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12201137262?profile=originalFour years ago we launched to showcase our private collection of British photographs and to use the collection as an educational resource. Since then we have continued to develop the collection and the range of our activities. These include donations to public institutions, museum loans, new commissions and acquisitions.
In 2019 the Hyman Collection donated 100 photographs to The Bodleian Library (Oxford, UK). The gift includes works by Shirley Baker, Cecil Beaton, John Blakemore, Tom Blau, Jane Bown, Bill Brandt, Mark Gerson, Fay Godwin, Bert Hardy, Paul Hill, Kurt Hutton, Colin Jones, Dafydd Jones, Gemma Levine, Neil Libbert, Jo Spence, Wolfgang Suschitzky and Homer Sykes.
This gift is the second major donation by the Hyman Collection. It follows the gift of 125 photographs to The Yale Center for British Art (New Haven, USA) in 2017.

In the past year we have purchased works by Heather Agyepong, Dorothy Bohm, Bill Brandt, Victor Burgin, Angus Fairhurst, Hamish Fulton, Bert Hardy, Alex Hartley, Paul Hill, Emil Otto Hoppé, David Hurn, Kurt Hutton, Dafydd Jones, Marketa Luskacova, Jim Mortram, Tony Ray-Jones, Helen Sear and Jo Spence.

We are delighted to have been involved in two projects that address mental and physical health.
The Hyman Collection is excited to have commissioned Heather Agyepong to produce a major new body of work. This new photographic series, entitled Wish You Were Here, will be unveiled in 2020. In it Agyepong uses historical references to explore the concepts of ownership, entitlement and mental well-being and presents a dialogue between the past and the present.
We are also pleased to have co-curated with Jim Mortram a special limited edition boxed set of works from his devastatingly powerful series of photographs and testimony, Small Town Inertia. This essential work is one of the most important documentary projects of our age and deserves as wide an audience as possible.

The Hepworth Wakefield (Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017) curated an exhibition of works from the collection, entitled Modern Nature. This opened in July 2018 and was extended until April 2019. In April 2019 there was also a major two day conference on the themes of the exhibition.
Other loans included Anya Gallaccio major installation, Red on Green (ten thousand fragrant English tea roses on a bed of their stalks) (1992) to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (1 June - 22 September 2019).

We are committed to making the collection publicly accessible and to developing its educational role. As part of this, we are increasing our freely available online content by adding more works to the website and providing more detailed cataloguing. We are also including a growing number of essays on bodies of work and on individual pictures.

The Hyman Collection began in 1996 and consists of artworks in all media. Over the last fifteen years The Hyman Collection has focused on international photography from its earliest days to the present.
The Hyman Collection seeks to support and promote British photography through philanthropy, commissions, education, acquisitions and loans. In 2015 it launched to provide online access to British photographs from the collection and to use this part of the collection as an educational resource to increase international awareness of British photography. As well as including forms of documentary photography, the collection focuses on artists working in photography who have pursued more subjective or conceptual strategies. The collection has historic as well as contemporary photographs and includes an equal number of works by male and female artists.
In 2017 the Hyman Collection gifted 125 photographs to The Yale Center for British Art (New Haven, USA) and in 2019 donated 100 photographs to The Bodleian Library (Oxford, UK).


Claire and James Hyman

Image: Jane Bown from the Hyman Collection

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Valley of Inkerman Revisited

12201125269?profile=originalThe Royal Collection Trust's online description of a James Robertson/Felice Beato’s image entitled Valley of Inkerman (see below) reads:

Photograph of the Valley of Inkerman. In the valley in the foreground there is a road to the right and a river in the distance to the left. Behind are steep cliffs with a row of huts near the base. The Battle of Inkerman was fought in this valley on the 5th November 1854.

