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David Johnson (1828 – 1901)

12201119655?profile=originalDavid Johnson was a Blackburn based amateur, later professional, photographer who was active in the 1850s and 1860s. Whilst examples of his later studio work survive as carte de visites, I’m interested in establishing whether more examples of his earlier topographical studies have survived the intervening years.

Some of his photographs were exhibited at the 1855 exhibition in Amsterdam. I know from reports in the local press that he obtained an “honorable mention”, but not which prints were exhibited; does anyone know if a catalogue exists?

Eight of his photographs were exhibited at the Photographic Society’s exhibition in London in 1856. Five came from a trip to North Wales, three were taken closer to home.

Some of these Welsh views were also exhibited that May in Manchester. A report of the Manchester Exhibition appeared in the Journal of the Photographic Society, which said that “Some of Johnson’s are first rate specimens, Aberglaslyn Pass and the American Barque, Conway Bay, are perhaps the best; the latter stands really alone as a coast scene.” A salted paper print of his photograph of that ship, the Jane Tudor, survives in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

12201119500?profile=originalThese Welsh scenes also attracted the attention of Thomas Sutton and we know from advertisements in his Photographic Notes that in 1856 one of Johnson’s photographs was included in issues 2 and 4 of Sutton’s short-lived publication “The Amateur’s Photographic Album”. Again, I would be interested to know if, and where, copies of that publication exist and can be consulted.

I hope that other members of BPH may be able to enlighten me. Many thanks.

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12201113655?profile=originalBodleian Library Publishing is publishing a new book Now and Then tying in with an exhibition of the same name. Daniel Meadows is a pioneer of contemporary British documentary practice. His photographs and audio recordings made over forty-five years, capture the life of England's ‘great ordinary’. Challenging the status quo by working collaboratively, he has fashioned from his many encounters a nation’s story both magical and familiar.

His new book covers the full range of his ground-breaking projects, drawing on his archives now held at the Bodleian Library. Fiercely independent, Meadows devised many of his creative processes. He ran a free portrait studio in Manchester’s Moss Side in 1972, and then travelled 10,000 miles making a national portrait from his converted double-decker bus called the Free Photographic Omnibus, a project he revisited a quarter of a century later.

Alongside the portraits of people, Daniel Meadows also portrays the landscape of England, then and now, and the work people did, many now long-forgotten trades such as the engineer for a steam driven cotton mill and the steeplejack.

At the turn of the millennium Meadows adopted new ‘kitchen table’ technologies to make digital stories: ‘multimedia sonnets from the people’, he called them. He sometimes returned to those he had photographed, listening to how things were and how they had changed. Through their unique voices he finds a moving and insightful commentary on life in Britain and how much it has changed since he began his life’s work.

Daniel Meadows’ photographs have been exhibited widely with solo shows at the Institute of Contemporary Arts London (1975), Camerawork Galley (1978), the Photographers’ Gallery (1987) and a touring retrospective from the National Science and Media Museum (2011). Group shows include Tate Britain (2007) and Hayward Gallery Touring (2008).

The exhibition Daniel Meadows: Now & Then celebrates the work of one of Britain’s foremost photographers who worked from the 1970s onward, authentically capturing British life. The exhibition comprises 17 pairs of portraits which depict the same people 25 years apart (1970s – late 1990s), taken as part of Meadows' Free Photographic Omnibus project in the 1970s for which Meadows originally toured the UK in a double-decker bus capturing the lives of ordinary people. The display also features 16 short films about his subjects as well as giant news clippings showing how Meadows reached out via local media to find his subjects. The exhibition marks the recent and important gift of Daniel Meadows’ photographic archive to the Bodleian Libraries. Daniel Meadows: Now & Then, Weston Library, 4 October – 24 November 2019. For more information visit

NOW AND THEN: England 1970 - 2015
Daniel Meadows
Publication: 4 October 2019, £25.00

Exhibition: 4 October–24 November 2019 at the Bodleian Libraries.

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12201112880?profile=originalBPH member Rob Crow is seeking assistance to help identify the members of this group of eight photographers. Seated nearest the camera is Walter Benington (1872-1936) the Pictorialist photographer and leading member of the Linked Ring in its later years.  He was a member of the Ring’s “Hanging Committee” from 1907.  Margaret Harker (1979: 109) has a photograph of the 1909 Committee so this one may possibly be from earlier.

