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12201045282?profile=originalThe London Stereoscopic Company has announced a series of UK lecture dates where Denis Pellerin, Dr Brian May and others will be giving talks on different aspects of stereoscopy. The tour commences in Manchester in September and will conclude in London in November. Further dates may be added .

Thurs 22 September, 6-8 pm

Manchester University

Jim Naughten and Denis Pellerin

Title: Animal kingdom: Stereocopic images of natural history


Sat 24 September, 2-3 pm

Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Worksop

Denis Pellerin

Title: Gardens for the Duchess


Mon 26 September, 10-12 am

Watts Gallery, Compton, near Guildford

Denis Pellerin

Title: Entertaining and educational: the Victorian stereoscope


Sat 1 October, 2.30-5 pm

Stereoscopic Society Meetings Held at St Barbara's Church Hall, 24 Rochester Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, CV5 6AG

Denis Pellerin

Title: Crinoline, Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster


Sun 16 October

Meeting of The Photographic Collectors’ Club of Great Britain, Helicopter Museum, Weston-Super-Mare

Denis Pellerin

Title: Stereoscopy: A visual revolution of the Victorian era


Wed 19 October, 7.30-9.00 pm

King’s College, Safra Lecture Theatre

Brian May and Denis Pellerin

Title: Sir Charles Wheatstone and the craze for the stereoscope


Thur 20 October, time tbc

Apps World, London Excel Centre

Brian May

Q&A about Virtual Reality


27 to 29 October

Stereo & Immersive Media, Photography and Sound Research 2016, Lisbon, Portugal

Denis Pellerin

Two talks, one about the former 3-D conference (2015) and the other one (20 min) about the quest for 3-D and motion combined


8 Novemberc

British Library

Denis Pellerin (and Brian May if available)

Title: Victorian Entertainments and Crinolines

Talk followed by a book signing of Brian May and Denis Pellerin’s book Crinoline, Fashion’s Most Fashionable Disaster. .

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Michael Schaaf

12201039888?profile=originalBPH is saddened to report that Michael Schaaf, the photographer and teacher of collodion and other historic process, was found in his camper van in Lacock on 16 July. He had not been in contact with his family for several days and was discovered by a National Trust employee. Schaaf had conducted a five day intensive workshop at Lacock from 6-10 July.

Schaaf, 52, conducted regular process workshops at Lacock and elsewhere for the Fox Talbot Museum, the Royal Photographic Society and others. He was held in high regard for his own photography and for the quality of his teaching. He was a member and contributor to BPH. 

BPH offers its condolences to his wife and family. An inquest is to be held at a later date.

Michael's website remains active at:


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12201035855?profile=originalThe first-ever comprehensive exhibition to celebrate exclusively the life and work of pioneering British photographer Olive Edis (1876-1955) opens at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday October 8, 2016 and closes Sunday January 22, 2017.

Although relatively unknown, Olive Edis was one of the most important photographers of the first half of the twentieth century and the first-ever accredited female war photographer. The breadth of her subjects from British royalty and aristocracy to the craggy faces of the fisherman of north Norfolk, together with her highly atmospheric photographs of the battlefields of France and Flanders taken during her time as an official World War One war photographer, raise her to international status.

The exhibition Fishermen & Kings: The Photography of Olive Edis is part of the on-going Olive Edis project (see notes to editors), which aims to share with the world and boost awareness of Edis’ inspirational life and work. Curated specially for Norwich Castle, the show will not be travelling, although a smaller exhibition featuring different images will form part of the permanent display at the Cromer Museum in the future.

Curator Alistair Murphy, said: “Olive Edis was a remarkable woman. She was well-educated, forward thinking, a visionary, an astute business entrepreneur and most importantly a talented photographer with a natural affinity for her subjects – however grand or humble each was afforded respect and dignity. Like the many influential and inspirational women that she photographed, Edis was herself a “new woman”. Edis’ photographic legacy is a ‘national treasure’ and we are delighted to present, for the first time, this highly impressive display of her work, to be appreciated by a larger audience.

The exhibition features more than 190 rare photographs taken by Edis between the years of 1900 and 1955.  The work is presented thematically starting with an introduction to Olive Edis and then focusing on her unique photographic technique and technical expertise. Another section examines her skill in portraiture, which offers a rare glimpse into both high society of the day and the more simple life of East Anglian fisherman. Influential women in the early twentieth century, is another key element. As an entrepreneur and ground-breaker Edis herself was a “new woman”. Not only did she exemplify the emancipation of women and their changing role in society in her own life, she also recorded it. In addition Edis’ remarkable war work provides another important theme.

