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12201126691?profile=originalWhen Sevastopol was abandoned by the Russians on the night of 8-9 September 1855 during the Crimean War, the city became accessible to the Allies and artists/photographers were able to document the destruction wrought by numerous bombardments by British and French siege batteries. The first to enter Sevastopol were the British war artist William Simpson, the professional photographic team of James Robertson and Felice Beato based in Constantinople and the war tourist/amateur photographer George Shaw-Lefevre. In mid-November 1855, Jean-Charles Langlois, a career soldier and historical painter, and Léon-Eugène Méhédin, a young photographer, also arrived from France. Langlois, who specialized in battle panoramas, was hoping to replace preliminary sketches for a new panorama with photographs.12201127654?profile=original12201127495?profile=original

The church of St Peter and St Paul built on Central Hill in Sevastopol in the early 1840s was a notable architectural structure styled on the ancient temple of Theseus in Athens and, like many other buildings in the city, suffered damage from gun fire. A photograph entitled Sébastopol: L’église de Saint Pierre et Saint Paul (above right) by the Langlois/Méhédin team shows the church roofless with missing columns and the collapse of part of the pediment at its southwest corner. Trees to the right of the church are leafless indicating that the picture was probably taken late in 1855 or early in 1856.

The church also appears roofless on the far right skyline of a photograph by Robertson/Beato entitled Theatre, Sevastopol by the Royal Collection Trust (left). However, the front pediment that has partially collapsed in Langlois/Méhédin image appears intact in this view. Leafless trees suggests it was taken late in 1855 during the first visit of these photographers to the Crimea.

Another Crimean photograph attributed to Robertson/Beato entitled Church of St Peter and St Paul (right) by the Royal Collection Trust shows the same church, but with its roof and southwest corner intact. Only the top half of one of its front columns is missing. The image could not have been taken earlier than the fall of the city, as there was no access for British and French artists. The leaves on the trees suggest that it was taken either soon after the Russians left Sevastopol in the early autumn of 1855 or during the second visit of Robertson/Beato to the Crimea in the spring and summer of 1856.

As the camera does not lie, the author believes that there are two possible alternatives to the inconsistencies in damage to the church seen in the three photographs. The first is that Church of St Peter and St Paul was taken by Robertson/Beato immediately after the city was occupied by the Allies in September 1855 and then it collapsed because of structural weakness or deliberate human intervention for safety reasons to be photographed later by Langlois/Méhédin. Given that the roof is missing, but the front pediment appears in place, in the other Robertson/Beato image, this collapse may have been progressive. The second theory is that the Langlois/Méhédin image was taken before Robertson/Beato took Church of St Peter and St Paul and that the latter was photographed in the summer of 1856 after restoration work had started. The carts in the picture could have been associated with the reconstruction effort. However, the amount of structural work needed by the Russians to get from the condition of the church in the Langlois/Méhédin picture to its appearance in Church of St Peter and St Paul in just a few months after the armistice in March 1856 would have required a tremendous effort at a time when labour would have been at a premium and there were many other priorities. Therefore, the author thinks this sequence of events to have been highly unlikely. The first theory is also supported by a website that suggests that work to rebuild the church did not begin until 1888 when local merchants donated funds for the work. Perhaps someone else has another explanation?


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12201118091?profile=originalSotheby’s has announced that it will be offering a copy of John Thomson’s Views on the North River (Hong Kong, 1870) in its auction of Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History on 12 November 2019.

This is the rarest of all of Thomson’s photobooks on China, of which fewer than 10 copies are known and only 3 copies are located in institutional libraries. The last copy sold at auction was 38 years ago at Sotheby’s Belgravia on 17 June 1981, lot 194 which realised £1,500. The estimate for this copy is £20,000-30,000 GBP.