However, the Battle of Inkerman was not fought in the valley shown as the above RCT description suggests. Most of the fighting took place on the heights seen in the background of the image. I can also add that the road in the right foreground was the Post Road


to Sevastopol that ran along a causeway that crossed marshland to reach the Inkerman Bridge over the River Chernaya. This river is the water course seen at the base of the cliffs in the middle distance. It was along this road that part of the Russian Army marched on 5 November 1854 to cross the bridge, scale the Inkerman Ridge and join the Battle of Inkerman. The Post Road is again seen on the hillside on the right climbing up the slope from the Inkerman Bridge. It disappears as it turns to the right around the East Jut spur into Quarry Ravine. Obliquely ascending the side of the Quarry Ravine, this Post Road eventually reached the Inkerman Ridge where it traversed the Inkerman battlefield. The spur of high ground seen at the centre of the image beyond Quarry Ravine was known as the Inkerman Tusk with Kitspur and the Fore Ridge on the higher hills behind. All these elevated locations were scenes of fierce fighting during the battle.

To take the image, the photographer stood on a spur of high ground on the eastern side of the Chernaya Valley that was Russian territory before the armistice of April 1856. This location shows that it was taken during Robertson/Beato’s second visit to the Crimea in 1856 as the area was out of bounds to the Allies before the cessation of fighting. Although signed by James Robertson, Felice Beato, who is believed to have been more active than Robertson in their 1856 visit to the Crimea, was most likely the photographer.

The photograph forms a panorama with another image, which is also entitled Valley of Inkerman, by the same photographer (see below). This image, which suffers from the effects of time, shows the eastern side of the Chernaya Valley with the western slopes of the Mackenzie Heights on the left.  The remains of Kalamita Castle, also known as the 'Ruins of Inkerman', lie on the rocky shelf at centre. The rock caves of Inkerman were and are still found in the cliff that drops to the valley floor at centre. 


In 2012, the author visited the spur from the Mackenzie Heights where the two photographs presented above were taken and took his own panorama from roughly the same position (see below). This shows how the swamp in the foreground of the Crimean War images has been dredged to provide a harbour at the eastern end of Sevastopol’s roadstead. The ruins of Kalamita Castle are still to be found on the shelf of land on the left and today's main road climbs up the same route as the old Post Road on the side of the East Jut spur on the right. However, the area is now much more developed than it was in 1856.

Wishing all those interested in the photography of the Crimean War a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! 


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12201131252?profile=originalProfessor Larry Schaaf will deliver the Royal Photographic Society Historical Group's 2020 Colin Ford Lecture providing a fascinating insight to his work on The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné.

Schaaf has been examining and compiling information on Talbot images worldwide for more than four decades. Beginning in 2014, with the backing of the William T Hillman Foundation, the Bodleian Libraries undertook converting these private databases into a public resource.  So far, images and data on more than 16,000 photographs have been made freely available on the website.  These allow individual researchers to pursue their own questions and draw their own conclusions.

Tickets are free, but seats are limited and booking is essential.

Weston Library Lecture Theatre
Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

Doors open 1730, event 1800-2000. 

Find out more here: 

Image: © Mike Robinson. Daguerreotype portrait of Larry J. Schaaf.

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Blog: Charles Frederick Moore (1837-1916)

12201136297?profile=originalA new blog by Jamie Carstairs who manages the Historical Photographs of China project draws attention to Charles F Moore, who was born in Manchester, photographed in China and married a local Chinese woman.  He was a member of the London Amateur Photographic Association. Some of his surviving negatives are held in collections in Canada. 

The blog can be read here:

There is further biographical information on Moore here: 

Image: Fort Chapu, Zhapu, north Zhejiang, c.1870. Photograph by Charles Frederick Moore. HPC ref: Bo01-044.

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12201130265?profile=originalThe exhibition Pages from Photographic History is running at the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre a the Hermitage, St Petersburg. It acquaints visitors with the most important stages in the development of photography and touches on the technical, documentary and artistic sides of its evolution.

The exhibition is devoted to the 180th anniversary of the official invention of photography. More than 70 exhibits, the majority of which are going on display for the first time, tell about the historical development of photographic processes from the 1840s through to the 1910s – the period of the most intensive technical experimentation and creative exploration.

The items included in the exhibition demonstrate the variety of photographic techniques, including both unusual ones – pictures on calico and on porcelain – and others that were fairly popular in their time but are rarely found today in Russian museum collections – the tintype (also known as ferrotype), ambrotype and cyanotype.