One of the earliest examples of her work is a portrait of her cousin Caroline ‘Carrie’, taken in 1900. Poignantly, it was apparently Carrie who gave Edis her first camera. The original photograph was donated by Edis to the National Portrait Gallery collection in 1948 and has a hand-written inscription on the back - "My very first attempt at a portrait which turned my fate in 1900”.

Another early photograph shows Edis’s twin sisters, Emmeline and Katherine. It was Katherine who initially shared her older sister’s passion for photography and the two of them set up a photographic studio in Sheringham in 1905, although Katherine’s photographic career ended when she married a few years later.

As to why Sheringham was the choice of location is unknown. It has been suggested that Edis and her sisters spent holidays in North Norfolk as children. Edis’ great uncle John had also retired to Sheringham, which may also explain the choice. The first studio on Church Street in Sheringham, was designed by their uncle, the architect Col. Sir Robert Edis, with a glass roof to allow plenty of natural light. Olive later moved to the “New Studio” on South Street.

Edis’ reputation as a photographer grew rapidly and within a few years she already had an impressive list of sitters and commissions. An early self-portrait taken in around 1912 shows Edis as an elegant, rather demure, thoughtful young Edwardian lady gazing directly into the camera lens. She became a member of the Royal Photographic Society in 1913 and the following year was elected a fellow. With studios in Sheringham, Norfolk and later Farnham in Surrey and Ladbroke Grove London, she was something of a photographic entrepreneur quick to recognise the importance and potential of this new technology.

Over the course of her 50-year career, Edis photographed a huge cross section of society. Her signature style, which used natural light and shadow, resulted in striking portraits. Notable are her sensitive, natural photographs of Edward VIII as Prince of Wales and a young Prince Albert (later George VI). It is not known where the photographs would have been taken, possibly in Edis’ London studio. Edis also photographed several other members of the Royal Family including HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, as the young 15-year old Prince Philip of Greece, in addition to his uncle Lord Mountbatten, later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (the latter is not included in the exhibition).

As a forward-thinking, progressive, independent woman, it is no surprise that she also photographed several members of the suffragette movement including Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, as well as Britain’s first woman doctor and women’s rights campaigner, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.

Alongside the portraits of the well-to-do in society are a vast number of wonderfully compelling portraits of local Norfolk fisherman, the salt seemingly etched into the lines of their craggy, characterful faces.  The fishermen remained a favourite subject throughout her career.

Edis had the ability to put all her subjects at ease. She put her success down to “being in sympathy” with her sitters and as a result was able to capture a true and informal likeness.

In 1918, Edis was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to photograph women’s war work in Europe. She was the first British woman to be commissioned as an official war photographer and only the 5th official British photographer to visit Europe to cover WW1.

Despite her trip being delayed due to the precarious military situation, and some opposition to sending a woman to photograph a war zone, in March 1919 she embarked on a month long journey around France and Belgium with Lady Norman, Chair of the Women’s Work Committee.  Edis kept a journal of her travels through war-torn Europe, and this combined with her many photographs, taken using a large glass-plate camera, provide graphic, documentary evidence of the lives of women in the British Women’s Services who worked on the front lines. Atmospheric photographs also capture the devastation that followed the Great War. Many of these photographs now form part of the Imperial War Museum’s collection.

Edis was able to turn her lens to any form of photography, as well as her portraiture and historic war photography, she is credited with having taken some of the earliest colour photographs ever taken of Canada as part of a commission to advertise the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1920. Very few examples of these photographs survive today and none are included in the exhibition. Another important commission was to take interior shots of No 10 Downing Street in 1917.

The photographs reveal the technical development of Edis’ work. Initially working with platinum prints, she was also one of the first photographers to experiment with autochrome photography and even patented her own design of autochrome viewers, termed diascopes.  In addition Edis was one of the first professionals to use a “kinematograph camera” – she started making films in the 1920s, including filming the wedding of Mr Henry Deterding of Holt, and a film of the Netherlands entitled “Life on the Waterways”, sadly both now lost.

Edis’ passion for photography was undiminished and throughout her career, she maintained her photographic bases in Sheringham and London, splitting her time between the two and driving to and from London in her Austin 7. Despite advances in photography she continued to use her large glass plate camera right up until the 1950s, although she did later own folding cameras which used film.

