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12200986652?profile=originalA portrait of the infamous Ellen Byrne, who was tried for her husband’s murder in 1842 after his badly decomposed body was found in their shared bed; photographs of 1916 leader Tom Clarke, his wife Kathleen and family; and posters documenting the suffragette movement are just some of the 10,500 newly digitised items released by the National Library of Ireland (NLI)

This new release of digital images means that a total of 63,000 items that tell the story of Ireland are now freely available worldwide through the National Library catalogue.

Speaking today, Sara Smyth, NLI Digitisation Programme Manager, highlighted the importance of having an effective national programme of digitisation and preservation to ensure public access to culturally important collections.

“Libraries have always collected, managed and provided access to all forms of information,” she said.  “While this core remit has not changed, dramatic advances in information technology means the NLI is driving forward a programme of metadata creation, digitisation, digital preservation and online access to our cultural heritage. Since 2010, we have overhauled our digitisation workflows and put in place key technical infrastructures. We achieved this with limited full time technical resources and a very restricted budget by collaborating on international open source projects.

“Through this collaboration we enhanced our catalogue, giving researchers seamless access to high-quality digital content from any device, anywhere, and enabling them to zoom into the smallest detail of these remarkable items. The ability to regularly deliver large quantities of new digital content to our audiences is the culmination of years of seven hard work by the NLI’s team, with much more to come in the years ahead.”

Highlights of the items released into the NLI’s digital collection today include:

Face to Face with Ireland:  The “Elmes” portrait collection of engraved Irish portraits and original drawings is named after the librarian, Rosalind Elmes, who first catalogued most of the collection. This central visual resource at the NLI consists of nearly 3,000 images of 1,100 famous – and infamous – figures from Irish history, up to the end of the 19th century. Portraits include society hostesses; actresses; faith healers; politicians; writers; scientists; and patriots such as Robert Emmet and Theobald Wolfe Tone. Some subjects are recorded in only a single portrait but others are recorded several times; for instance, there are more than 30 engravings of Jonathan Swift and many portraits of Daniel O’Connell.

A Revolutionary Family: The Thomas and Kathleen Clarke collection of letters and photographs includes personal letters of Tom Clarke, signatory of the 1916 proclamation and his wife Kathleen Clarke (née Daly), as well as further correspondence with family, friends and political associates in Ireland and among the Irish community in America. Among the correspondents are Eamon De Valera, John Devoy, Margaret Pearse, Padraic Pearse, John Redmond and Austin Stack. The Clarke family photographs are also available, including portraits of the family before and after 1916, and images of Tom Clarke’s famous tobacconists shop on Amiens Street which was a hub for much revolutionary activity.

Throw-away Treasure: One of the most fascinating and valuable collections consists of things that were not intended to last very long. Ephemera such as tickets, cigarette cards, posters, match programmes are throw-away, cheaply printed, and often mass-produced items yet preserved in places like the National Library, they can bring history and society to life for us. Much of the story of this “Decade of Commemorations” comes to life through these collections, such as these items from 1914:

poster from August 1914 highlighting the struggle for votes for women.

poster promoting Mr Hebert G Ponting’s ‘moving picture lecture’ about Captain Scott in the Antarctic. (

card showing the “National Volunteers” – the grouping who volunteered to fight in WWI, after the split in the Irish Volunteer movement.

Speaking at the launch of the new additions to NLI’s digital resources today, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said, “The National Library of Ireland holds collections that are of great national significance. The newly digitised collections chart the story of Ireland and are a wonderful piece of our cultural and literary heritage which will now be preserved for and made accessible to the people of Ireland for generations.  Furthermore, it showcases once again Ireland’s growing reputation as a centre for the innovative use of digital technology.”

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12200989899?profile=originalDe Montfort University has published two new online resources: Members of the Royal Photographic Society 1853-1901 which provides the most comprehensive source of information on some 3000 Photographic Society and RPS members to 1901; and Roger Fenton’s Crimean letterbooks which publishes faithful reproductions and transcripts of letters sent originally by Roger Fenton and subsequently copied out by family and friends during his "Photographic Trip to the Crimea" in 1855.