12201117693?profile=originalThis publication was the result of Thomson's sailing voyage in the summer of 1870 up the North Pearl River from Canton (Guangzhou), and was reviewed in the Hongkong Daily Press on 31st October 1870: 'Mr Thomson has just published a volume of admirable photographs of scenes on the North River, entered about 40 miles above Canton through the Fatshan creek. The views, which are beautifully executed, are accompanied by a short description of the places which they respectively represent ... Better praise cannot be given to them than stating that they are fully up to the standard of the previous views which have gained Mr Thomson the high reputation he enjoys.' (quoted in Bennett).
'Views on the North River would have been expensive to produce and the print run was probably small ... Later in 1870 12201118695?profile=originalThomson was in Foochow (Fuzhou) to embark on a trip along the River Min where he produced some of his most powerful landscape work' (Bennett, T. History of Photography in China: Western Photographers 1861-1879 (Quaritch, 2010), p. 227

The Sotheby’s sale also includes an album of 37 albumen prints of Hong Kong by Thomson (c. 1868) and many other albums of 19th and early 20th century topographical photographs of the world. Enquiries:

Images from Thomson’s ‘Views on the North River’, Courtesy: Sotheby's. 

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12201111472?profile=originalThe National Trust has announced two new vacancies at The Hardmans’ House. The full time fixed-term Archivist and Digitisation Conservator roles will be based at Liverpool Central Library and Archives on a two year project that will focus on the cataloguing, digitising and rehousing of the Edward Chambré Hardman Photographic Collection.

Archivist -

Digitisation Conservator -

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12201116484?profile=originalFor anyone practising the Malde-Ware platinum/palladium printing-out method of photography, there is a call for submission of work for possible inclusion in Pradip Malde's forthcoming book on this process.  The book will be published in the Focal Press series, edited by Christina Z. Anderson.

Open call: Photographs by the platinum/palladium print-out method using ammonium salts.
Submission deadline is December 15, 2019.

Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge, has spearheaded a series entitled Contemporary Practices in Alternative Process Photography. Each book in the series is devoted to a single process, or a process and its related techniques. Now, Focal Press/Routledge and Pradip Malde, with Mike Ware, are teaming up to publish a book about the platinum/palladium print-out method using ammonium salts.

Submission of works requires the completion of this form, and uploading between 3 and 10 image files as indicated below. Note the image file format: TIFF file, no compression, in sRGB colorspace, 8 bits per channel, sized as close to but no larger than 300ppi, 10˝ longest side, maximum file size 40 MB each. Each file must be named: <yourlastname_filename>.tiff or, if submitting for a group: <groupname_filename>tiff e.g. malde_20190902.tiff or kozoeditions_20190902.tif.

In addition to the print images, please try to include a photograph/scan of a standardized color target, captured under the same conditions as the prints–this will allow for color-accurate reproduction. There are suggestions about how to copy and scan here:

Please try to include at least one vertical image and one horizontal in the submission, as this will increase the options for fitting images into multiple page formats and layouts.

Submission does not guarantee that your image(s) will be published. Although there is no monetary compensation, the benefits include wide exposure of your work, a publication line on your résumé, and the placing of your work in a contemporary account about the platinum/palladium print-out method using ammonium salts.

If your work is accepted, you will be asked to respond to a supplemental 500 to 2000-word questionnaire about your working process, and to complete a release form.

See more here

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12201125868?profile=originalIn Summer 2020, Dulwich Picture Gallery will present the first exhibition to trace the history of photography as told through depictions of nature, revealing how the subject led to key advancements in the medium, from its very beginnings in 1840 to present day. Unearthed: Photography’s Roots will be the first major photography show at Dulwich Picture Gallery, bringing together over 100 works by 25 leading international photographers, many never seen before.

Arranged chronologically, it will highlight the innovations of some of the medium’s key figures, including William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) and Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) and several overlooked photographers including Japanese artist, Kazumasa Ogawa (1860-1929) and the English gardener, Charles Jones (1866-1959). It will be the first show to publicly exhibit work by Jones, whose striking modernist photographs of plants remained unknown until 20 years after his death, when they were discovered in a trunk at Bermondsey Market in 1981.

