Yousif Al-Khalifa was also recognised with a BAFTA for co-directing the best British Short Animation film ‘Sleeping with the Fishes’.

Film students from the University will also have the opportunity to showcase their work in the heart of London’s vibrant West-End, which is something that no other University can offer.  The University currently offers three courses which cover contemporary media practice and film and television production and a post-graduate MA in Film and Television. 

For more information on the project please visit:

The Birthplace of British Cinema - Lumière Brothers
The venue was chosen by the Lumière brothers because of the institution’s reputation as a leader in scientific experimentation and entertainment. The Grade II listed building is situated at 309 Regent Street and dates back to 1838.  It was later used by the Polytechnic for a variety of film and theatrical performances and in the lead up to the First World War it was used with Government backing to show “Our Army and Our Navy” films. 

More recently it has been used by the University of Westminster as a lecture theatre for students and an exhibition venue for public events.

Key University of Westminster alumni:

  • Michael Winterbottom (The Look of Love, Jude, 9 Songs, The Killer Inside Me)
  • Asif Kapadia (Senna, The Warrior, Far North)
  • Seamus McGarvey (Atonement, We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Avengers)
  • Lucia Zucchetti (The Rat Catcher, Merchant Of Venice, The Queen)
  • Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Red Riding)
  • Neal Purvis (Skyfall (Bond 2012), Johnny English Reborn, Let Him Have It)

- See more at:

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12200990861?profile=originalExplore amazing architecture and design via the RIBA’s world-class collections and an on-site photo shoot at exciting locations around London. Click this link for more information.

Point & Shoot Saturday photography workshops

Shoot on location in these Point & Shoot workshops inspired by The Brits Who Built the Modern World and the RIBA’s world-class collections. All Point & Shoot workshops are led by professional artists and include on-location photography sessions. Suitable for intermediate level photographers and above. Participants must bring their own equipment. Digital SLR camera recommended.


1 March, 1-5pm: Feats of engineering

Discover how architectural photographers celebrate British feats of engineering before exploring the iconic post-war architecture of Bishopsgate through the photographic lens.


5 April, 1-5pm: Gallons of glass

Learn how architectural photographers from the nineteenth century to today have captured this most modern of materials before exploring the architecture around More London through the photographic lens.


3 May, 1-5pm: Geometry & height

See how a generation of British architects drew the camera lens upward before exploring the geometric shapes and towers surrounding Tower 42 through the photographic lens.


7 June, 1-5pm: Asymmetrical aliens

Understand how architectural photographers have captured the asymmetrical shapes and the clash of the old and the new in British architectural design before exploring the architecture around One New Change through the photographic lens.

17th May 1 -5pm: Run, Jump, Shoot: the Brits   
Run, Jump, Shoot returns to its roots for Brits season for this unquie workshop exploring architecture through photography and the urban sport parkour. In this full-day workshop participants will shoot on location with professional parkour athletes.

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Publication: Alexander Keighley

12200991292?profile=originalAlex. Keighley A Pioneer of the Pictorial Movement in Photography is a new book by Ray Vintner (ISBN 978-0-9927402-0-7, 186-pages, Linkhall Publications, 2013). The book is available from The Grove Bookshop, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, (e: or telephone 01943 609335) at a cost of £14 plus postage. 

A PDF showing the contents page and foreword is here. There is no separate list of illustrations although the book is well illustrated in b/w and colour. 

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12200989487?profile=originalSotheby's is to return to holding photograph auctions in London from May 2014. It moved photograph sales from London, where they had first started in 1971, to Paris in 2011 after a short hiatus. The last London sale had been held in Spring 2010. At the time Sotheby's claimed the move reflected market trends and the change made New York and Paris Sotheby's main centres for photographs.

Christie's also established a department in Paris but maintained auctions in London as well as New York.  Sotheby's have held bi-annual sales in Paris in November and May in a department headed by Simone Klein, who joined the company in 2007 and oversaw the final sale of the celebrated Jammes collection in Paris the following year.

The newly formed London department will hold its first photographs auction in London on 7 May and will also hold a charity auction to support the acquisition of the Talbot for the Bodleian Library. 

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Bodleian appeal secures Talbot Archive

12200985879?profile=originalThe Bodleian Library, Oxford, last night held a reception to thank supporters and donors who have helped it secure the Personal Archive of William Henry Fox Talbot. The event was held on the 214th birthday of Henry Talbot who was born on 11 February 1800.  

The original public appeal also brought to light an collection of 42 photogenic drawings by Talbot which are now also in the library. Despite poor weather and flooding amongst the guests were Sir John and Lady Venables-Llewelyn, Hans P Kraus, Noel Chanan, along with individuals donors and library staff. Richard Ovenden, Interim Bodley's Librarian, and the driving force behind the acquisition was unable to attend through illness but was toasted at dinner.  

The library has a small amount to find before an August deadline and will be holding a fundraising auction in conjunction with Sotheby's at the beginning of May. It has plans to digitise much of the archive and it will be made available to researchers and the public. Already part of it has been used to create new photographic arts work. Watch this space for more information.  


Images: a small display of part the Talbot Archive at the Bodleian Library: © Michael Pritchard 


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12200988064?profile=originalArchives and Cultural Industries is a conference taking place from 11-15 October 2014 in Girona. One of the themes of the conference is: 1839-2014.175th Anniversary of Photography. Management, processing and dissemination of photographic and audiovisual heritage in the 21st century.

For more information visit the website: 


The deadline for paper proposals is 28 February.