There is additional work taking place on the RPS members to extend the date range and to add further biographical information on those listed. 

The resources are fully searchable and compliment De Montfort University's existing online databases: 

PEIB logo Photographs Exhibited in Britan 1839–1865

A research database containing individual records for over 20,000 photographic exhibits drawn from forty exhibition catalogues published between 1839 – 1865. Most of the images created by Fenton in the Crimea are listed.

Fox talbot logo The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot

The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot is a comprehensive database of all the known letters to and from Talbot (1800-1877), the Wiltshire polymath best known for his invention of photography. It contains over 10,000 letters.

Roger Fenton logo Roger Fenton’s Crimean letterbooks

Roger Fenton's letters from the Crimea is a collection of all 25 of the known letters written by Roger Fenton during his pioneering wartime photographic expedition to the Crimea.

ERPS logo Exhibitions of Royal Photographic Society

Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society 1870–1915. Catalogue records from the annual exhibitions.

Amelina Logo The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier

The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier was written in French, with a few entries in English or Italian. It has been preserved at Lacock Abbey since she wrote the last volume in 1835 and is now being transcribed and translated for the Fox Talbot Museum with the permission of the owners of the journal, Janet Burnett–Brown and Petronella Burnett–Brown of Lacock Abbey.

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12200985867?profile=originalIt has often been said that an architectural education gives a particular and effective ‘eye’, and sometimes that architects are the best photographers of architecture. Eric de Maré was at the AA from 1928 to 1933, and like many AA graduates developed a career outside architectural practice. While he wrote prolifically- there are some 20 books for which he is credited as author- it is as a photographer that he developed a towering reputation in the 1950s. His photographs for the Architectural Review introduced a new way of seeing buildings and the urban landscape: his archive, held by the AA Photo Library, is one of its principal collections. This talk will consider his contributions to the art of architectural photography and to the contemporary culture of architecture.

Andrew Higgott

Eric de Maré: Photography framing architecture

Date: 13/5/2014 
Time: 18:30:00, Admission Free
Venue: Soft Room, Architectural Association

More here: 

Andrew Higgott taught architectural history and theory at the AA from 1989 to 2002, and at the University of East London and elsewhere; earlier he was the AA’s photograph librarian. His publications include Mediating Modernism: architectural cultures in Britain (2007) and Camera Constructs: photography architecture and the modern city (2012). 

Image: Eric de Mare: Stanley Mill, Stroud from Functional Tradition (1958)

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Photoforums at QUAD

12200991679?profile=originalExhibiting your work in a gallery or public context presents its own challenges as it is such a different format of disseminating work, as opposed to the book or presenting a portfolio. As a curator of photography shows Camilla Brown has extensive experience of working with photographers and designing exhibitions and was senior curator at The Photographers Gallery, London. Using examples of exhibitions she has curated, Camilla will discuss the issues faced when displaying work. This should provide an informal context for the group to spend some time thinking about exhibitions.  It would be great to talk about photography exhibitions that have made an impact on you and why, alongside people discussing their ideas about presenting their own work.

Camilla trained as an art historian completing her MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is a curator, writer and lecturer on contemporary art, specialising in photography. For ten years she worked at The Photographers’ Gallery, London and before that was Exhibitions Curator at Tate Liverpool. She now has an academic post at Middlesex University. She regularly writes for artists monographs and contributes to history of photography books, alongside her work as an art critic for Examples of her work appear on her website at <> .