Questioning the true age of photography, the exhibition will open with some of the first known Victorian images by William Henry Fox Talbot, positioning his experimentation with paper negatives as the very beginning of photography. It will also include a large collection of works by the first female photographer, Anna Atkins (1799-1871), and 3D stereoscopic work by the Lumiere Brothers - which will be displayed publicly for the first time.

With a focus on botany and science throughout, themed rooms will range from typology and form, to experiments with colour and modernism and bohemia. Final rooms in the show will display more recent advancements in the medium, with the glamour and eroticism of artists Robert Maplethorpe (1946–1989) and Nobuyoshi Araki (b. 1940), and experimentations with still life compositions. The exhibition will also examine the influence of Dutch still life painting on photography.

12201126273?profile=originalDulwich Picture Gallery’s unique architecture and surrounding green spaces will provide the ideal setting for the exhibition. Its Mausoleum will host work by renowned video artist, Ori Gersht (b.1967), On Reflection, displayed publicly for the first time in the UK, and visitors will be encouraged to explore the Gallery’s gardens as part of their visit.

Unearthed: Photography’s Roots is curated by Alexander Moore, Head of Exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and former Head of Exhibitions for Mario Testino. He said: “Plants and photographs are similar in their makeup; both require light, water and minerals in order to transform, and they are sensitive, delicate objects. Visitors will find something unexpected in this exhibition; from the medium’s astounding yet overlooked female pioneers to the undiscovered genius of Charles Jones, I hope that people will leave having made their own discoveries.”

Jennifer Scott, The Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: “Unearthed: Photography’s Roots will be the first of its kind at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The Gallery itself is embedded in nature in its beautiful grounds, making for a meaningful and inspiring visitor experience, both indoors and outdoors. Visitors will see a large number of photographs that have never been exhibited before. The exhibition will reveal the fascinating technical processes and narratives behind these images, whilst exploring the rich history of the medium.”

The exhibition will include a number of major loans from public and private collections, many never displayed publicly before. Lenders include The Horniman Museum and Gardens, the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, Michael Hoppen Gallery and Blain Southern.

Images: Charles Jones, Broccoli Leamington, c.1895-1910,. Image courtesy Sean Sexton / Dulwich Picture Gallery.  Kazumasa Ogawa, Morning Glory, from ‘Some Japanese Flowers’, ca. 1894. /  Dulwich Picture Gallery.

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Kickstarter: Loupe magazine Issue 10

12201109897?profile=originalLoupe is a free photography magazine widely available across the UK. Launched in 2016 and now published on a bi-annual basis, it is best known for featuring a diverse range of contemporary photography. Over the years it has built a loyal following and has launched a Kickstarter funding call to to make Issue 10 the best and most widely available to date. 

Find out more and support here:

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12201124281?profile=originalSeptember 2019 marks the 30th anniversary since the establishment of Street Level Photoworks. To celebrate this landmark anniversary it will be looking back on the history of those who have helped shape Street Level Photoworks. But it also means celebrating the present and in looking forward to the future of what photography offers diverse audiences and artists and all that this means for our ongoing partnerships and collaborations.

Since being founded in 1989 by Glasgow Photography Group, a collective of photographers and those passionate about the medium, Street Level's core aim has remained consistent in providing people with a range of opportunities to engage with photography, as artists, participants, audiences, and sector partners. Over our 30 year history we have worked with a considerable number of artists and facilitators to deliver exhibitions, community collaborations, workshops, talks, residency exchanges and all manner of events in between that champion the diversity and creativity of photography from Scotland and further afield.

Read more here:

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12201117491?profile=originalThe Living Picture Craze: An Introduction to Victorian Film. Film takes a starring role in this free online course from the British Film Institute exploring the emergence of a new medium that was set to capture the world's imagination. 

