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12201150289?profile=originalA new BBC ALBA documentary to be transmitted on New Year’s Eve reveals newly discovered photos taken during the construction of the railway line between Fort William and Mallaig from the late 1890s. Arguably one of the most spectacular railway lines in the world, this collection of over one hundred plates were unearthed in a sale in Cornwall in 2019. 

Local musician Ingrid Henderson follows the story of these photographs, what they reveal about lives and people in Lochaber, and attempts to discover the artist behind the lens.  At the same time she creates new music to pay tribute to the railway and the people who built it. For Ingrid, born in Mallaig, brought up in Fort William and now living and working in Glenfinnan, the railway has always been present in her life. 

In this programme, which is called Song of the Track/Ceol na Loidhne, Ingrid travels the line stopping at stations along the route to find the places in the photographs, and looks for inspiration to compose a new album. Producer Annie Cheape, said: “This previously unpublished original source material features over 100 images of the build project led by contractors Robert McAlpine and Sons, and includes the renowned Glenfinnan Viaduct.  Along with construction they document the people working on the railway, and the dangerous conditions they encountered.

12201151096?profile=original“These images reveal the faces of the nurses who tended the injured in the make-shift field hospitals. Hundreds of men died to drive this section of the railway through one of the roughest terrains in Britain.  Many hundreds were injured while blasting through the rocks, most of them navies from Ireland or the Scottish islands.

“Many men were injured during the rock blasting, but alcohol was a huge problem too.  Men died of hypothermia after drinking too much, or had accidents on Monday morning while still under the influence.  As a result, McAlpine set up an innovative scheme of licensed drinking huts with safe whisky.    

“These images also reveal the faces of the nurses who tended the injured in the make-shift field hospitals. They are smiling, look relaxed, happy and enjoying themselves.  It’s unusual to see women of this period photographed in this informal way.

12201152459?profile=originalWith the help of the Lochaber Archive Centre, Ingrid attempts to find the names of some of these women. She also visits Hege Hernes who lives at Glenfinnan Station, who reveals evidence to suggest that the photos were taken by Tom Malcolm McAlpine, one of Robert MacAlpine’s sons. He was a manager of a section of the line where one of the men was badly injured during concrete blasting, and some of the photographs document his recuperation.  

Sgeul Media made Song of the Track/Ceol na Loidhne for BBC ALBA and it airs on Thursday, December 31 at 9pm. It will also be available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.

BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms: Sky 141 (Scotland) / Sky 169 (rest of UK)· Freeview / You View 7 (Scotland only)· Virgin Media 161· Freesat 109 · BBC iPlayer.

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12201149885?profile=originalThe National Science and Media Museum in Bradford is undertaking the digitisation of the Daily Herald Archive to greatly improve the public accessibility of this nationally important collection. We are therefore recruiting two Junior Photographers to start on the 1st February 2021 in order to undertake large scale, rapid, professional imaging of this collection.

You will be working with Collections Care Assistants and an Archivist to provide high quality images of the archive based in “Insight”, the collections research centre at NSMM. Using your meticulous attention to detail you will ensure accurate handling and photographing of photographic prints within a fast-paced project environment, using innovative workflows and professional technology.

The role offers a unique opportunity to work with one of the world’s greatest photographic collections. You will play a crucial role in making this collection available digitally through the Collections Online portal. As a result, you will be self-motivated and able to work effectively as part of a team.

See more and apply by 10 January 2021:

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12201149072?profile=originalThere's a delightful accessible online 1974 short BBC documentary of elderly Gandolfi brothers of Gandolfi & Sons camera makers of Peckham, London which company had operated in the area for over 100 years. The artisan nature of the skilled brothers at the end of their camera crafting working lives has one of the brothers in distinctive 'artisan accent' poetically and poignantly ending the clip with "For soon my fingers will fumble, and in my hands lie my life" resigned he will not be making his cameras anymore of their world renowned precision handmade crafting.


And while we're at it here's another 1981 clip of the Gandolfi brothers ;


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Hyman Collection 2020 annual update

12201148464?profile=originalThe Hyman Collection has published its 2020 annual update which can be read on its website. Of particular note is the availability of bespoke loans and exhibitions from the extensive collection and the establishment of the Hyman Foundation, a new charitable foundation to support photography in Britain.