If you have any images you would like to share that evening in our 5 X 5 slot, email


Camilla Brown

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The Box, QUAD, Cathedral Quarter, Derby DE1 3AS Tel. 01332 290606

6.30 – 8.30       £ 3

Founded in 2012 by Valentina Abenavoli and Alex Bocchetto, Akina Books is an independent publishing house of hand-made photobooks based in London. Our guests will share some of their past and present projects, including the recent collaborative publication between FORMAT and Slideluck London Hungry Still, and discuss their working practices and processes in publishing. They will also discuss Akina Factory, a photobook production oriented laboratory; a space to conceive projects, manufacture books, share know-how and ideas. It can be incredibly difficult to figure out how to create and self-publish a photobook from scratch. It is time consuming and skill intensive: Akina’s Factory can help you through this creative and technical process. Following on from this, regular host Paul Hill will lead a Q+A session with Valentina and Alex.


Tuesday 27th May


Details about Photoforums and booking a place can be found on  


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Workshop: Marking the Land

12200991298?profile=originalExplore the mysteries of nature and look beyond the physical nature of things during a weekend workshop with award winning photographer Paul Hill MBE, assisted by Maria Falconer FRPS.

Marking the Land alludes to Paul Hill’s photography of the Peak District, capturing the relationship between marks made on the land by man and nature and by the process of photography. 


Book your place to join Paul and Maria for a weekend exploring these ideas in the countryside and the city with two field work sessions, where you will have the opportunity to enhance your photographic techniques with hands-on tuition, and group feedback at Site on the photographs you have taken. This workshop is aimed at photographers of mixed ability and offers appropriate support and guidance to suit varied levels of experience.

£180.00 per person, limited spaces available. 
Although the price includes light refreshments and group transport, participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch.

Author of the highly influential book, White Peak Dark Peak, Paul ( has been teaching photography in higher education for many decades, and was the first professor of photographic practice in a British university. He created the famous Photographers’ Place group workshops in Derbyshire, and has specialised in running photography workshops throughout the world.
A Derbyshire-based photographer, Maria ( is also a very experienced teacher, whose work Keep Her Unnoticed, received much critical acclaim and resulted in her being awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

To book, contact:

For more details email Jane Faram ( or

Site Gallery, 1,Brown Street, Sheffield S1 2BS Tel. 0114 2812077


Site Gallery, Sheffield

May 24th & 25th, 2014

A two-day photography workshop with Paul Hill and Maria Falconer

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12200985076?profile=original46 photographs, which form part of the 19th century China Magazine, depicting life in the Far East during the 1860s, have sold for more than six times their estimated value when they recently went under the hammer at Dominic WInters.

Dropped off by a couple from Cumbria who happened to be in the area, the auction house originally priced the photos at £2,000 but a huge amount of interest among bidders saw the photos snapped up for £12,000 from an anonymous buyer in London on Thursday, April 10. The photos, which are among the earliest ones to have been pasted into a publication, were taken from the China Magazine which ran for two years between 1868 and 1870.

Further details can be found here.

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Niépce plates rehoused

12200993061?profile=originalThe National Media Museum, with the financial support of The Royal Photographic Society, has rehoused the three Niépce plates from the RPS Collection in a purpose-built case. The case and plates were shown publicly for the first time since 2010 yesterday to a group from the Society. More information on the case how the plates can be viewed will be made available by the Museum shortly.

The three plates - the earliest and rarest photographic artefacts in the United Kingdom and of international importance - were the subject of a collaborative project between the Museum and the Getty Conservation Institute. This culminated in a conference in 2010 at which new discoveries about the plates and how they were made were unveiled.

The conference proceedings are still available from the RPS:

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12200992879?profile=originalThe BFI Reuben Library holds a wealth of books, journals, and catalogues relating to early cinema. Two BFI staff in the field – Bryony Dixon (Curator of Silent Film) and Dr Ulrich Ruedel (Conservation Technology Manager) – bring things up to date, and offer a unique insight into the restoration of early colour film in an era of digital imaging. They will also introduce the science of film preservation, and look at the opportunities of programming the restored films.

Tickets £6.50, BFI Southbank, London, May 12, 2014 6:30pm

Click here to book

With thanks to Danny Garside for flagging up this event. 