The last photograph of Edis was taken in 1953/4 by Cyril Nunn, her close friend and collaborator, on her own glass plate camera. Olive Edis died in London in 1955.

It was to Cyril Nunn that Edis left her estate of photographs, prints, glass plate negatives and autochromes. This was in turn offered to the Cromer Museum in 2008 and was purchased with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, North Norfolk District Council and Friends of Cromer Museum. This material, including around 1800 plate glass negatives, provided the impetus for the Olive Edis project. Cromer Museum now has the largest holding of Olive Edis negatives in the world and is a focus for further research and the promotion of knowledge and interest in her life and work.

Fishermen & Kings: The Photography of Olive Edis (1876-1955)
Saturday October 8, 2016 to Sunday January 22, 2017
The exhibition is accompamied by an illustrated catalogue. 

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
Castle Hill, Norwich, NR1 3JU

Tel. +44 (0)1603 495897

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12201039664?profile=originalThe Beaford Archive - the work of James Ravilious and Roger Deakins  - is a photographic record of people and community in rural north Devon containing more than 80,000 images covering the 120-year period 1870 to 1990. However, few of these images are currently accessible to the public. 

Beaford Arts has secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out a major conservation and digitisation exercise that will curate and publish online around 10,000 unseen images that together illustrate the late 20th Century social history of rural north Devon. 

Hidden Histories is a three-year project and will include:

  • Digitising, cataloguing, archiving and publishing to the web approximately 10,000 existing 35mm black and white negatives from the James Ravilious and Roger Deakins Beaford Archives
  • Production of a new fully searchable website to provide a showcase for existing digitised work, newly digitised images and audio, and new work as it is produced
  • A programme of oral history, learning and community activity which will create new work and engage people in learning and education

The post

The Project Coordinator is responsible for the successful delivery of the Hidden Histories Project.  The post-holder will:

  • Ensure that the objectives and outputs of the project are met, delivered on time and to budget
  • Manage and support project-specific freelance and part-time staff and volunteers
  • Work with Beaford Arts core staff team to secure broad and deep engagement with the project amongst the communities of rural north Devon
  • Take lead responsibility for coordination and delivery of project activities, working with Beaford Arts staff and with volunteers across the region

See full details here. The closing date is 12 September 2016.  

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The following is a rough draft describing my latest project, well late, as I have been working on this for quite a few years now. I would appreciate any comments you may have as I eventually, by year's end, to put it on the market. I hope I am not violating any rules here due to this being a commercial project, much the same as a book might be.

I get the sneaking suspicion that there are some folks here who do research into photographic history so comments here will be quite helpful.

And lastly, if any has, or knows where public domain material lurks that I can put into the database, kindly point me in that direction. I am very much interested in adding the missing years of the BJP, so if anyone here has connections that can help let me know please.

The Pilot Database will allow one to add their own private information into it.

I hit the 100,000 word limit when I added the list so here are the books and journals:

Here is the about article:

Link to book list

The Pilot Library

I started researching early photographic processes in my mid 20's, that was in the mid 1960's. My favorite hunting ground was the fabulous UCLA Research Library. I was flexible enough then to sit on the floor and peruse about 10 feet of shelves of delicious early photo books. They were only the bottom shelves then but are now lovingly preserved in at Special Collections Library, and only available by a tedious request system.

Sitting beside me right now is a thumb drive that contains my Pilot library. (Photography Indexed Library of Technology) The tiny 64 gigabyte drive weighs about 5 grams and is everything I dreamed of having when I was sprawled out on the floor at the UCLA Research Library. This not just a collection of books, but much more. At first blush one might think this is something Google Books should have done -right? Almost certainly not, not within the bounds of something doable. It cannot be done robotic-ally, it needs to be done with creative intelligence. No one who is not well versed in photographic technology and history could have done this. And not only does it take intelligence and lots of detective work, but tedious labor.

The PILOT library is a compact and portable Regex snippet searchable database of early photographic literature published before 1924.