The Hyman Foundation aims to facilitate the work of contemporary artists, fund research and scholarship, and address issues of legacy and the preservation of archives. To serve these objectives, we plan to create a series of funded grants and projects. It aims to: 

  • Provide grants with a focus on young artists and women working in photography as well as research grants for art historical scholarship
  • Mentor young and mid-career artists to advise on their careers, consider legacy issues, and encourage best practice for archiving their work.
  • Work with artists in later stages of their career to help preserve, archive and digitize photographic work for future heritage.
  • Establish and maintain an archive, collection and library of historical and contemporary photographs.
  • Form partnerships with other arts organizations, including Universities, to provide a hub for British photography past, present and future.

The Foundation trustees are: Claire and James Hyman, Christiane Monarchi (who edits Photomonitor) and Gary Blaker QC. 

Read the newsletter here:

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12201145896?profile=originalThe University of St Andrews is pleased to offer a full scholarship funded by St Leonard’s Postgraduate College, to support an exceptional student undertaking doctoral research in the following project: Feminist Documentary Photography and Activist Networks.

The past two decades have witnessed a surge of scholarly and curatorial interest in feminist art production in the UK, building on the foundational feminist art histories of the 1970s and 1980s. Yet feminist contributions to – and reformulations of – documentary photography remain under-studied, particularly practices and networks beyond London. Equally, despite significant growth in interest, the work of women and non-binary photographers in wider histories of photography remains marginalised. This doctoral project builds on the University of St Andrews’s world-leading photographic collections to offer a vital opportunity to expand existing knowledge of feminist documentary in Scotland and beyond, fostering cultural understandings of transnational feminist engagements with gender, race, class and sexuality, and the extensive artist-activist networks that ensued.   

The Franki Raffles Photography Collection in the University of St Andrews Special Collections forms an exceptional resource from which to base a project on this topic. Franki Raffles (1955–1994) was a Scotland-based socialist feminist documentary photographer whose collection contains over 40,000 photographs, together with extensive archival papers, which are only just beginning to be fully historicised and contextualised. The collection comprises multiple projects engaging with gendered divisions of labour in countries spanning China, Israel and Russia. It provides a unique springboard for studying how feminist photographers consciously shaped their individual practices through collaboration, both with other artists and with activist groups such as the Zero Tolerance domestic violence awareness campaign.   

From this base, the candidate will be well-positioned to expand outwards to consider other related collections in Scotland and the UK. These include the wider Franki Raffles Archive Project led by Edinburgh Napier, and the significant array of holdings on feminist organisations at the Glasgow Women’s Library, together with resources held by the National Trust for Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and the National Galleries of Scotland. The successful candidate will be supported in identifying further archival and photographic collections in the UK and internationally, in order to map the fundamentally relational way in which many feminist practitioners have worked. Excavating these alternative forms of image production entails considering photography’s institutional contexts, from sites of display to printing and publications, looking to unorthodox modes of exchange outside the official art world. This will deliver new insight into the role of feminist documentary in shaping, challenging and re-making cultural understandings of gender, race, class and sexuality, and illuminating how photography has been deployed as an activist tool as much as a repressive representational mechanism.   

The student will be supervised by Dr Catherine Spencer and Dr Natalie Adamson. 

The award covers full tuition fees for up to three years as well as an annual stipend payable at the standard UK Research Council rate (the 2021-22 annual rate is £15,560). The start date for taking up this award is September 2021. Applicants must not already hold a doctoral degree; or be matriculated for a doctoral degree at the University of St Andrews or another institution. 

Informal enquiries regarding this scholarship may be addressed to Dr Catherine Spencer – email

Further information is available here.

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12201145470?profile=originalThe University of Liverpool is offering a PhD studentship entitled 'The Migrant Eye: Reactivating the Photographic Past through Archives and Exhibitions in Liverpool and North West England'. It is supervised by Professor Michelle Henning and Dr Jordana Blejmar, both in the Department of Communication and Media.

This collaborative doctoral project between the University of Liverpool and Tate will investigate photography archives and the work of named photographers to address the experience of exiles, migrants, stateless, and marginalised people. The partnership will benefit from Tate Liverpool’s strong interest, under its new director, Helen Legg, in addressing the Liverpool region’s migration history and its multiculturalism, particularly in relation to its vibrant contribution to the arts and photography. Together, we are interested in the photographer as a marginalised or migrant figure, how marginalisation and the experience of migration might inform their gaze, how such photographers have come to contest and to shape a cultural and collective memory, and how that can inform contemporary curatorial, learning and interpretation practices. 

Full details are here and the deadline for applications is 5 February 2021. 

To find out more please contact Professor Henning directly by email at or call: 0151 795 8694.  