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12200992866?profile=originalThe University of St Andrews Library Special Collections Division is seeking a Photographic Golf Collection Project Cataloguer in support of the digitising, cataloguing and online exhibition of the Lawrence Levy Golf Photography Collection over the period of 2 years.
Within a dynamic department during a time of exciting change, the post-holder will work under the direction of the Photographic Archivist. They will be responsible for the systematic cataloguing and interpretation of over 200,000 images on the subject of golf. In direct support of the promotional ambitions of the University, the post holder will curate an online photographic exhibition which represents the collection’s unique documentation of golf’s history from 1978 to 1994. As part of an externally funded project, the post-holder will directly contribute to the creation of access and awareness to an unsurpassed collection of great scale and cultural significance whose character is tied to St Andrews’ place in the world as the home of golf. See more on the Levy collection here:

The successful applicant will have a strong familiarity with the sport of golf, its luminaries, courses and its history, particularly in the late 1970s to mid-1990s.

For further details about the project and post please contact Marc Boulay, the Photographic Archivist for the Special Collections Division via email or by telephone at 44 (0)1334 462326. Click here for the full job spec and application details. 
University Library, Special Collections, Salary: £20,972 - £24,289 per annum, Start Date: As soon as possible, Fixed Term: 2 years

Please quote ref:  MR1327

Closing Date:  23 May 2014
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12200992484?profile=originalThe National Media Museum is part of the Science Museum Group (SMG) which is devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. Incorporating the Science Museum, the National Railway Museum, the National Media Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, we are a unique family of museums offering truly unique career opportunities.

Working alongside the Senior Visitor Insight Executive, the key tasks of the Visitor Insight Assistant include, co-ordinating the fieldwork for the monthly exit surveys at each museum (including liaising with the appropriate research agencies, keeping the relevant museum informed, updating questionnaire and showcards), interrogating databases and writing short summary reports.

A clear head for numbers and an appreciation of quantitative research principles are vital. The ability to read and interpret statistical tables is also important. Familiarity with research database tools such as Snap or SPSS is an advantage.

The deadline for all applications is 13 May.

Shortlisted candidates will be notified 16 May and interviews will be held on 22 and 23 May. The interview will include a short test and the position is to start as soon 


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12200991275?profile=originalThe Rijksmuseum Amsterdam has announced a funding call for two research grants in photographic history, based in the Print Room of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Funding for this project has been provided by the Manfred and Hanna Heiting Fund: there are two grants per annum, each for six months

Aim: to research subject(s) – photographs (19th, as well as 20th century photography), series, photo books, albums- in the National Photo-collection at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Requirements for applicants: Talented post-graduates in Art History or the History of Photography.

Outcome: a paper or an article, to be submitted, resulting in a publication in the series Rijksmuseum Studies in Photography.

Starting: We want to start summer 2013  in the premises of the Print Room/Library/ of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Applicants can work in the Study Room of the Print Room of the Rijksmuseum.


Closing date: 15 May


The advancement of photo-historical research by prospective curators from the Netherlands or abroad using the original photographs in the National Photo Collection in the Rijksmuseum.

 The Manfred & Hanna Heiting Fund enables the Rijksmuseum to award two scholarships every year. The aim of this postgraduate scholarship is to stimulate photo-historical research of the highest quality. The research must result in an article in the field of classical photography. It should be related to the original objects in the extensive and important collection of the Rijksmuseum, and where possible to objects in other collections. This could be an in-depth study of one photograph or photo book and/or its distribution; on a series of photographs or part of an oeuvre; on the aesthetic or technical aspects of photography; on the wider context of a photo book or album; or on combinations of art-historical research and research on materials and techniques . The international research bursary is for a period of 6 months. The researcher will work independently and will be allocated a place in the reading room of the Rijksprentenkabinet (Print Room) and have access to all the museum’s collections and library.