The print is from a collection of family and miscellaneous portraits from a collection of Benington’s work now in Australia.

Any suggestions warmly welcomed. Please comment below. 


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Publication: Tony Ray-Jones / pre-order

12201106476?profile=originalA new exhibition and book will mark the important contribution that Tony Ray-Jones (1941–1972) and his legacy, have made to British documentary photography.

The exhibition and book will focus on photographs taken between 1966–1969 as Ray-Jones, driven by curiosity, travelled across the country to document English social customs and what he saw as a disappearing way of life. This small but distinctive body of photographs was part of an evolutionary shift in British photography, placing artistic vision above commercial success. In this short period of time, Ray-Jones managed to establish an individual personal style. He constructed complex images against a uniquely English backdrop, where the spaces between the components of the image were as important as the main subject matter itself.

Ray-Jones’ skills were gleaned from a generation of street photographers he encountered whilst living in New York in the mid-1960s. These photographers included Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and others associated with the circle of legendary Harpers Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch. Their pictures defined the era as they used the street as a framework. Ray-Jones applied this new way of seeing to his native England and photographed his observations as they had never been seen before.

In 2012, Martin Parr alongside curator Greg Hobson, revisited Ray-Jones' contact sheets from this period and found previously unseen images. These new discoveries will be exhibited and published alongside iconic early images, including vintage prints from the Martin Parr Foundation collection.

RRB Photobooks / Martin Parr Foundation
Publication: 16th October 2019

Hardcover, Red Cloth
30 x 25 cm, 128 pages
Essay by Liz Jobey
Introduction by Martin Parr
Pre-order together with the forthcoming Martin Parr - Early Works for £85

The exhibition opens at the Martin Parr Foundation in October. 

See more here.

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12201106687?profile=originalRegistration for the Charles Piazzi Smyth Bicentenary Symposium at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and associated events, is open until 30 August. Smyth (1819-1900), the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland who established Edinburgh's One O'Clock Gun, was a pioneer in meteorology, metrology, photography, mountaintop observation and Egyptology. The symposium will explore his life, work and contested legacy.

There will be two full days of talks by historians of science, Egyptology and photography, astronomers and curators on 3-4 September, including a plenary lecture by Professor Simon Schaffer. On Monday 2 September there is a tour, visits and a screening of the 2016 film “A Residence Above the Clouds”, and on the Tuesday evening a public lecture by Denis Pellerin (London Stereoscopic Company), where the audience will have stereo viewing glasses to enjoy the projected images.

See for an overview and a link to registration for individual events or the full programme. See for details of the academic programme and abstracts. 

The free History of Astronomy walking tour and visit to the archives of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh can be booked here: ​

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12201110670?profile=originalI received recently a purchase from an online auction site. It is in fair condition but has a very non-standard construction. See my photographs. Part of it seemed to be set up almost as Brewster style viewer with opaque screen and pop up mirror.

Any assistance with country of manufacture, date range for manufacturer, and manufacturer much appreciated



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12201110478?profile=originalThousands of photographs, prints and letters that reveal the private passions and public interests of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert have been published online to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. 

The Royal Collection Trust has digitised 17,500 documents for a new website, the majority publicly available for the first time. The website will bring together 10,000 photographs collected and commissioned by Prince Albert; the Raphael Collection, the Prince's study collection of more than 5,000 prints and photographs after the works of Raphael; and official and private papers relating to Prince Albert. They are presented in groups that frequently reflect Albert’s vision for the development and organisation of his collections and papers.

Of particular interest is the photographs collection. Prince Albert played an integral role in the advancement of photography. During a stay in Brighton in 1842, Albert attended the photographic studio of William Constable. The resulting portrait is the earliest surviving photograph of a British royal family member. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were joint patrons of the (later Royal) Photographic Society shortly after its foundation in 1853.