Visitors will be able to acquaint themselves with a precursor of photography – the Physionotrace, a means of producing portraits using a special optical device that was exceptionally popular in the late 18th century. It is possible to compare the appearance of likenesses created by that means with the first photographic portraits – daguerreotypes, made on copper plates coated with silver and named after their inventor, Louis Daguerre. It should be noted that the State Hermitage’s collection of daguerreotypes is one of the world’s finest with regard to the state of preservation.

12201130655?profile=originalFollowing the invention of the daguerreotype, the next advance that shaped the further development of photography was the introduction of the negative-positive process of obtaining images. It was proposed by the English scientist William Henry Fox Talbot and became known as the talbotype or calotype. Original prints on salted paper – a Portrait of a Woman by an unknown photographer and Cedar of Lebanon by Ernest Benecke – clearly indicate the shortcomings inherent in that early technique.

The variety of genres that arose in the first 30 years of the existence of photography can be appreciated in pictures made by both Russian and foreign practitioners. The genre that was most popular and most in demand was the portrait: the exhibition presents the most common portrait formats, such as the carte de visite or larger cabinet card, and rarer ones, for instance the mignon.

A separate theme within the exhibition is formed by photographs of works of art – photographic reproductions, one of the chief aims in the creation of which was the desire to learn how to convey and preserve the original colours. The display includes one of the earliest colour images of this sort made by the French photographer Léon Vidal. The level of skill and training of museum photographers of that period can be judged from the works of Feodor Nikolayevsky, the first official photographer of the Imperial Hermitage.

After starting off as a means of precisely recording the world, photography gradually evolved its own artistic language and became an independent art form. That aspect is represented by such masters of artistic photography as Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, Jan Bulgak and Vasily Sokornov.

At the turn of the 20th century, the genre of photographic reportage developed apace. All the fleeting and unusual events of the day became the object of the fixed attention of photojournalists. Sports competitions, natural disasters, the incidents of city life are shown in pictures taken by photographers in both this country and Europe. In Russia the founding father of reportage photography is justly considered to be the St Petersburg photographer Karl Bulla. “I shoot anywhere and everywhere, under any conditions” – the motto of this pioneer became a slogan for all subsequent generations of photojournalists.

The appearance of new light-sensitive materials and the shift to mass production of them in factories, as well as the invention of lightweight portable cameras, made photography accessible to an extensive body of amateurs. Contemporaries described those enthusiasts’ tendency to photograph everything that caught their eye with a great deal of irony, while horrified professionals debated the “epidemic of picture-taking”. The exhibition includes several amateur snaps, probably taken during the unknown photographer’s summer holiday.

By the last decade of the 19th century, photography had completely conquered the world as an inexpensive and readily available means of producing pictures. Methods of reproducing photographs in large numbers without loss of quality by printing press came into widespread use. An example of such high-standard output is provided by a phototype View of Reval.

The most democratic form of photographic image in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the picture postcard, which besides its immediate function also served as a means of advertising, propaganda or education depending on the nature of the image. The examples included in the display demonstrate the variety of subjects found on postcards.

The exhibition also includes several examples of cameras and optical devices that make it possible to trace the improvement of the optical and mechanical components of the photographic process. A Kodak Vest Pocket camera from the collection of technical devices in the Department of the History of Russian Culture allows visitors to judge how convenient and refined cameras had become by the end of the period.

The exhibition curators are Natalia Yuryevna Avetian, senior researcher and keeper of the photography fund in the State Hermitage’s Department of the History of Russian Culture, and Irina Olegovna Terentyeva, researcher and keeper of the photography fund in the same department. An important part of the preparation of the exhibits for display was the making of individual mounts appropriate to the characteristics of each print. This work was carried out by the Laboratory for the Scientific Restoration of Photographic Materials, headed by Tatyana Anatolyevna Sayatina.

Admission is by free entrance tickets, during the opening hours of The Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre (tickets must be purchased at the museum ticket offices).

More information here.