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12201144693?profile=originalThe School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC) has a long-standing reputation as a world-leading centre for innovative teaching and research. The following studentship is available: Amnesty, Archives, Activism: Photojournalism and the Development of Human Rights Media Campaigns in Britain since the 1960s. Supervisor and contact information to obtain further details: Dr Tom Allbeson

See more here.

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12201144265?profile=originalThe Network for Developing Photographic Research is inviting researchers to participate in an upcoming monthly event series, 1000 Words, which will start at the start of 2021. The idea is very simple: each speaker selects one photograph, uses it to write roughly 1,000 words reflecting on a key aspect of their research and presents it in the form of a ten-minute talk.  Each presentation will take the form of a live-streamed event and a voiceover video clip that we will feature on our website. We will be pairing together speakers whose research interests are overlapping or offer interesting perspectives on a given theme. This is a fantastic opportunity for budding researchers to share their work informally in a way that is snappy (if you’ll excuse the pun), engaging and, we hope, will lead to lots of fascinating photo research-related discussion!  

Email a short bio, proposal or any questions to

Visit the NDP website here:

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12201140684?profile=originalThe 100th anniversary of the Cottingley Fairies, one of the most famous hoaxes of the twentieth century, is being marked by a new exhibition curated by an academic from the University of Huddersfield. It will open in January 2021 at the University of Leeds Brotherton Library, subject to COVDI restrictions being lifted. It is curated by Dr Merrick Burrow, Head of English & Creative Writing, and will form part of the Treasures of the Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds.  

It is the first time that many of the artefacts from the hoax, which fooled many including Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, have been put on public display. The Brotherton Library holds many of the photographs and artefacts relating to the Fairies, although the National Science+Media Museum holds the cameras used by the two girls, after a public appeal saved them from a Christie's auction. 

12201141870?profile=originalThe hoax began in 1917, when Elsie Wright took a photograph of her cousin Frances Griffiths with some dancing fairies she had drawn and attached to hat pins near their home in the village of Cottingley, between Bradford and Bingley in West Yorkshire. This, and subsequent photos, eventually found their way to Conan Doyle, who staked his reputation on their authenticity in The Strand magazine in 1920. 

Debate raged over the photos for decades, with Elsie and Frances only revealing how they faked the photographs in 1983, to Geoffrey Crawley, the editor of the British Journal of Photography. Such was the furore over the photographs at the time, that Dr Burrow sees parallels between the entrenched views about the hoax and the more recent phenomena of fake news: “Conan Doyle had converted to spiritualism in 1917 – around the time the photos were taken,” says Dr Burrows. Spiritualism was on the rise at the time, following enormous loss of life in the Great War. “But Conan Doyle also encountered many who thought spiritualism was a fraud, that it was exploiting the grief of people who lost loved ones. There was a lot of animosity towards him and he entered into many heated debates about it, so by the time the photos appeared he was primed to find something that would prove his beliefs. 

12201142691?profile=original“He deliberately created a controversy, what he called in a letter a ‘time-delay mine’ - he published the photos, then went on a lecture tour of Australia! He amplified the whole thing. 

“There are similar elements to what we see in fake news and social media bubbles today.  There was Conan Doyle and those who believed without question in spiritualism in one corner, and their opponents in the Rationalist Press Association and the British Association for the Advancement of Science in the other. Neither would give ground to the other, which is what we see now.” 

The photographs stayed with the family until the girls’ mothers attended a meeting of the Theosophical Society in Bradford in 1920. The photos soon came to the attention of the General Secretary of The Theosophical Society, Edward L. Gardner, who began to show them in his public lectures. Conan Doyle heard about them and got in touch to find out more. 

The times, the circumstances, and a willingness to believe combined to form a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances and a story that endures even 100 years later.  

My take on it is that it was an accidental conspiracy,” Dr Burrow adds. “There were a series of minor deceptions that in themselves would not really have amounted to anything. But these were blown up into a global cause celebre through the combination of Elsie’s skill with the camera, the ‘improvement’ of the photos by an expert working for Gardner, and the involvement of Conan Doyle – probably the world’s foremost popular author with an interest in spiritualism.”

The Cottingley Fairies: A Study in Deception, will be on display in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery , Leeds, in early 2021.


Frances and the Fairies, July 1917. Image credit: Special Collections, University of Leeds
Elsie and the Gnome, September 1917. Image credit: Special Collections, University of Leeds 
The Strand Magazine, December 1920. Image credit: Special Collections, University of Leeds

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12201143469?profile=originalAs a Conservator at the National Science & Media Museum in Bradford, you will work closely with the other members of the core Conservation & Collections Care (CCC) teams based at all SMG sites, and alongside project teams, this may also include supervising short term staff, students and volunteers.