Explore the birth of film and the end of Queen Victoria’s epic reign. Roll up! Roll up! Take your seats for the ‘Living Picture’ craze! In this course we journey back to the end of the Victorian era; a time of intense modernisation and unprecedented change. Using the BFI’s unique collection of surviving Victorian films we will debate common myths about the period and the materials, as well as examine what the films reveal about the society that produced them.

We will be your expert guides to these incredible films, leading you through the many spectacles and curiosities made during film’s formative years, 1895-1901.

See more here:

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Meeting: William Crookes (1832-1919)

12201116454?profile=originalThis year marks the centenary of the death of William Crookes. Journalist, chemist, photographer, spiritualist, businessman, sometime Secretary of the Royal Institution and President of the Royal Society of London, Crookes was a key figure in the science of the second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. This meeting, which is part of the ChemFest celebrations of the sesquicentenary of the periodic table, will examine various aspects of Crookes's extraordinary career and his place in science. The AGM of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry will be held before the meeting at 13.15.

He edited the Journal of the photographic Society and Photographic News at various times. 


13.30     Registration

13:45     Welcome and Introduction: Frank James, (Royal Institution and Chair of SHAC)

First Session Chair: Anna Simmons (UCL)

13.50     Richard Noakes (Exeter University). 'Two Parallel Lines'? The Trajectories of Physical and Psychical Research in the Work of William Crookes

14:30     Kelley Wilder (De Montfort University, Leicester). William Crookes, a life in Photo-Chemistry

15.10     Refreshment Break 

Second Session Chair: Peter Morris (Chair of RSCHG)

15.30     Frank James (Royal Institution and UCL). William Crookes and Michael Faraday

16.10     Paul Ranford (UCL). Crookes’s “Invisible Helper” – George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903)

16.50     William Brock (University of Leicester). The key to the deepest mystery of nature: Crookes, periodicity and the genesis and evolution of the elements   

17.30     Close of meeting


There is no charge for this meeting, but prior registration is essential. Please email Robert Johnstone ( if you would like to attend. If having registered, you are unable to attend, please notify Robert Johnstone.

William Crookes (1832-1919)

Saturday 19 October 2019, Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

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12201115068?profile=originalThe College of Optometrists has updated its museum website to provide a legacy page for its temporary exhibition on Victorian cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards of people wearing spectacles or showing signs of visual impairment.

We Called to See You featuring loan items from the Ron Cosens Collection alongside the College's own photographic collection, ran for two years until 16 September 2019. In common with all past exhibitions at the College, an edited version of the exhibition labelling has now replaced the online publicity page for the exhibition.

12201115497?profile=originalInspired by Ron, the College Museum has also renewed its interest in collecting items in this particular field and would be pleased to receive offers to donate relevant material. Cards showing spectacles, monocles, pince-nez, or the eyes of blind people or those with strabismus or ocular injuries and disfigurement would all be suitable for this, as would cards on which the backs give details of photographers who were also opticians.

The image, a detail from a carte-de-visite in the Ron Cosens Collection, shows the blind Member of Parliament Henry Fawcett, who lost his sight in a shooting accident but went on to invent the postal order. The College Museum also includes many other images on this subject, found in paintings, drawings, engravings and lithographs, and on coins, medals or postage stamps. It also has a camera collection, with a particular strength in products by J. Lizars, Opticians of Glasgow.

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12201122696?profile=originalPhotography in China is the dominant theme in Dominic Winter’s 320-lot photography sale on 3rd October.