  • The database is over 550,000 pages and includes many thousands of books and including over 8000 weekly and monthly photographic journals.
  • Very importantly the database is indexed for high speed Regular Expression (Regex) searches.
  • The database is hierarchically structured so that by check box selection major categories of photographic literature can be searched. One can search “general manuals,” or particular subjects like “color photography” by selecting those folders to search, or one can search the complete library.
  • The database comes with its own search engine that incorporates Regular Expression (Regex) searches. 
  • A normal word search works well but a guide for elementary search queries is included for the Regex novice, however, those knowledgeable in Regex can take full advantage of its power.
  • Every individual book, journal, or patent is available in the database for immediate download to Adobe reader or PDF editor of your choice.
  • The database is self contained so no Internet connection is needed. Thus you can research away at your electronically invisible hideaway mountain cabin while on vacation.
  • .
  • It is safe to say that there is no physical collection of early photography books anywhere in the world like what is contained in the Pilot Library. And not contained collection of photography books anywhere online!

These books and journals are in the public domain, however the Pilot Database, its structure and indexes are not. The Pilot database is integrated with a powerful search engine and its indexes for high speed searches, and thus meets the criteria for copyright protection under United States law.
The books, journals and documents in the database come from numerous sources. Of course Google Books, and the Microsoft Internet Archive project (now defunct) have played a large role, but there is a newly burgeoning array of independent libraries who are providing their own online resource of scanned books. Gallica, a service from the French National Library is an important source for French language photography books and journals. Complete sets of photographic journals are very rare, and virtually do not exist. Bound yearly volumes of esoteric journals have been lost due to fire, or just having been checked out and irreplaceably lost. For instance It has been through a tedious weaving of books from a number of sources, including the French National Library's: Gallica, that I was able to obtain a near complete set of Bulletin de la Societe Francaise de Photographie. And an equally tedious detective mission to find and decipher an almost complete set of Photo-Minature.

We also have the U. S. Library of Congress who now appears to be scanning books so it too has become a resource. (Let's not forget their huge library of scanned photographs!) The number of sources for elements in this database is too numerous to list them all, and to their credit, many of these independent libraries have chosen not to deface their books by watermarking those they have scanned, so we may have lost track of the source for many of the books and journals here.

So without the Pilot Database, one would wander the Internet search world searching in various locations in order to find something and then hopefully be able to download the work referenced.
A number of sections have been included in the database that are not specifically photographically related. One such example is the one on “general chemistry.” Since early photography is chemically based, this section can be quite useful to scholars or practitioners researching a process or a formula. Since this research tool is primarily focused on photography published before 1923, these books are relevant to early photography as the chemical terminology in the general manuals is concurrent with the usage of the time – their focus was on practical, or “applied chemistry” as opposed to theoretical. Many photographic historians like myself are not trained in chemistry so these early books on chemistry are much easier to digest.

It is natural for the issue of copyright to come up. The rule is anything published before 1923 is automatically in the public domain. Since 99% of the works in the database are prior to 1923, this is largely not an issue.
We must first note the famous case of: Bridgeman Art Library vs Corel Corp. Check it out in Wikipedia at: In brief the mere copying of a public domain work does not constitute a copyright.

The next hurdle is books published between 1923 and 1964, and the word “hurdle” is very appropriate as this realm of copyright is one gigantic mess. One consideration is copyright notice in the work itself. In this period, 1923-1964, no notice means no copyright. A good example of this is the famous San Francisco photography journal, Camera Craft, it bears no copyright notice! Over 85% of the books that were copyrighted were never renewed. Those that were, were largely those by major publishers, some of which are still active today. For example: Doubleday, Knopf, and Van Nostrand. We must also note that the 15% of the works that actually were renewed were those considered “durable” by their authors and publishers. A photography magazine during that period was usually not considered durable. Why would the publisher go to all of the trouble decades later to renew the copyright, pay the fees, and fill out all the forms. The ads and information was clearly obsolete and reprinting and re-issuing would have been folly. We do have magazines like Life, or National Geographic that would be considered durable, and thus were renewed, but the publisher of Camera Craft likely thought it was not even worth copyrighting in the first place. There are only a scant fraction of the works in the database that fall into the relatively iffy area of copyright as having been published after 1923.