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12201123452?profile=originalNumerous references to travelling photographers and mobile studios are sprinkled throughout the literature dedicated to photography. Robert Taft refers to photographic studios on board ships that sailed American rivers in his book Photography and the American Scene (Taft, 1938, p. 65-67). He recounts an undated anecdote about a confrontation between an ambulant daguerreotypist and villagers dissatisfied with a portrait: the crowd ended up sending his photographic van and all its content flying. In 1858, the critic Ernest Lacan considers ambulant photographers to be at the bottom of the social ladder (Lacan, 1858, p. 77). In the journal La Lumière, he does not hesitate to designate them as “street entertainers of photography”. Two years later, a statistical survey about photographic industry in Paris indicates that the largest studios regularly sent photographic operators on missions abroad but no figures about ambulant photography are provided (Chambre de commerce, 1864). Finally, in 1984, Ann Parker and Avon Neal reveal through their study that ambulant photographers and mobile studios in Guatemala were still an active profession at the end of the 20th century (Parker & Neal, 1984). What did such mobile studios look like precisely? How many were they, depending on periods and places? To what extent do they invite us to rethink photography practice from a material and social perspective?

By a “mobile” studio, we mean a (reduced or complex) device, which is portable and allows an integrated outdoor practice of photography, outside both the studio and the laboratory, combining all necessary steps to make photographs (from the preparation to the development of the medium, and sometimes to the dissemination and the sale of the final image). The overlooked history of photographic mobility may be considered through this material specificity that distinguishes it from the history of outdoor photographers and modern photo-reporters.

The mobility of photographers outside the studio has been largely overlooked. Reasons for this are numerous (lack of data, lack of recognition notably) and have played in favor of the studio itself. Extensively studied, the photographer’s studio is now an integral part of our collective imaginary. It is the space where the photographer set himself up as a creator (Cartier-Bresson, 2012). However, the history of photographic mobility, just like the history of studio photography, started with the birth of photography and has been continued alongside sedentary practices.

In the 1970s, Susan Sontag, did not hesitate to associate imperialism with the spectacular expansion of photography. A short time later, the series “Early Photography in…” published since 1977 by the journal History of Photography, as well as the “world” histories of the 80s fostered more detailed investigations into the way photography has spread out across the world and has taken root in specific regions. Examples include the studies of Terry Bennett on Japan (2006) and China (2009, 2010, 2013) and those of Erika Nimis and Marian Nur Goni on Africa (Fotota blog, 2013-). Numerous research programs and publications currently address the effect of exile and migration on photographers and their pictures. They define photographers as “contact zones” (Hannoosh, 2016) and photography as “the ultimate diasporic medium” (Dogramaci & Roth, 2019), highlighting the nomadic quality of both the producer and the images.

To inquire the history of mobile studios and ambulant photographers today, means to join these discussions. That is to adopt a transnational logic and to take into consideration flows of people and goods. This issue provides another opportunity to study the local and interior mobility (from town to town, the relationship between cities and countryside) as well as worldwide mobility. Simultaneously, it invites us to investigate the social history of photography and the archetype of the ambulant photographer. Indeed, the category “ambulant photographers” is frequently associated with small trades as well as with urban or rural “popular” practices linked to trades and markets (operators of ferrotypes, tintypes, painted canvases and instant prints for instance). The ambulant photographer as depicted through books, movies, press articles, is often a destitute person: “He appears to us as a poor suffering being, this Kor, ambulant photographer, fairground artist who travelled from town to town” (Claretie, 1912, p.5). However, exactly like the idea of popular photography, the representation and the status of ambulant photographers deserves to be qualified and refined. Even more so, due to the recent studies about worker mobility and transmission of traditional skills in modern times. Each of them invites us to rethink sedentary photographic practices in the light of other ambulant professions (engineer, trader, peddler, qualified craftsman, worker, etc.) and to question the hierarchy between contractual operators and self-employed photographers .

