All Posts (29)

Sort by

New Early Women Photographers Blog

In celebration of International Women's Day 2018, I have started a new blog highlighting early women photographers.

Some have not been studied previously and the blog will focus on pre-1860 photographic activity.  It will hopefully build into a useful online biographical resource starting with the third female member of the Photographic Society, Mary Ann Boulton.

Any additional information regarding these pioneering women is welcomed.

My Lunchtime Lecture at the National Portrait Gallery on 3rd May 2018 introduces new research in collaboration with Graham Harrison.  This talk will cover five women, all of who claim a photographic first.

Read more…

12201067268?profile=originalThis is a new MA starting September 2018, subject to validation, from the University of Sussex, led by Dr Ben Burbridge. It will engage you in the challenging task of making sense of the multitude of photographic images that shape the world today. It is claimed to be the first MA in the UK to combine the history and theory of photography with practice and curation in a genuinely interdisciplinary context. You’ll explore the pivotal role of photography over the past two centuries across diverse global contexts – from the ways in which photography represents the complexities of 19th-century world views to the ubiquity and power of photography in our digital age. You’ll also develop your practical skills, working with expert practitioners and leading photography curators.

  • Learn from leading academics – in fields including Art History, English, Photography, Media, Film, History and Politics – and enjoy direct access to their cutting-edge work.
  • Benefit from our exceptional links with a range of the UK’s premier photography institutions – including Brighton Photo Biennial, Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the photographic Archive of Modern Conflict and our partnership networks of museums and galleries across the South East.
  • Experience professional master classes by internationally recognised photographers and curators. You have the opportunity to take part in the programme of the Centre for Photography and Visual Culture, which attracts world-renowned artists, writers, filmmakers and curators.

Registrations are required by 1 August 2018 (International) / 1 September 2018 (UK)

Read more here:

Read more…

12201080485?profile=originalThe curatorial job at Tate Modern, previously occupied by Simon Baker is open to applicants. Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, its programme of major temporary exhibitions, collection displays, commissions, live performance, and film programme has developed in diversity, scope and profile. In 2016 Tate Modern opened the Blavatnik Building increasing the scope and breadth of the exhibition and collection displays. The Tate Modern Curatorial Team ensures the highest standard of content and delivery of this programme. 

This exciting position offers the chance to play a leading role helping Tate to fulfil its ambition of rethinking the history of modern and contemporary art by leading the development of Tate's collection of international photography through acquisitions, gifts and bequests as well as leading the strategy for representing photography in the programme; researching, developing and curating exhibitions and collection displays.

As a member of Tate Modern's senior management, you will provide strategic leadership and management to the Curatorial department as well as working collaboratively with colleagues across the organisation on shared projects or initiatives. You will be able to combine your curatorial flair with excellent operational and leadership skills and an ability to work collaboratively and make an effective contribution to the running of the department. With an inclusive leadership style with proven ability to lead, you will possess the ability to inspire your colleagues, share your expertise and motivate and support the development of our curatorial team.

You will be an experienced curator or specialist with an expert knowledge of modern and contemporary art with a particular specialism in photography, supported by a relevant post-graduate degree. An impressive track record of publication and research, an established network of contacts and a knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding collecting modern and contemporary photography as well as extensive experience of the processes involved in staging exhibitions and displays will be essential. You will also be a first class communicator with the capacity to write authoritative texts for a specialist readership as well as accessible texts for a general public. International in your outlook, the ability and willingness to undertake extensive travel nationally and internationally and to attend out of hours functions is essential.

How to apply:

Our opportunities are open for you to apply online. Please visit our website via the button below. For all opportunities, we ask candidates to complete an online application form for the vacancy they are interested in. If you need an application form in an alternative format, please call us on 020 7887 4997.


Opportunity type:Permanent, Full-time 

Working hours:36 hours per week  

Salary:£45,000 to £50,000 per annum dependent upon the skills and experience of the successful candidate 

Location:London - Tate Modern, Bankside  

Closing date:01 April 2018 at midnight 

Closing date: Sunday, 1 April 2018 at midnight.

More here:

Read more…

A blog about American pioneer photographers

A colleague of mine in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been conducting research on early American photographers for more than twenty-five years, and is now making it available on wordpress blog. As many of these photographers either trained in Europe or in Britain, or in some cases emigrated from Britain, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide the link to this important resource at

Read more…

12201079086?profile=originalOn 19-20 May, the special edition of The London Photograph Fair returns to The Great Hall at King's College, adjacent to Somerset House. The fair, which coincides with Photo London, is the only established fair devoted to vintage photography in the UK.