The situation gets even more tangled as the ledgers keeping track of those renewals at the Library of Congress were badly kept and were written by hand into ledgers. Only recently has the Stanford database become available which aids in searching this unwieldy mess. We here at the Pilot Database have diligently made every attempt honoring copyright. If you are the owner of any work included here, and believe it is in copyright, please inform us and we will remove it.
One last consideration, this database library is primarily a scholarly resource. By putting all of these works from disparate places into one database focused on works on photography (pun intended,) will save a researcher countless hours. There are approximately 2000 PDF individual volumes occupying approximately 40 gigabytes of disk space. All are in the public domain and the vast majority were published before 1924, some such as patents which are not copyrighted, and Bostick & Sullivan documents from my firm, cover the complete time span. Many of the volumes are very large and are made up of bound weekly or monthly photographic journals. There are 2000 weekly issues of the British Journal of Photography and 6852 monthly or bi-weekly issues of various photography journals. (It's very hard to get an accurate count.) There are some journals and manuals in French, German, Spanish and Italian. Now that we have discovered That many European libraries have begun scanning their own works, we will expand our foreign language collection in future editions. I want to emphasize that the Pilot Database Library is not merely a copied set of books and journals, but a highly Regular Expression searchable intelligent database.

A complete listing is available here in the Appendix.

The library will be provided on a 64 gigabyte dual USB and On-the-Go thumb drive that weighs a total of 4 hefty grams, the weight of 2 American pennies. The OTG portion will plug into most modern mobile and table devices for retrieving and if the device supports java, it should run. We have not done any extensive testing of this.


The Database is built on a folder hierarchy. One can select a parent folder and also search all the child folders, or just select a child folder. The folder structure is based on my own research experience which I believe to be what many researchers would want to use. Early generalized manuals were just that: general. In the early period there were few books that dealt with specific photographic issues. However by the late 1860's there was an expansion and many books on special topics were beginning to be published. For the most part books on a specialty topic are in the section for that if there has been enough books to warrant a special section. So a book like Hasluck's 1909, 900+ page, The Book of Photography will have many topics covered and even ones that may have a special section but the book will remain in the general category. Over the years I have extracted pertinent sections from journals and books and these will be included which may cause some duplication of hits on searches. My take is that duplicates are better than nothing.

The diligent souls who spent countless hours scanning these books had a difficult job when it came to titling what the had just scanned. Sometimes they took the title from the binder, and in other cases, from the title page. Sometimes the book may have appeared under several different titles, and perhaps in slightly different editions. This may account for some duplicates as well.

There is also here a nearly complete set of Photo-Miniature. They have been broken out into individual volumes, each issue on a separate topic. However, every original library bound set was different. One would have for instance a bound 1912, issue 15-20, another 1912-1913 issues 17-25, and perhaps missing one issue as well. This has occurred with other volumes of journals and so our task has not been just capturing the scanned volume and dumping it into a database, but has involved and breaking apart and reassembly into a coherent whole.


Docfetcher is an open source Java program and will run on any platform that runs Java including the Mac. All development and testing has been done at Photo Historica on a 12 Gig PC running Windows 10. A current version of Java may have to be installed before Docfetcher will run.

Indexed searching is high speed. One word searches take about 5 seconds. This is not the slow pig Java of the past, Java is not pretty fast.

DNGrep is an option for windows, but searching through 30 gigs worth of PDF files can take hours. But this program and other “GREP” programs can offer such benefits as phonetic “sounds like” searches. DNGrep for Windows is included in the resources file.

This and that

“Hey, there are some journals missing!”
“You betcha, Red Rider! –Lots of em.”

Theft, fire, mayhem, carelessness, and Father Time can all be blamed. Many of these journals were rare in the first place and may have existed only in one or two issues -or perhaps only for a year. And what a tangled web that was woven. Journals came and went, some got absorbed and eaten by a competitor, and others just vanished. This was the great Robber Baron period in history where monopolistic practices were the rule. Editors moved around like pieces on a chess board. To my knowledge no one has done any serious research on the genealogy of the early photographic journals – perhaps a good topic for a thesis or dissertation.

We may also consider how many of them came to be in the brick and mortar library in the first place –they were donated. This is clearly the case in many instances as is noted by their book plates. Some notable person donates their collection to the library, but the collection is not complete, perhaps on a partial collection of years, but the library accepts and puts the books into their collection.
Rather than clutter up the structure of the database, we have included a section called “orphan journals,” a repository for small editions of journals.


Dick Sullivan


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The Photographic Collections Network

12201038284?profile=originalArts Council England has announced financial support for a new organisation supporting collections and archives of photography. The Photographic Collections Network will launch to provide research, knowledge exchange, events and advocacy. Its steering group is comprised of Redeye, the Photography Network, the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal Photographic Society, The National Media Museum and independent specialists.

A launch event is scheduled for 24 November.

To register an interest and to receive more information when available please click here.

UPDATE: The Network will be launched at a Sympoisum on 24 November 2016. Click here to read more.

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