You will undertake all aspects of interventive object and/or photographic conservation treatments on a wide range of materials, this includes condition checking and documentation. You will also advise on display conditions, object protection, object installation and decant, object storage and assist in preventive conservation including integrated pest management and environmental monitoring programmes on site.

Utilising your relevant conservation experience and knowledge, you will work both independently and as part of a team to plan and execute programmes of conservation of inventoried objects in the collections required for loans, exhibition and touring on time and to budget. Using your awareness of collections-based hazards you will ensure compliance with best professional practice and statutory requirements.

See the full specification and apply here.

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Slides from 1960s

From various sources I have collected hundreds of 35mm slides from the 1960s showing views of Devon, Cornwall and Wales. These are high quality family shots. I also have slides of Switzerland, Italy and Madeira taken by semi-profession photographers. I have not got space for them. Does anyone out there collect such images. Free to a good home.

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12201139281?profile=originalThis among an interesting bunch of late 1800s and early 1900s glass plate negatives that Harrow School has offloaded from their archive are now up for sale on Ebay. Is this lad in military uniform, or is he in some civilian gear that, for example, hotels dressed their minions up in? Maybe he's a 'Telegram Boy'. Anyone recognise his get-up?

Thank you12201139881?profile=original

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12201157473?profile=originalThe Journal of Victorian Culture Online the blog and online platform of the Journal of Victorian Culture has published a short paper by Rose Teanby titled 'Wish You Were Here: Victorian women pioneers of travel photography'. In it Rose discusses several early British and European women photographers. The paper is free to access and read. 


Image: Ida Pfeiffer [cropped] by Franz Hanfstaengl, 1856. Print, Austrian National Library   ANL/Vienna Picture Archive NB 504188-B.

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12201157861?profile=originalGeoff Belknap, Head Curator at the National Science+Media Museum, Bradford, has written an extended blog discussing how photography is being collected within the Science Museum Group.

Photography presents particular challenges because of the ubiquity and extent of the medium, although the museum continues to collect both photographs and photographic technology.  As Belknap notes: "we want to tell compelling stories about how photography affects our lives, but we also need to acknowledge that we can’t tell every story about photography". With a spectrum ranging from the processes and equipment through to the photographic image, "there lays a whole range of meaning for photography based on how we use photography, such as for scientific research; for political reasons; to monitor and record; as commercial objects; as tools for circulating and exchanging information; or as aesthetic creative expression. This middle ground can be called photographic practice".

As such, he notes, "our focus will emphasise the areas of photographic process and practice...this means we are particularly interested in the stories of how material images and technology (whether analogue or digital) were made and used... In other words, we are less interested in what is represented in a photograph, and more interested in its production and use."

Read Geoff's full blog post 'Process, Product and Practice: Our approach to collecting photography' here:

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The Photographers' Gallery 2021 programme

12201138884?profile=originalThe Photographers’ Gallery has announced highlights of its 2021 programme, including major exhibitions of Sebastião Salgado and Helen Levitt, the 25th anniversary exhibition of the Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize, a rare exhibition of archival photographs from the Guardian Picture Library and a newly commissioned work by Turner Prize co-winner, Helen Cammock.

2021 also marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Photographers’ Gallery and over the course of the year, the Gallery is staging a special series of exhibitions and events reflecting on its legacy and impact and looking towards the future of photography in a rapidly changing world. Full details of these will be announced in the new year and will include a look back at five decades of the Gallery’s history, while reflecting on the wider photographic landscape.

In Summer 2021, the gallery is delighted to launch the Soho Photography Quarter in partnership with Westminster Council. This major public space development in the West End will transform the area outside TPG, creating a pedestrianised open-air gallery with a rolling programme of specially curated exhibitions and commissions.

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12201156496?profile=original10×10 Photobooks is pleased to announce the launch of a new program of annual photobook research grants to encourage and support scholarship on under-explored topics in photobook history. The first year’s theme expands on 10×10’s forthcoming project What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843 to 1999 that will launch in Fall 2021 in association with the New York Public Library and will include a touring reading room, publication, and series of public events.

10×10’s photobook research grant application is now open through March of 2021 and accepts submissions related to research and scholarship that seeks to fill gaps and supply missing information in the history of women and photobooks from 1843 to 1999. The concept of the photobook is interpreted in the widest sense possible: classic bound books, portfolios, personal albums, unpublished books, zines, and scrapbooks. Research topics may include, but are not limited to: significant but lesser-known photobooks by women, women book-makers in underrepresented regions, women uncredited for their contributions, women in book publishing and women photobook designers and publishers, etc.   