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Alinari Collection at risk

12200987477?profile=originalThe Art Newspaper reports on a story that BPH carried last year. It notes that the world’s oldest photographic agency Fratelli Alinari, founded in Florence in 1852, is in danger of closing. On 22 November 2013, the Italian website, whose remit is to safeguard the country’s cultural heritage, launched an appeal to help save it.

The appeal, signed by photographers, artists and academics—among them Gianni Berengo Gardin, Giovanna Calvenzi, Ester Coen, Mario Cresci, Mimmo Jodice, Bruno Toscano, and Roberta Valtorta—expresses concern that “the crisis threatening the management of Fratelli Alinari could lead to the dispersal of part of the collection, and to its transfer to individuals and organisations [in Italy] and abroad”. 

These claims were largely denied by Claudio De Polo Saibanti, Alinari’s director.

Read the report here

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12200991082?profile=originalThe London based photography curatorial collective Hemera ( has ambitious plans for 2014 and as such we are recruiting for a new member to join the collective. We are a group of four photography historians with a specific interest in historical photography and archives. We curated two exhibitions last year, one on the Valentine's postcard factory, and another exhibition on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. Please get in touch with us at if interested.

thank you,


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12200989873?profile=originalThe first monograph on Cyanotype by Dr Mike Ware (cover shown right) was published by the Science Museum of London in 1999, but has long been out of print, and only accessible as a digitized part-version online at Google Books. The book was devoted to the study of photographic printing in Prussian blue, engaging with its history, aesthetics, practice, conservation and chemistry. Now, in response to requests, Mike Ware has substantially restructured the text in a revised and extended edition that he has made freely available as a download from the World Wide Web as a 5.3 MB pdf:

For the time being, it will remain largely unillustrated. With its 700+ references to the literature and the WWW, Mike hopes that it may serve as a useful resource for historians, curators and conservators of photographs, and for students of iron-based analogue imaging (siderotype). For others - photographic artists exploring cyanotype printmaking as an expressive medium - it includes full practical instruction in the modern process.

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12200986679?profile=originalIn the 19th century the East represented the realm of exoticism, fantasy and mystery. Literature and painting in particular used the lands beyond Europe as canvases for fertile explorations of the unknown and unlimited boundaries for imagination. By the latter half of the century, however, several pioneer photographers travelled to the Middle East and North Africa, bringing back to Europe and North America images that captured the idea of the exotic.

Whether in search of Nile temples, the Holy Land or Berber costumes; whether amateurs or pilgrims; whether part of scientific missions or commercial ventures, these photographers all sailed to harbours such as Algiers and journeyed through central cities like Cairo or Damascus. At a time when western political and military involvement in the near east was at a high, the photographs taken helped to convey an idea of chaos and disorder; of insalubrity and a lack of self-governance in the region.

This exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s Octagonal Gallery runs from 30th January 30 to 25 May 25, and further details can be found here.  



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12200989064?profile=originalBBC TV's The One Show last night, 3 February 2014, had a five minute slot discussing the war photography and work of Roger Fenton.

It was introduced and presented by photographer Giles Duley who was injured in Afghanistan in 2011 after he stepped on an IED losing three limbs. Taking part was Professor Roger Taylor and the curator of Stonyhurst College which holds more than 100 original Fenton albumen prints.

At the end of the sequence, in the studio, modern wet-collodion photographer Tony Richards helped a presenter make a collodion plate.

The segment begins at 23m 01s,and Roger comes in at 24m 47s. It ends at 29m 17s. Giles Duley is presenting a public lecture talking about his career and work in Bath on 13 February. Tickets are available here

The One Show programme is available on the BBC iPlayer for the next seven days here:

Images: top: Roger Taylor and Giles Duley; below: Roger Taylor. Courtesy: BBC. 

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12200988474?profile=originalWidely acknowledged as one of the most talented photographers of the nineteenth century, Charles Marville (French, 1813–1879) was commissioned by the city of Paris to document both the picturesque, medieval streets of old Paris and the broad boulevards and grand public structures that Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann built in their place for Emperor Napoleon III. This exhibition presents a selection of around one hundred of his photographs.

Marville achieved moderate success as an illustrator of books and magazines early in his career. It was not until 1850 that he shifted course and took up photography—a medium that had been introduced just eleven years earlier. His poetic urban views, detailed architectural studies, and picturesque landscapes quickly garnered praise. Although he made photographs throughout France, Germany, and Italy, it was his native city—especially its monuments, churches, bridges, and gardens—that provided the artist with his greatest and most enduring source of inspiration.

Concurrent with Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris, a related installation in the adjacent Howard Gilman Gallery will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum. Paris as Muse: Photography, 1840s–1930s (January 29–May 4, 2014) celebrates the first one hundred years of photography in Paris and features some forty photographs, all drawn from the Museum's collection. The installation focuses primarily on architectural views, street scenes, and interiors. It explores the physical shape and texture of Paris and how artists have found poetic ways to record through the camera its essential qualities.

Details of both these exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until 4th May 2014, can be found here.

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12200986252?profile=originalOn the One Show this evening there will be a segment regarding the work of Roger Fenton and his portraiture of Queen Victoria. There will be contributions from renowned photographic historian Roger Taylor, and a demonstration of the wet-plate collodion process by Tony Richards, who recently contributed to the BBC drama series 'The Paradise'. 

The One Show begins at 7pm and will be available on the i-player shortly afterwards. 

For those interested, Tony has written an interesting blog regarding his experiences working on 'The Paradise' which can be read here

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