During his lifetime, Prince Albert cultivated a collection of some 10,000 photographs by pioneering nineteenth-century photographers such as Frances Sally Day, Roger Fenton, Oscar Gustav Rejlander, Charles Thurston Thomspon and George Washington Wilson. Together these photographs reflect Prince Albert’s unwavering belief in photography as an art form, and his advocacy of its value as a historical record and a means to share knowledge.


and news report:

Prince Albert (1819-1861) 1848
Hand-coloured daguerreotype | 8.6 x 6.3 cm (image) (image) | RCIN 2932487

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12201112669?profile=originalJames Furnival sheds some light on the significance of the Jewellery Quarter and the developments of the photographic industry as we know it.  Birmingham and the Jewelllery Quarter played a very important role in the development of something that we all take for granted now. Through the evening, James will tell us about the key involvements of the JQ and the wider area of Birmingham and its contribution to the way we use and enjoy photography, at the touch of a button.

Thursday, August 29, 2019
1800-2030, at
J. W. Evans Silver Factory, 54-57 Albion Street, Birmingham, B1 3EA
Admission free.
Book here:

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12201118892?profile=originalGary Stone will be talking about the photographer James A Brimble, author of London’s Epping Forest and owner of Brimble’s bookshop/newsagent in Chingford from the 1940s-70s. Brimble was a member of the Royal Photographic Society from 1941 and Associate from 1942. The talk takes place at Chingford Historical Society, on 19 September, in Chingford, London, from 1930.


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12201112273?profile=originalThe Trustees are seeking to appoint a new Chief Executive to lead the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). This prestigious Society, established in 1853, exists to educate members of the public by increasing their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of photography and in doing so to promote the highest standards of accomplishment in this art form.

This is an exciting opportunity to join the RPS and to help take the organisation forward to the next stage of its strategic development. Together with a supportive Board and an ambitious staff team, you will help the Society to become an ever more efficient and impactful organisation for its beneficiaries. 

We are seeking an inspirational senior leader who will share the vision and principles of the Society. You will provide robust leadership to the RPS and support its ambitions for growth, development, collaboration and innovation.
You will have demonstrable senior management experience and a clear track record of driving organisations forward from existing positions of strength. Significant experience of transformational leadership and change management from within the visual arts, photography or charitable sectors would be advantageous.

Details here:

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I must firstly apologise that this is not a British photographic enquiry, but I would be very grateful to know whether any members might have ready access either to hard copies or to an online resource of French local trade directories - les annuaires commerciaux.  The localities concerned are specifically Le Touquet and Nice, covering the period between 1920 and 1940.  During this time a firm of street photographers - Philo-Ciné - took pictures of passers by, including holidaying British tourists, probably using the André Debrie Sept cine camera, and normally four frames in a cine sequence were printed out onto a strip of card measuring 24 by 9 cm., the reverse surface being printed as two postcards that could be separated by cutting apart with scissors. 

   They worked from a number of addresses - 1 Rue Halévy, later 23 Promenade des Anglais in NIce in the winter, and 76 later 81 Rue St. Jean in Le Touquet during the summer.  They advertised both in the Paris Soir and Paris Midi between 1934  and 1938 in the "offres d'emplois" columns, looking for amateur photographers, male or female, during the Depression years.  My suspicion is that they were also active during the latter 1920s, but I have yet to confirm this.  Their activities may well have ceased on the outbreak of war.  If any members have any information I would be most grateful to hear from them, or if they can suggest an online resource where I could check.

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12201118067?profile=originalThis is my third recent post that concerns Roger Fenton and his Crimean War connections. In the first, I showed images of his first photographic van that I discovered on landscapes that he took of the British cavalry camp near Kadikoi in the Crimea in 1855. In the second, I suggested that Fenton’s second photographic van was the one photographed at a Photographic Society outing to Hampton Court in 1856. In this post, I argue that Fenton most likely posed mischievously in one of his own group portraits taken in the Crimea in 1855.

The portrait of Roger Fenton on the right was taken by Hugh Welch Diamond in 1856. He wears a French military kepi that is likely to be the same one as he wore at the Photographic Society outing to Hampton Court the same year. It was probably one of his prized possessions from his time in the Crimea. I noticed the same style of kepi (with an almost invisible peak) on the man standing third from the right in an image entitled General Cissé, with Officers and Soldiers in General Bosquet’s Division (see below). The man in question looks remarkably like Fenton. So much so that I strongly believe that it is Fenton. His jacket and the shade of the trousers are also very similar to those that Fenton wore one year later at Hampton Court.