12201156671?profile=originalThe Grant:

10×10 Photobooks will award 2 grants per year, in the amount of $1,500 each which will be paid in increments during the course of the project.

Grantees are expected to produce a presentation and a paper within a year of the grant being awarded. Paper needs to be in English. Grantees will be assigned a contact/mentor. 10×10 will also assist where able and desired with in-progress review, identifying information, making introductions, etc. The result of the research will be presented and discussed during an event organized by 10×10 Photobooks (a zoom online event and as possible a physical gathering at a relevant festival/fair/conference).

10×10 will be granted the right to publish the resulting paper online and in print in a 10×10 publication. The writer retains copyright and after your work is presented/published by 10×10, you are free to republish it, or to give others permission to republish it. We ask that if you do so, you credit it as follows: [article name] by [author] was supported by 10×10 Photobooks.

See more:

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12201155292?profile=originalJames William Newland’s (1810–1857) career as a showman daguerreotypist began in the United States but expanded into Central and South America, across the Pacific to New Zealand and colonial Australia and onto India. Newland used the latest developments in photography, theatre and spectacle to create powerful new visual experiences for audiences in each of these volatile colonial societies.

This book assesses his surviving, vivid portraits against other visual ephemera and archival records of his time. Newland’s magic lantern and theatre shows are imaginatively reconstructed from textual sources and analysed, with his short, rich career casting a new light on the complex worlds of the mid-nineteenth century. It provides a revealing case study of someone brokering new experiences with optical technologies for varied audiences at the forefront of the age of modern vision.

This book will be of interest to scholars in art and visual culture, photography, the history of photography and Victorian history.

Thanks to all our colleagues who assisted in the research and publication of this book, out now. Feedback welcome.


  1. The Americas: Competing photographic practices across shifting political borders 
  2. The Pacific: Photographing Indigenous royalty amid British and French imperial tensions 
  3. Australia: Daguerrean galleries, dissolving views and visual spectacle 
  4. India: The heart of empire 
  5. Britain and India: Brokering new experiences and spaces for photography and performance 


Author Biographies

Elisa deCourcy is a specialist in early photography and a Research Fellow in the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University.

Martyn Jolly is Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at the Australian National University and was Lead Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council Project 'Heritage in the Limelight: The Magic Lantern in Australia and the World'.


Empire, Early Photography and Spectacle: The Global Career of Showman Daguerreotypist J.W. Newland
Elisa deCourcy and Martyn Jolly
Routledge History of Photography
175 pages, indexed, with 56 illustrations and 8 colour plates, including 22 daguerreotypes in colour and monochrome drawn from public and private collections around the world.

Reviews and Purchase:



J.W. Newland, woman with nodding head doll, 1849-c.1857, Calcutta, cased, uncoloured, sixth-plate daguerreotype, 8 x 7 cms (approx). Courtesy the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford. 1965.430.

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12201153273?profile=originalThe Stanley B. Burns M.D. Historic Medical Photography Collection has been acquired by the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University. It  includes images of physicians and medical scientists at work, operation rooms, hospital wards, laboratories, nurses and nursing, notable physicians, surgical specialties, and war medicine. There are also thousands of photos of patients and disease states. The collection is notable for its range of forms, including photo albums, framed photographs, publications, cartes de visite (small photos mounted on cardboard), cabinet cards, postcards, and personal collections assembled by noted physicians. Virtually every format is represented, including boxes of lantern slides and 253 unique daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes from the earliest years of photography.

12201153500?profile=originalThe Burns Collection is one of the most compelling and comprehensive visual records of medical history ever assembled,” said Melissa Grafe, the John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History and head of the Medical Historical Library, the medical library’s special collections repository. “From early depictions of surgery to profoundly personal family images and photo albums, it shows how deeply medicine is interwoven in human lives.”

See more here:

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12201151854?profile=originalThis display of original photogravures and vintage platinum prints has been organised in conjunction with renowned 19th century photography specialist Robert Hershkowitz.

At a time when so many of us are weighing up the value of urban living in favour of more rural existences, these images resonate with a longing for the English countryside and its traditional ways of life. We are exhibiting original photogravures from Emerson’s most famous series Marsh Leaves (1895), in addition to a selection of platinum prints from his first album Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads (1886).

We would be delighted to welcome you to the gallery to view the work in person, and you can also visit the works in the exhibition, online, via the button below.

P. H. Emerson is now open at Michael Hoppen Gallery and will run until 31 January, 2021.


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