For this year's edition, Daniella Dangoor will present a collection of 40 rare photographs of Samurai. It should be noted that most photographs purporting to be of Samurai, and often used as illustrations in books and magazines, are nothing of the kind. They were taken well after 1877, when the Samurai system was abolished, in commercial studios, with actors or studio assistants dressing up in Samurai clothes and armour, for the benefit of the tourist trade.

These however, are images of genuine Samurai, taken 1860-1877.  The collection has been researched and catalogued by Sebastian Dobson, one of the world's leading authorities on early photographs of Japan. Several prints constitute the only known copies, with most of the rest known in only a few copies, held in museums and private collections.

The photographs in the collection offer a rare glimpse into the vanishing world of the Samurai, including a group of Samurai gathered around a map during the civil war; the half-brother of the last shogun, photographed in Paris where he was sent as a special emissary; a portrait of a female samurai as well as a portrait of a rōnin, the masterless samurai who were often forced to eke out a vagabond existence on the edge of society, offering their swords for hire.

In a portrait taken by the Japanese photographer Suzuki Shin’ichi I in Yokohama in the mid 1870's, a young Samurai glances wistfully into the distance. The era of the Samurai was nearing its end and the occupation and the role he had trained and prepared for since childhood was about to be rendered obsolete. The introduction in 1873 of compulsory military service for all Japanese males, regardless of class, had made the samurai an anachronism.

12201080076?profile=originalJapan was changing. The country had until 1853 been completely closed to all foreigners. The Dutch were the only Westerners permitted to trade with Japan and a small group of employees of the Dutch East India Company were corralled on the artificial island of Deshima constructed for their exclusive use in Nagasaki in 1636.

The opening of the country's borders would lead to a modernisation process and a civil war that would see the overthrow of the Shogunate in 1868. The Shoguns had been the de facto rulers of Japan since the 12th Century, ruling in the name the emperor. The Shogun’s military might depended on the Samurai. As a warrior caste, war was their raison-d'être, so the so-called Age of Warring States (Sengoku Jidai) with almost constant civil war between contenders for the shogunate during 1460 and 1603 represented a sort of golden age.

The installation of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603 enshrined their position at the top of the social order, but the ensuing 250-odd years of peace would see them take on other roles as well, as administrators, bureaucrats and scholars, the latter playing an important role in the diffusion of photography in Japan.

The Last Samurai. A collection of rare photographs by Nadar, Shimooka, Suzuki, Disdéri, Beato and others
19-20 May 2018 as part of the London Photograph Fair and presented by Daniella Dangoor
at The Great Hall at King's College, Strand, London WC2R 2LS 

Images: top: Suzuki, YOUNG SAMURAI. Below: Felice Beato (c.1834-1909):KUBOTA SENTARÔ IN ARMOUR WITH RETAINERS, Yokohama, c.1864. Hand-coloured albumen print from wet collodion negative.

Read more…

12201075280?profile=originalThe early history of paper photography in the United States is a formative but rarely studied aspect of the medium’s evolution. While Americans were at first slow to adopt Europe’s negative-positive photographic practices, the country’s territorial expansion and Civil War increased demand for images that were easy to reproduce and distribute.

The exhibition Paper Promises: Early American Photography, on view until 27 May, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, features rare 19th-century paper negatives and paper photographs from this important era of American experimentation, including portraits of some of the country’s most notable political and cultural figures, as well as searing images from the Civil War. “In the mid-nineteenth century, photographs did much more than merely document the development of the nation; increasingly they became central to debates about the U.S. and its place in the world,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The photographs on view in this exhibition offer a rare insight into the forces and movements that shaped the country’s character at a formative stage of its development.”

Photographic Pioneers

Today, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat create a thirst for casual selfies, views of our surroundings, and documentation of the most mundane aspects of daily life. Yet reproducible photography was not initially popular in the United States. In the earliest years of the medium Europeans quickly adopted techniques that enabled multiple photographs to be printed from negatives, but Americans initially preferred singular formats intended for intimate viewing, such as those produced directly on metal or glass.

A few intrepid American photographers experimented with negative-positive techniques in the 1850s. The earliest photographs they produced used papers sensitized with silver salts that resulted in matte images well suited to register a range of textures. Paper Promises showcases dozens of rarely exhibited salted paper prints.

12201076667?profile=originalTo secure the widest possible market for photographs that could be printed in multiple, entrepreneurial photographers made salted paper prints for a variety of purposes: scientific investigation, celebrity portraiture, tourism, historic preservation, corporate and self-promotion, and first-hand documentation of newsworthy events. Their ambition to develop a technique suited to the quickened pace of modern life is apparent in a salted paper print made around 1860 by an unknown photographer, in which a group of men and women gather excitedly aboard the front of a train.