In a letter to his wife dated 6 May 1855, Fenton wrote:

After breakfast yesterday I went there ie to Bosquets & I soon got all the staff round me wanting a trial of my skill. I made a group with Genl Cissey (sic) the chief of the staff in the centre.

‘I made a group…….’ is ambiguous in that it could mean that he was one of the group! Did Marcus Sparling, who was Fenton’s chief assistant and photographic van driver in the Crimea, in fact take this photograph?

General Cissé, with Officers and Soldiers in General Bosquet’s Division was shown in Fenton’s Crimean War exhibition held in London in 1855 as photograph No. 128. I wonder if anyone viewing his works at the time though that they recognised Fenton in the image?12201118481?profile=original

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12201117680?profile=originalFurther to my last post to the blog, I would like to add that Roger Fenton sold the photographic van he took with him to the Crimea in 1855 for £35 just before he left Balaklava to return home. However, he commissioned another when he got back to England and in the summer of 1856 set off with it to photograph landscapes in Scotland.

This new van was most likely the one that appears on an image that was taken at a Photographic Society outing to Hampton Court in 1856 (see right). While most members of the Society in the image are conventionally dressed in formal attire including top hats, Fenton on the far left wears a shabby jacket, a kepi and trousers with a stripe down the seam.

Tim Pickles, who is an expert on Crimean War uniforms, advises me that:

The kepi appears to be a standard French infantry type with a red top, a blue base and gold braid indicating a junior officer. His trousers also seem to be those of a French junior officer. They were deep red verging on crimson with a single wide black stripe. His jacket does not appear to be military, but I suspect it is the one he wore in the Crimea.

Therefore, it is likely that Fenton acquired these items during his visit to the Crimea the previous year. He probably did not wear his best clothes to the outing because he was driving his van and he also wanted to emphasis his Crimean War connections to the gathering.

The full image is below. It also found on the Royal Photographic Society's website at 


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12201117459?profile=originalI am organising a Vintage Photograph Fair, to be held at the Bristol headquarters of the Royal Photographic Society. It will showcase a wide range of fine vintage photographs for sale, from leading photograph dealers in the UK and Europe.

Bristol Vintage Photograph Fair is a new event; offering for the first time in the West of England, an opportunity for collectors of early photography to meet the leading specialist vintage photograph dealers from the UK & Europe, and browse through an exceptional display of rare original photographs, documenting the first 150 years of Photography, from 1840 to 1990.

A wide ranging selection of fine prints, from Britain, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and around the world: Portraiture, Social documentary, Military & Naval campaigns, Architectural studies, Travel, Topography & Landscape, Natural History and wildlife, and much more!

Full details are now on the dedicated website:

Bristol Vintage Photograph Fair. 

Sunday December 1st 2019. 10am to 4pm.

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12201105056?profile=originalMany of us will be familiar with Roger Fenton’s much reproduced photograph of his photographic van, which features Marcus Sparling, his chief assistant the Crimea, sitting on the box seat (see right). The left side of the van also appears in Fenton’s group portrait of cavalry personnel in the image entitled Cooking House, 8th Hussars. Recently, the van has been discovered in another three of his images, which like Cooking House, 8th Hussars, were taken in the spring of 1855 in the cavalry camp located in a valley just to the west of the settlement of Kadikoi about a mile north of the British supply port of Balaklava.

Fenton's van can be identified from the positions of its windows, the words ‘Photographic Van’ painted on its sides and from the shape of what seems likely to have been a bent awning-frame over the roof at its front (see right). During a detailed study of Fenton’s Crimean photographs, the van was found in those entitled Military Camp, Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards, looking towards Kadikoi and Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards. The two latter images were taken at the same time and form an overlapping panorama with the van appearing just to the right of centre in Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards, looking towards Kadikoi and on the left in Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards. Both images were shown next to each other as Nos 62 and 63 in Fenton’s Crimean War exhibition in London in 1855. An error has been noticed in the title of Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards, looking towards Kadikoi. The view actually looks west up the valley and not east down the valley in the direction of Kadikoi. Military Camp was not exhibited in London most likely because a section of the plate left of centre was spoilt.