If you want to know more about the Manfred and Hanna Heiting Fund and its aims, please contact:

Drs. Mattie Boom or Dr. Hans Rooseboom, Curators of Photography, Print Room Rijksmuseum Amsterdam  

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12200994472?profile=originalThe Association of Leading Visitor Attractions has reported that the National Media Museum saw 479,000 visitors in 2013, a decline of 5 per cent compared to 2012. London's Science Museum saw an increase of 11 per cent, the National Railway Museum an increase of 30 per cent and Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry a decline of 3.6%. All are part of the Science Museum Group.  


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12200993298?profile=originalJohn Ruskin: Photographer and Draughtsman is the first museum exhibition to explore how the new medium of photography played a pivotal role in the evolution of this leading Victorian’s influential thinking. Bringing together daguerreotypes (unique copper photographic plates) –rarely on public display – with related drawings and watercolours, the exhibition shows how Ruskin used photography to build his understanding of landscape and architecture from which developed an entire philosophy of life that resonated throughout Victorian Britain and beyond.

John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) is generally considered to be one of the greatest of Victorian cultural figures, the most influential writer on art in the English language 12200993877?profile=originaland an admired draughtsman and watercolourist. It was as a high-minded tourist that Ruskin became a passionate advocate of photography – “a noble invention” as he called it. First commissioning professionals to make images for him, and then later learning to create them himself, Ruskin assembled a substantial archive of daguerrotypes in the 1840s and 1850s.

The exhibition at Watts Gallery shows the photographs alongside the beautiful watercolours which were based upon them, together with some of the book illustrations which formed a further link in the chains of imagery which Ruskin developed using his daguerreotypes as a basis. Visitors are able to see the process whereby Ruskin’s philosophy of ‘truth to nature’ was both rooted in the traditions of Fine Art but also took full advantage of the latest visual technologies.

This exhibition showcases many of the important works held in the Ruskin Library collection at Lancaster University.

4 February – 1 June 2014
Watts Gallery

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12200990488?profile=originalPHRC and University of Manchester are co-hosting a one-day workshop on Photography and Latin American Archaeology, to be held on June 10th 2014 at the Royal Anthropological Institute, London. Supported by the Society for Latin American Studies, speakers include Jennifer Baird, Luciana Martins, Louise Purbrick, James Scorer, Maria Chiara D’Argenio, Bea Caballero and PHRC’s Duncan Shields. Topics range from the photography and discovery of ruins, aesthetics of the material past and modern ‘ruins’.

See more and book here:

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12200990460?profile=originalSotheby's London is to offer a stuning album of photographs by John Beasley Greene. Estimated at £100,000-150,000 the album contains views of Egypt and Algeria dating from 1852-1856.

John Beasley Greene's work has been called ‘proto-modernist’ and looking back it is evident today that his views of Egypt and Algeria are some of the most radical in early photography. A student of Gustave Le Gray and the son of a Boston banker Greene was one of the rare American artists to have adopted the paper negative process with great mastery. His oeuvre includes views of Paris and the Fontainebleau forest – two forest scenes are included in this album – but the majority of his output depicts the land and documents the monuments and their inscriptions in Egypt, Algeria and Nubia realised during his expeditions as an archaeologist in 1853, 1854-1855 and 1855-1856. 

12200990683?profile=originalThe auction also includes Camille Silvy's Studies on Light: Fog, London, 1859 (shown here) (estimate £20,000-30,000); Bisson, Negre, Fenton, Clifford, Le Seqc, Le Gray, and Atget as well as C20th and C21st century photographers. 

Sotheby’s will open the sale with a section of works donated by leading contemporary photographers such as Hiroshi Sugimoto, Susan Derges and Guido Mocafico in support of the Bodleian Library’s campaign to acquire the Personal Archive of William Henry Fox Talbot.

The catalogue is available online by clicking here.


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12200988493?profile=originalThis new and important publication from Héritage Architectural, Paris, presents a catalogue of French overseas photographers together with foreigners who worked within the French Empire of were members of the Association Française de photographie between 1839-and 1920.