Highlight among the 50 China lots is the notoriously rare Views on the North River (1870) by John Thomson (1837-1921), estimated at £15,000-20,000. But with only 4 copies in institutions and even fewer copies in private hands it may well exceed expectations. The copy, with 14 mounted albumen prints, is preserved in the original printed boards and carries the contemporary ownership signatures of George Dods MD (1836-1909), Acting Colonial Surgeon in Hong Kong, his son William Kane Dods, and another surgeon, Charles M. Normand. The book was recently unearthed by descendants of the Dods/Normand family along with a magnificent album of albumen print views of Hong Kong, c.1868-70, by Thomson (£10,000-15,000), and a similar album of views of Hong Kong and China by Thomson’s rival William Pryor Floyd (£7,000-10,000). A third Hong Kong album, including views by Lai Afong taken after the typhoon of 1874, (£1,000-1,500), and a group of Dods/Normand scrap albums with Chinese photographs, c.1860s-1880s, (£300-500), rounds off this small time capsule of a western family of collectors of photography in Hong Kong in the 1870s.

12201123260?profile=originalFrom other vendors there is a 4-volume first edition set of Thomson’s highly successful Illustrations of China and its People (1870), £20,000-30,000; and a rare 3-part albumen print panorama of Dalian Bay (1860) by Felice Beato, £5,000-7,000.

Other highlights of the sale include:

  • Benjamin Brecknell Turner, The Willowsay, 1852-4, £6,000-8,000
  • Roger Fenton, Photographic Art Treasures, Part I, 1856, £1,000-1,500
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, The Dream, 1869, £15,000-20,000
  • India. [Photographic biographies of Indian rulers], 2 parts in 1 volume, c.1880, £7,000-10,000
  • Herbert Boucher Dobbie, New Zealand Ferns, 2 parts, Auckland, 1880, £7,000-10,000
  • H.C. White & Co. A group of 188 half stereoviews of China, c.1900-10, £2,000-3,000
  • Wilhelm von Gloeden, 5 lots of photographs of Sicilian youths, c. 1900
  • Herbert Ponting, 7 lots of photographs from the Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-13
  • Cottingley Fairies, 6 lots of photographs featuring a full set of this famous hoax, c.1920
  • Martin Munkacsi, 28 lots of contacts prints, c.1960
  • Photobooks (30 lots) including Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first book Beautiful Jaipur (1948) and Helmut Newton’s Sumo (1999); Cameras and accessories (20 lots).

Finally, among the more intriguing early photography lots is a personal album with loosely inserted full-plate albumen print photogenic drawings of ferns by the very little-known William Henry Dupe (1824-1901), butler at Thenford, Northamptonshire. The album comprises a mixture of Dupe’s own photographs, seemingly dating back to Somerset in 1856, along with studio cartes de visite and some commercial photographs, and related news cuttings. Dupe photographed the local churches and area and being of humble origins was interested in photographing local people of all social strata, including the elderly. Seemingly Dupe left service at Thenford [now the home of Michael and Anne Heseltine] to become a full-time photographer, even winning prizes in Switzerland and New South Wales. If there is anyone with additional information about the mysterious Dupe we would be glad to hear and to share.

Printed catalogues available from the auction offices (£15 post inclusive). Public viewing daily from 1st October, 9am-6pm and morning of sale from 9am; other times strictly by appointment.

For further information and enquiries please contact Chris Albury / 01285 860006

Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Mallard House, Broadway Lane, South Cerney, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5UQ

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Research request: A street telescope

12201121085?profile=originalI am looking for any information on this stereo view, a street telescope, View Saturn and Jupiter! No information on the back. I have no Idea about the origin, England, France, Italy?

Does anyone recognize this image or telescope?

many thanks in advance,

David 12201122284?profile=original


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12201120489?profile=originalLindy Grant, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading and Tom Nickson, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, have created an online exhibition of images of Notre-Dame de Paris from the collections of the Conway Library of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

This exhibition consists of texts and engravings by British artists showing the cathedral before the 19th century restorations and photographs taken during the restorations of Viollet-le-Duc. It is completed by photos taken by a British tourist in 1911 and by the famous architectural photographer A.F. Kersting (1916-2008) in 1958 and 1964. Finally, photographs of the Macmillan Commission, created during the Second World War to record damage to buildings in Europe, are presented.