The railroad was a potent symbol of progress, and it was anticipated that photography, like locomotives, might connect Americans to places and people far away. In the 1850s, however, alarmist reports that photographic negatives were being used to counterfeit currency caused widespread anxiety. At the time, banks printed their own money and thousands of different paper bills were in circulation. Around forty percent of the bills that passed through American hands were counterfeit, so banknotes began to be thought of as little more than flimsy “paper promises.”

The exhibition features photographic counterfeits from the era, revealing a previously unstudied aspect of initial American resistance to photographic reproducibility. Though “paper promises” was originally a derisive phrase, the promise of paper photography soon swept the nation.

Also included in the exhibition are examples of other pioneering photographic techniques, including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, albumen silver prints, a pannotype, and an ivorytype.


As the use of negatives to produce photographs in multiple sizes and shapes began to catch on, photography studios rushed to secure famous sitters in the hope of gaining wide distribution for popular images. The exhibition demonstrates how celebrities of the era grew savvy about circulating carefully crafted images of themselves. For example, an 1860 portrait of abolitionist Frederick Douglass by an unknown photographer emphasizes the gravitas of the fiery orator and prolific writer. Douglass sat for portraits throughout his life, countering racialized stereotypes by circulating dignified images of himself.

Family photographs also became increasingly cherished as the medium gained in popularity. At a time when life expectancy was short and child mortality common, photographic portraits were thought of as especially precious souvenirs. The exhibition features several intimate portraits of families and children, some of which were carefully handtinted to further strengthen the sense of personal connection.

Universities capitalized on the ability to produce images in multiple and compiled volumes of students and staff into what is today the familiar yearbook format. An example from about 1852 by John Adams Whipple (American, 1822-1891) was commissioned by Harvard – a proto-Facebook more than 150 years before Mark Zuckerberg’s start.

The West and the War

12201077659?profile=originalAs disputes over state and federal sovereignty as well as American Indian rights intensified, photographers sought how best to portray the people and places most frequently in the news. Photographs of several treaty negotiations will be on view, such as images of the first Japanese delegation to the United States, and an 1858 portrait by Alexander Gardner (American, born Scotland, 1821-1882) of a delegation of Upper Sioux who travelled to Washington, D.C., for treaty talks. While most of the delegates pictured wore contemporary clothing, Gardner kept costumes on hand to outfit visitors in “traditional” attire, in keeping with East Coast ideas about Native dress. Photographs of American Indian sitters proliferated as their autonomy became a highly contested matter of public debate.

In the territorial struggles of the 1860s, families torn apart by the Civil War sought personal mementos that could be easily shared and saved, and paper photographs served that purpose well. Soldiers had their portraits made upon enlistment, and civilians clamored for images of the battlefield. Images of slaves and of Abraham Lincoln were increasingly wielded as tools for political change, and the exhibition will spotlight several examples. Freedom’s Banner. Charley, A Slave Boy from New Orleans (1864) by Charles Paxson (American, died 1880) is one of many small-scale images carefully composed and widely circulated to encourage empathy with the plight of enslaved families. The photographs were sold to support education for freed slaves and to sustain support of the abolitionist cause.

As we struggle to adapt to today’s digital revolution, with its capacity for unchecked manipulation and proliferation of images, it’s valuable to look to an earlier era in which ideas about photography and its role in society were similarly exerting profound effects,” says Mazie Harris, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition. “Because early paper photographs became an integral part of everyday life, not many survive. So this is a unique opportunity to see rare images from a tumultuous period of American history.

Paper Promises: Early American Photography is on view 27 February, 2018 - 27 May, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Mazie Harris, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A book of the same name and authored by Dr. Harris, with contributions from scholars of American history and photography, will be released by Getty Publications in February 2018.

See more here:

Images, from top: 

William Langenheim
American, born Germany, 1807–1874
Frederick Langenheim Looking at Talbotypes, about 1849–1851
Image: 12.1 x 8.9 cm (4 3/4 x 3 1/2 in.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Gift of The
Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005 (2005.100.177)

Unknown, American
Locomotive on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, near Oakland,
Maryland, about 1860
Salted paper print
Image: 16.2 x 16 cm (6 3/8 x 6 5/16 in.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, The Horace W.
Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel,
1991 (1991.1151)

J. E. Whitney
American, 1822–1886
Portrait of a Dakota Sitter, about 1862–1864
Salted paper print
Image: 20 x 15.3 cm (7 7/8 x 6 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Purchased in part
with funds provided by Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Barbara

Read more…

12201068072?profile=originalJoin the Photographic Collections Network on Monday, 23 April, 2- 5pm, for a special afternoon with Martin Parr and his colleagues at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol. Attendees will get behind the scenes insights into the work of the Foundation, looking specifically at the material in its archives, and hearing how it manages workflow from acquisition to access.

Available to PCN members.