The photographers are classified by continent, subcontinent, country and town and cover 69 countries. The book by François Boisjoly and Jean-Christophe Badot is 312 pages, has 760 illustrations and 1097 entries. ISBN 2-915096-15-5  EAN 9 782 915 096 156.

It costs €80 plus shipping (UK - €17.85 for one copy). Payment by bank transfer to: BNP Paribas, 48 rue des Archives, 75004 Paris, France. IBAN: FR76 3000 4007 7300 0100 2761 849 / BIC BNPAFRPPPBY. See the PDF attachment here or more shipping options. 

For more information contact: Jean-Christophe Badot e: / t: 0032 476 99 65 40. 

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12200992457?profile=originalAugust Sander died in 1964 and at this event on Saturday, 17 May 2014, fifty years on, speakers will discuss his life and his work from various perspectives.This two-day event celebrating the work of two fascinating practitioners is jointly organised by the East Midlands Region and the Historical Group of The Royal Photographic Society. It includes Sander's grandson, photographer Gerd Sander, who will speak and open the event. Other speakers include Hugo Worthy, New Walk Museum, Leicester; Professor Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University Leicester, and Dr Katja Hock, Nottingham Trent University.

On Sunday 18 May 2014, Anthony Penrose will offer some reflections on his life as the son of Lee Miller. He will also make a presentation on aspects of the life and work of Man Ray.

This is a special event with outstanding internationally known speakers.

Cost: for the two days which includes refreshments and lunch - £75 / £60 (RPS members); £45 single day (including light refreshments and buffet lunch)

See more:

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Auction: Photography - 29 April 2014

12200989457?profile=originalSotheby's auction of Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History in London on 29 April 2014 includes a number of lots of photographs. These include: sixty early photographs of Morocco (£45,000-50,000) and a newly-discovered very large 13-part panorama of Shanghai by Henry Cammidge, together with 25 photographs by Cammidge (£50,000-70,000).




149. Egypt. An Album of 127 photographs by various photographers [1880s-1890s]

150. Sinclair, J.A. Gallipoli campaign, 62 platininum prints [c.1915]
153. Holy Land. Forty Stereo photographs, 1880s-1890s

155. Holy Land. 198 stereo photographs, early 1900s

160. Robertson, James. Crimea, Constantinople and Athens. [1853-56], 47 salted paper and lightly albumenised prints

161. Saudi Arabia Railroad, [1951-53], 57 silver prints


176. Houseworth, T. and others. 100 stereoviews, [c.1865-1880]


179. Annan, Thomas (after). Portrait of David Livingstone, oil on board, possibly painted over a photograph

180. Morocco—Cavilla, A., George Washington Wilson, Leon and Levy, and others. A good collection of 60 early photographs of Morocco.


181. Boxer Rebellion. Forbes-Sempill manuscript journal including 2 photographs

182. Jehol. 62 glass lantern slides

183. China, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Album of carte-de-visites

184. Beijing. 97 photographs (late 19th early 20th century)

186. China and Hong Kong. 100 lantern slides, c.1920s

187. China and Hong Kong. Album of 46 photographs

188. Floyd. 3 photographs of Canton

190. Floyd. Panorama of Hong Kong

191. Floyd. China, Hong Kong and Macao, 4 albumen prints

192. Beijing. Album of 80 silver prints, early 1900s

193. Floyd. Panorama of Macao, c.1868

194. Shanghai and Canton, album of 47 silver prints, c.1903

195. Tientsin (Tianjin). 36 photographs, c.1889-1901

196. Shanghai. Henry C. Cammidge. A 13-part panorama of Shanghai, c.1873 and 25 albumen prints

197. Citters, A.J. van. 61 photographs of Beijing, c.1903-08

198. Afong. 22 albumen prints of the Hong Kong typhoon, September 1874

211. Thomson, John. Illustrations of China and its People, 1873-74, 4 volumes, a fine copy.


212. A collection of 64 stereo photographs, c.1880s-early 1900s


217. Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1955-58. Three albums containing 204 photographs