Magnifications of the parts of Military Camp and Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards, looking towards Kadikoi which show the van are reproduced below (see right and lower right respectively).12201105670?profile=original

The location of the van in Military Camp is on the grass divide that separated the camps of regiments of the Light Brigade  from those of most regiments of the Heavy Brigade of Cavalry. The line of three tents belonging to the Light Brigade seen closer to the camera to the left of the van appears in the background of many of Fenton's portraits taken in the cavalry camp. Images made in the vicinity of the van at this location are entitled Brigadier-General Lord George Paget; Lieutenant-General The Honourable Sir James Yorke Scarlett, K.C.B; Cornet Wilkin, 11th Hussars; Lieutenant King, 4th Light Dragoons; Captain Portal, 4th Light Dragoons, equipped for Balaklava; The Pocket Pistol; Chasseurs d’Afrique Officer and Major Morris, C.B., Royal Artillery.

In the Camp of the 5th Dragoon Guards, looking towards Kadikoi and Camp of the 5th Dragoons, the van is partly 12201105856?profile=originalobscured. Only the front of the van can be seen protruding from behind a dark coloured hut. In the area between the van and the camera, Fenton is believed to have taken his portraits entitled Major Burton, 5th Dragoon Guards and Captain Bernand, 5th Dragoon Guards. Another mistake in an image title was made here as the latter’s name was actual spelt ‘Burnand’.

The 5th Dragoon Guards were in the Heavy Brigade. The huts and tents in the background (see right), which lie across the grass divide that separated the camps of the Heavy and the Light Brigade, belong to the 8th Hussars. The stretch of grass in view is lower down than the same slope seen behind the van in Military Camp. Fenton took portraits entitled Colonel Clarke, Scots’ Greys, with the Horse wounded at Balaklava; Mr Angel, Postmaster; Captain Seymour, 68th Light Infantry; Captain Inglis, 5th Dragoon Guards; Colonel Shewell, Light Cavalry; Colonel Doherty and the Officers of the 13th Light Dragoons and others a little further up this slope to the left.

More information on Fenton's van can be found in an article entitled ‘Roger Fenton’s Photographic Van’ in The War Correspondent 36 (3), pp. 24-30 (March 2019).

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12201115274?profile=originalThe V&A is advertising for an Assistant Curator, Photographs, to replace Catherine Troiano who has moved to a curatorial role at the National Trust. Applications are required by 9 September 2019. 

The V&A is the world's leading museum of art, design and performance. We enrich people's lives by promoting the practice of art and design and increasing knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world.

We are currently recruiting for the post of Assistant Curator in the Photographs Section of the Word & Image Department (WID). The post holder will care for and provide physical and intellectual access to the permanent collections.

The successful candidate will be educated up to at least degree level with substantive experience of work or volunteering within a museum or other relevant cultural organisation. Excellent grammatical English, computer skills and a knowledge of the history of photography are essential.

Please note that the V&A is unable to sponsor visa applications.

See more here.

Closing date for applications: Monday 9 September 2019 at 5pm.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 24 September 2019. 

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12201114475?profile=originalPAN reader Michael-John Jennings the Picture Librarian at News UK is supplying a monthly from the photo archive to The Times newspaper online and tablet editions. MJ told PAN "The aim being to promote our superb archive but also provide some unique content which directly relates to the current news agenda. The readers comments have mostly been very encouraging, good engagement." 

Read more here:

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12201104268?profile=originalThe Netherlands has until now lacked a meeting point for vintage photography. Inspired by the famous Frido Troost (1960-2013), whose Institute of Concrete Matter, offered a space where collectors, curators and photographers could meet and have extraordinary encounters and dialogues on photography, two curators and three collectors have joined forces and initiated Dialogue.

Dialogue is organized by the Dialogue Foundation, a not-for-profit organization aiming to further the interest in vintage photography and photobooks in the broadest sense of the word. At the time of writing some 33 exhibitors of vintage and contemporary photography from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom are signed up and they will show some 15,000 photographs in 1700m2 of space. Over 1000 visitors are expected on the day.

The photograph fair is supported by a public programme of talks, workshops and exhibitions.

Find our more here: or email:

There is still space for exhibitors. 

Dialogue takes place on 21 September 2019 at CEC Amsterdam, Bijlmerdreef 1289 Amsterdam, Netherlands. Admission is by free ticket. 

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