The ambulant photographer is often presented as the plebeian version of the studio photographer, but the pictures he produces participate significantly in another “photographic culture”, both obscure and archaic, modest and genuine, resistant to technological changes as exemplified by the mythologized figure of Eugène Atget. In an enlightening article about ambulant photographers, Ilsen About emphasized the importance of such professions in “the acculturation of contemporary societies to the daily practice of photographic image” and to “the slow and lasting diffusion of visual objects in material culture” (About, 2015). This history of material culture (and thus, of the way contemporary societies relate to images) should reflexively consider photography itself and think about the terms and conditions of photographic practices that flourished outside the studio.

The second issue of the journal Photographica therefore intends to explore both a material and a visual history of the mobile studio as well as to sketch out an ethnography of ambulant operators. Special attention will be paid to devices and uses of studios “beyond the walls”. The reflection is not limited to the genre of portrait but is open to all aspects of mobile studios. Contributors are welcome to question photographic mobility from different perspectives and to address work, material and practice issues more generally.

Moreover, there will be special consideration of ambulant photographers’ living conditions as well as of the historicization and the geographization of the ‘mobile studio’ phenomenon; a phenomenon subjected to many variations, as attested by the participation of casual or professional photographers, explorers, excursionists and scientists.


Bibliographical references

  • About, I. (2015). Les photographes ambulants. Techniques & Culture, 2 (64), 240-243.
  • Aprile, S. (2016). Déposer un brevet sans déposer les armes ? Exilés et inventeurs français durant le Second Empire. Revue d'histoire du XIXe siècle, 2 (53), 79-96.
  • Brice, C. et Diaz, D. (dir.). (2016). Mobilités, savoir-faire et innovations. Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle, 53 (2), 228.
  • Bouillon, M.-E. (2018). Photographes et opérateurs. Le travail des Neurdein frères (1863-1918). Revue Mil Neuf Cent, 1 (36), 95-114.
  • Chambre du commerce (1864). Statistiques de l’industrie à Paris résultant de l’enquête faite par la Chambre de commerce pour l’année 1860. Paris, France: Chambre de commerce.
  • Claretie, G. (1912, 26 avril). Gazette des tribunaux. Cour d’assise de l’Eure : un drame au théâtre. Le Figaro,
  • Dogramaci, B. et Roth, H. (dir.). (2019). Nomadic Camera. Fotografie, Exil, Migration. Fotogeschichte, 39 (151).
  • Hannoosh, M. (2016). Practices of Photography: circulation and mobility in the nineteenth-century mediterranean. History of Photography, 40 (1), 3-27.
  • Lacan, E. (1858, 15 mai). Les saltimbanques de la photographie. La Lumière, (20).
  • Miller, S. (1987). Itinerant Photographer: Corpus Christi 1934. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Parker, A. et Neal, A. (1984). Los Ambulantes, The itinerant photographers of Guatemala, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Rosenblum, R. (1984). A world History of Photography. New York, NY: Abbeville Press.
  • Rosenblum, R. (1996). Une histoire mondiale de la photographie. Paris, France: Abbeville Press.
  • Sagne, J. (1984) L’atelier du photographe (1840-1940), Paris: Presses de la Renaissance.
  • Taft, R. (1938). Photography and the American Scene—A Social History 1839–1889, New York, N.Y.: Dover Publications.
  • Vitis, Ch. de. (1907, 4 avril). Cœur d’Enfant. 2e Les miséreux. VI. Photographies ambulants. L’Ouest-Éclair, 2.

Exhibitions and exhibition catalogues

  • Cartier-Bresson, A. (2012). Dans l’atelier du photographe, Paris, France: Paris musées.
  • Desveaux, D., Cuesta, S. et Reynaud, F. (dir.). (2016). Dans l’atelier. L’artiste photographié, d’Ingres à Jeff Koons, Paris, France: Paris musées.
  • Eskildsen, U. (dir.). (2008) Street & Studio: an urban history of photography, Londres, Royaume-Uni: Tate publ..
  • A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio, MoMA, 2014.
  • In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa, MET, NY, 2015-2016.


Article proposals may cover the following topics:

-sources and archives related to the history of mobile studio or ambulant photographers

-legislation governing the work of ambulant photographers

-materials and materiality of mobile studios: horse-drawn caravan, wagon, tents, backpacks, shacks, portable studio, photographic vans’ design, interior furnishing, setting, etc.