To join the PCN or to book a place on this visit please go to:  

For enquiries contact Maura McKee, PCN Coordinator at  

Read more…

12201074688?profile=originalThis two-day masterclass course on the Identification and Care of Photographic Negatives will be held by Monique Fischer at the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome (AAR). It offers an in-depth introduction to the preservation of negatives, focusing particularly on their identification, deterioration, and care. The participants will have the exceptional opportunity to examine several examples of 19th and early 20th century negatives selected by photograph conservator Sandra M. Petrillo from the important and valuable Photographic Archive of the AAR (in particular from the Parker, Askew, Moscioni and Van Deman collections).

After a brief introduction by Lavina Ciuffa on the specialized collection of art, archaeology and architecture photography conserved in this archive, attendees will learn how to recognize various historic photographic techniques and formats and will study the preservation problems associated with each one. The masterclass will also discuss storage concerns and preservation priorities, including environmental guidelines and proper care and handling.

Paper, Glass, and Plastic: Identification and Care of Photographic Negatives" on May 3-4, 2018
Venue: Photo Archive of the American Academy in Rome. Via Angelo Masina 5b, 00153 Rome, Italy
Deadline for registration: 31st of March, 2018 Masterclass fee includes two lunches at the AAR and a course binder: 450,00 euro
Language: English
Masterclass fee: 450.00 Euro

Deadline for registration: 31st March 2018 Applications are on a first come basis. A maximum number of 12 participants will be accepted.

More information:

Read more…

Many will not have heard of Dom Angelico Surchamp, because his name did not appear in the credits for his photographs. He was a monk at the abbey of La Pierre-qui-vire in Burgundy. He was the moving spirit behind the Zodiaque series of books on Romanesque, which on any measure is the largest collection of published photographs of Romanesque architecture and sculpture. As André Malraux observed, it was "a very big thing". It was the photographs that made the books, beautifully printed, beautifully presented. Most of the books are in French but there are English versions of the three books on Irish Art with text by Françoise Henry. Here is the text of the letter announcing his death by the Abbot:

Chers Amis,

notre frère Angelico, José Surchamp

a rendu son dernier souffle à Dieu, ce jeudi matin 1er mars 2018, à l’hôpital d’Avallon.

José Surchamp est né le 23 juin 1924 à Troyes (Aube) dernier de six enfants. Son père, inspecteur des eaux et forêts, est un écrivain régionaliste connu sous le pseudonyme de Jean Nesmy. José suit sa formation secondaire au Collège Urbain IV puis au lycée. Pensant se faire religieux, il étudie l’art durant une année. Il passe un mois auprès du sculpteur Henri Charlier.

 Le 8 septembre 1942, il opte pour la Pierre-qui-Vire où vit déjà son frère Claude. Le 2 octobre 1942, il est reçu au noviciat sous le nom de frère Angelico. Un stage auprès du peintre cubiste Albert Gleizes, en août 1946, le marque profondément dans son désir d’unifier vie monastique et recherche picturale. Il fait profession solennelle le 5 octobre 1947 et est ordonné prêtre le 22 mai 1948. De l’Atelier du Cœur Meurtry qu’il initie avec les frères Eloi Devaux et Yves Vitry sortent des créations d’œuvres liturgiques et des fresques.

Une exposition sur l’art sacré à Vézelay en juillet 1951 est le point de départ de « l’aventure Zodiaque », avec la Revue, puis en 1953 avec les éditions de livres d’art. Sous la direction du f. Angelico, les ouvrages sur l’art roman sont édités et imprimés par les frères. Lui-même assure en partie les photographies de nombreux livres, ainsi que la chronique musicale de la revue. Il tisse alors de nombreux liens avec des artistes ainsi qu’avec des maisons d’édition étrangères.

En 1995, il laisse sa charge de directeur des éditions. En 1997, il devient aumônier des bénédictines à St Julien l’Ars, avant leur transfert à Prailles, puis des bénédictines de Venières, près de Tournus. De retour « à la maison », en 2013, il reprend très simplement sa place parmi nous, avant de gagner l’infirmerie.  

Artiste et moine, f. Angelico a cherché à unifier sa vie, non sans tension lors des évolu-tions de la liturgie après le Concile. Son regard pétillant et malicieux laissait entrevoir sa forte personnalité, et son sourire accueillant, sa simplicité ainsi que sa belle confiance en Dieu.           

Nous nous réunirons auprès de notre frère afin de prier pour lui, dans l’espérance de la Résurrection, au cours de l’eucharistie :


ce mardi 6 mars à 11 heures.

Il sera inhumé dans le cimetière du monastère à la suite de la célébration.


                                                                                            Père Luc CORNUAU, Abbé

Read more…

Blog Topics by Tags

Monthly Archives