Thanks to Lindy Grant and Tom Nickson for this initiative to discover the images of Notre-Dame in the collections of the Conway Library. Link to the exhibition:

"This online exhibition features images of the cathedral of Notre-Dame taken from the Conway Library at The Courtauld. We have chosen images that help to tell the story of the cathedral. Many of them are photographs taken in the 19th century, during the restoration of the cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc. We have included some prints made by English artists which show the cathedral before the restoration. Evocative images of the cathedral in its cityscape are found in photographs by a British tourist, taken around 1911, and by the great architectural photographer A. F. Kersting in the third quarter of the 20th century. The early post-war city captured by Kersting now seems almost as remote as that of 1911. Photographs from the Macmillan Commission recording war damage in Europe during the Second World War show the emotive power of the cathedral and its ability to survive.

The Conway Library at The Courtauld is a collection of approximately one million photographic and printed images of architecture, sculpture and medieval painting. It was founded by the journalist, mountaineer, politician and pioneering art historian, Martin Conway, Lord Conway of Allington. Conway began collecting images of works of art as a student in the 1880s, and bequeathed his collection to The Courtauld Institute of Art when it was founded in 1932. The collection has been augmented since then by gifts from several other photographers and collectors (including Kersting and the Macmillan Collection), and by an active programme of photography in the second half of the 20th century. A project to provide a digitised version of the entire collection is currently underway."

Taken (and in part translated from) Société française d'Archéologie <>
SFA. Lettre d'information N ° 32

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12201107888?profile=originalUntil now, the Netherlands 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 joined forces and initiated Dialogue.12201107888?profile=original

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12201116659?profile=originalFotomuseum Winterthur and the FilmColors research teams of Prof. Dr. Barbara Flueckiger are proud to present the exhibition Color Mania – The Material of Color in Photography and Film, curated by Nadine Wietlisbach, Director of Fotomuseum Winterthur and Dr. Eva Hielscher, Film Scholar and Guest Curator.

The show exhibits film strips, large-format images and original prints, by which the development and history of color as a material in photography and film are illustrated. The exhibition examines the web of connections and processes of exchange between the media of photography and film, shedding light on the material dimensions of photo and film colors and focusing attention on their fascinating abundance.

Yet Color Mania does not just include exhibits related to historical color film and photography. The historical processes enter into a dialogue with works of art by contemporary artists, which demonstrate how these color processes are utilised today and how the material nature of color, as viewed through the prism of technology and cultural theory, is reflected on in current photography and the broader artistic landscape. In this regard, the works by Dunja Evers, Raphael Hefti, Barbara Kasten and Alexandra Navratil amplify certain aspects explored in the exhibition by means of historical documents and objects. The historical realm is connected here to an experimental and reflective approach drawing on a contemporary perspective.

The exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Barbara Flueckiger’s research projects ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors. Bridging the Gap between Technology and Aesthetics and SNSF Film Colors. Technologies, Cultures, Institutions at the University of Zurich, with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation as an Agora project for science communication.

12201117252?profile=originalThe film coloring workshop by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ruedel, HTW Berlin, will be one of the highlights of the related activities. Book your slot soon, the workshop will certainly be sold out quickly.

In addition there is a smartphone app with background information and color visualizations from the VIAN software. The app has been developed by Josua Fröhlich, in collaboration with the Visualization and MultiMedia Lab of Prof. Dr. Renato Pajarola, and Gaudenz Halter, all at the Department of Informatics, University of Zurich.


Short film program Color Moods at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 07 to 10, 2019

Special guided tour with Barbara Flueckiger, professor for film studies (University of Zurich), and book launch Color Mania, Saturday, Nov 9, 2019, 2 pm

Link to the exhibition at Fotomuseum Winterhur and the various activities:

Download Flyer: PDF English | 

PDF DeutschLocation and Hours:

Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
CH-8400 Winterthur (Zurich)
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm,
Wednesday 11am–8pm

Winterthur is located in the Greater Zurich Area, close to Zurich Airport, easily reached by public transport.