-stakes and usages of mobile studios: portraits; wildlife pictures; trade fair, cabaret and photography; scientific documentation (from ethnological to speleological expeditions)

-sociology and gender of ambulant photography: the dichotomy between studio photographer and ambulant photographer, the role of women in the history of this practice

-hierarchy between contractual operators and self-employed photographers


Proposals will be peer-reviewed.

They may be accepted, accepted with amendments, or refused.



Out of the studio. Photographers and mobile studios

Deadline to submit article proposals: 15th of February 2020

Committee response date: first half of Mars 2020

Publication date of Photographica (no 2): November 2020


Submission guidelines

Articles may be written in French or in English.

The should not exceed 30 000 characters, spaces included

Authors should provide an abstract of their article (1000 words) and key-words (from 5 to 10).

Illustrations of 300 dpi with their complete caption and credits may be associated (from 10 to 15).

Each image should be inserted in the text at the desired place.

For any inquiry about reproduction rights for images, please contact

Please, write your name, email address, occupation and institutional affiliation (university and laboratory) as well as a short bio-bibliography in a document distinct from your proposal.

Articles should be sent to:

For any inquiries, please contact:

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12201129482?profile=originalBPH has just learnt of the death of Bill Barnes, the film history and collector who died in July at the age of 99 years. Barnes, along with his twin brother John, who died in 2008, was a collector and historian of early British cinema. For a time their outstanding collection was on display as as the Barnes Museum of Cinematography in St Ives. John managed the collection and Bill continued to source objects for it at fairs and auctions around the country.

The museum closed and some of the collection ended up in Turin with the British material going to Hove Museum. John produced the five-volume The Beginnings of Cinema in England 1894-1901, although it was very much a joint effort. 

Bill continued to live in London until his death. 

See more here: 

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12201122485?profile=originalJust over a year since its acquisition, a taster of the vast MacKinnon Collection will be exhibited at the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (SNPG). The two institutions joined forces to purchase the collection — made up of more than 14,000 photographs dating from the 1840s to the mid-20th century in Scotland — in May last year, with the help of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Government and Art Fund.

Now people will be able to view highlights from the collection at concurrent exhibitions  'At the Water's Edge' at the National Library, and 'Scotland's Photograph Album' at the Portrait Gallery.

National Librarian Dr John Scally said: 'Scotland has a unique relationship with photography which dates back to the work of the early pioneers such as Hill and Adamson. The exhibition is a glimpse into MacKinnon's wider collection, which consists of more than 14,000 pictures, but I am excited to share a selection of them as we believe they are truly Scotland's photograph album.I am confident that every Scot will feel a connection with these wonderful photographs and we look forward to sharing them with the public over the coming months.'

National Galleries of Scotland, Director General Sir John Leighton, said: 'Scotland's Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection' allows audiences the chance to be transported back to a century of change and growth. It is not only a fascinating look at historical Scottish life that sits just on the edge of living memory, but also an important showcase of the innovative progression of photography in Scotland.'

The MacKinnon Collection was put together by collector Murray MacKinnon, who established a successful chain of film-processing stores in the 1980s, starting from his pharmacy in Dyce, near Aberdeen. The collection covers an expansive range of subjects — including family portraits, working life, street scenes, sporting pursuits, working life, transport, landscapes and cityscapes. Until last year, it was estimated to be one of the last great collections of Scottish photography still in private hands.

Taking inspiration from VisitScotland's Year of Coasts and Waters for 2020, the National Library's 'At the Water's Edge' reflects on this theme, with a strong emphasis on social history and the changing nature of Scotland's coastal communities.

Highlights include:

  • Photographs by George Washington Wilson, capturing working life and remote landscapes in Orkney and St Kilda in the 1870s
  • Some of the earliest known images of fishing communities in Aberdeen and Edinburgh dating from the 1870s onwards.

'At the Water's Edge' at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, and 'Scotland's Photograph Album' at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh run from Saturday 16 November until Sunday 16 February 2020. Admission is free.

See: and

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