218. Ponting, H. Terra Nova in McMurdo Sound, 7 January 1911, large green toned carbon print, framed and glazed

219. Ponting, H. Terra Nova at the ice foot, Cape Evans, 16 January 1911, large green toned carbon print, framed and glazed

The link to the e-catalogue is here:

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12200988263?profile=originalCan you help us identify where these photos are from? These are round pictures - scanned from the negatives. Eastman Kodak Company produced these in the late 1880's and they weren't long lived so we're assuming the photos are from that period. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated as we attempt to identify location and eventually photographer (which of our collections this came from).

Comment at flickr, at BPH, or shoot me an email . No comment is too obvious - any help you can give is great!

See the images here:

There are 45 photos all together. Here are some specific photos with identifiable features:

A castle or fort (shown here):

City on coast:

Rock outcrop on beach:



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12200986275?profile=originalPlatinum and palladium prints are among the most highly valued photographs in today's art and history collections. The wide tonal range and variety of surfaces provided photographers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century a broad palette with which to depict their most important subjects.

The collections of the Smithsonian Institution, for example, include platinum prints for photographers’ finest portrayals of the lives of Native Americans. The study of exceptional platinum photographs by photographers such as Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, and Clarence H. White, reveals cross-cutting themes, such as the role of women in society, religion, spiritualism, and fashion at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Irving Penn was responsible for the resurgence of the practice of platinum-related photography in the mid-twentieth century. More recently contemporary photographers have been eager to explore this alternative historic process. 

Conventional wisdom regarding platinum and palladium prints held that they are charcoal in hue with a matte surface, and that they are quite stable and do not fade. In recent years, however, inconsistencies have been observed. The image hue can range from sepia to blue-black, and paper supports have sometimes been found to darken, yellow, and become brittle. In some cases actual images have faded. These issues, along with other observations of the physical attributes of platinum and palladium prints, have established a new paradigm regarding the chemical and the aesthetic characteristics and permanence of these photographs. These recent insights presented the opportunity for the National Gallery of Art to initiate a multi-year collaboration to study these materials and reassess approaches for their conservation treatment, long-term preservation, and safe display. This interdisciplinary research will culminate in a four-day program of lectures, workshops, and tours in Washington, DC, to be held in October 2014.

The programs will provide an opportunity for members of the conservation, scientific, curatorial, and educational fields to glean knowledge from the NGA-led team of research collaborators. Sharing the results of the multi-year endeavor will advance the collective understanding of platinum and palladium photographs and our ability to preserve them for future generations. The speakers’ breadth and depth of knowledge and their commitment to disseminating new information will provide an essential foundation for those responsible for the interpretation and preservation of some of the most rare and important photographs in the collections of museums, libraries, and archives.

The Programme

The Platinum and Palladium Photographs program consists of three related activities, taking place over four days (October 21-24, 2014):

  • A two-day symposium of lectures will be held at the National Museum of the American Indian’s 300-seat Mary Louise and Elmer Rasmuson Theater. Distinguished subject experts will present the results of the collaborative research, focusing on the technical, chemical, and aesthetic history and practice of platinum photography. The preliminary program is included below.
  • A one-day, hands-on workshop hosted by the National Gallery of Art will explore the chemistry of platinum and palladium photographs and consider how variations in processing affect the appearance and permanence of the prints. The workshop will be held twice and will be led by Christopher Maines, Conservation Scientist, Scientific Research Department, NGA, and Mike Ware, Photographic Materials Chemistry Consultant to the NGA.
  • Tours of collections held by the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, and the National Museum of American History will be conducted by leading photograph historians, conservators, and scientists and allow up to 60 participants to see rare examples of historic and contemporary platinum and palladium photographs.

These events are being presented by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) and are funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Registration and the full programme is here:

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