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Festival: St Andrews / 4-27 October 2019

12201115852?profile=originalThe interplay between scientific studies and the photographic medium is the theme for this year's St Andrew's Photography Festival. The programme includes a symposium, exhibitions and public events all taking science and photography which draw on the rich collections of the University of St Andrews. A number are of particular interest to those interested in photographic history, including: 

  • The Moon; Nasmith & Carpenter
  • Tracing Movement: Animal Locomotion, Photography and the Emergence of Cinema
  • Animal Locomotion; Edweard Muybridge
  • Images of Knowledge: Karl Blossfeldt’s Originary Forms of Art
  • Seeing the Past: Digitally Reconstructing and Recording Historic Sites
  • Chemistry of Colour
  • Shooting Stars: 19th Century Astronomical Photography

Download the full programme here (PDF).

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12201114676?profile=originalInvestigate the fascinating history and theories of photography in this weekend-long course hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and delivered by Professor Mark  Rawlinson. 

In 1859, Charles Baudelaire famously described photography as “art’s mortal enemy” and argued its proper function was to be the “very humble servant” of the sciences and arts. For Baudelaire, photography’s ability to reproduce nature exactly was its genius but also its fatal flaw. Unlike art, for Baudelaire, photographic representation could not elevate its subject – the sitter of a portrait or the view of a landscape – because it simply mirrored them and made a copy and photography should be to art what the printing press was to literature: a tool.

Such criticisms require us to ask some important questions about photography: what is it? why does it exist? what is it for? And, of course, is photography art? It also asks us to consider the relationship between photography and the arts more widely. For example, how has non-photographic art and architecture influenced photography, and vice-versa?

Photography’s aspiration to be considered equal to painting is obvious in images from the 19th and early 20th centuries which echo and mimic painterly compositions and artistic styles. The emergence of painterly abstraction was paralleled in photography, but rather than simply copy painting, photography explored new visual territory, and on its own terms becoming avant-garde. The 20th century witnessed the birth of self-conscious modes of photography: straight, staged, abstract, collaged, and camera-less photographic techniques were reinvented. So too were the processes of making, printing, and exhibiting photography. Even the truth claims of documentary photography – the genre best aligned to ‘copying’ reality – continue to be reasserted and challenged.

To better understand these questions and relationships, this course explores photographic histories in relation to art history’s own complicated relationship with the medium. Sessions will consider a variety of historical moments where art and photography collide, points in time where art, photography and criticism were irrevocably altered.

From the 19th Century Eadweard Muybridge’s work in photographic studies of motion to the contemporary David Hockney's artworks, the course traces and illuminates the productive relationship between photographic practices and art.

London: Royal Academy
8-9 November, 2019
See more and book here.

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12201107477?profile=originalKresen Kernow holds hundreds of thousands of historic images of Cornwall and of people and events connected to Cornwall. Some of these images are glass negatives, others are engravings, prints and postcards. Some are glued into albums, others are loose in wallets and envelopes. 

Many of the pictures have came through individual family collections. We also have the collection of press photographer George Ellis which contains over 100,000 glass negatives.  Ellis came to Bodmin from London at the outbreak of World War II and stayed, photographing north and east Cornwall and its people throughout the war and into the 1970s.

The Historic Environment Record also contains thousands of images of the historic buildings and features which dot the Cornish landscape. These include images of bridges, windows, bunkers and crosses, as well as an extensive collection of aerial photographs.

Digitising our image collection is an on-going project, mostly carried out by volunteers. We have prioritised digitising glass negatives to make them more accessible. You can browse digitised images here.

Image: Photograph,Cooks Kitchen Mine, 1893.

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