All Posts (20)

Sort by

12201150501?profile=originalThis first, of a three-part series, led by Colin Pantall, consists of eight lectures. It will introduce you to the contemporary practice of photography through examples that link the historical, the contemporary, and the theoretical in a way that is dynamic, visual, and accessible to everybody.

Touching on major photographic genres such as landscape photography, portraiture, and conflict, it will look at some of the key photographers and ideas that have shaped how we see the world today and will also present a global, pluralist outlook on both the wonderful expressive and artistic qualities of the photographic image, as well as its darker side.

Looking to the present, Looking to the past
Online course, eight weeks, 9 September 2020-28 October 2020
£100 / £90

See more of the programme: 

Read more…

12201148892?profile=originalThe announcement in The Chemist (March, 1851) of Frederick Scott Archer’s wet-collodion process transformed how photography was practiced professionally and by amateur photographers for much of the nineteenth century. Photography’s reach broadened socially, grew artistically and extended geographically.

Move forward to the 2000s and the wet-collodion process is, again, impacting photographic practice. It has been embraced by photographers and students who are using it for creative and artistic reasons. This has been supported by a growing number of practical workshops allowing people to experience and learn about the process.

This online two-day conference Don’t Press Print. De/Re-constructing the collodion process is organised by the Royal Photographic Society and the University of West of England’s Centre for Fine Print Research.  

Don’t Press Print. De/Re-constructing the collodion process
Online: 1-2 October 2020 

£20 / £25 to include the printed conference proceedings
See the provisional programme and book here:

Read more…

Hackney Flashers historic exhibitions

12201136854?profile=originalThis is an exhibition panels from three historic exhibitions Who's Holding the Baby? Women and Work (1975) and Clydeside 1974 - 76 © Hackney Flashers. 

This was in the 1970s. Problems around the expense and availability of childcare persist and have been accentuated during lockdown.  Not so much has changed then.


Panel from Women and Work exhibition, Hackney Town Hall 1975. © Hackney Flashers
The spotlight is on working conditions for those in factories, in particular the garment industry. Wages, labour conditions and union representation were examined by the Hackney Flashers in the 1970s.

Ella Napier, Labourer, Auchinlea Brick Company, Cleland, Lanarkshire from Larry Herman's Clydeside 1974 - 76 exhibition at Street Level Photoworks. © Larry Herman


Read more…

12201148852?profile=originalThe Helen Muspratt archive has been the subject of various BPH blogs in the past, most recently in connection with the upcoming Photo Oxford Festival exhibition Women & Photography: Ways of Seeing & Being Seen. Jessica Smith, Muspratt's daughter, writes to say that Oxford's Bodleian Library has accepted the gift of the Helen Muspratt Archive. This consists of over 2000 original prints, 30 old biscuit tins of negatives covering almost 30,000 sittings from her Oxford studio, and numerous documents and letters.

The Bodleian has decided to celebrate the gift with an exhibition of the work in the newly refurbished Weston Library.  The exhibition will be accompanied by a book of Muspratt's photographs and there will also be an online lecture.

The exhibition will be part of the Festival which will also host an online conference: Let us now praise Famous Women: Discovering the work of female photographers on 24 October when Jessica will give a talk on how she researched her book and assembled the archive. Other speakers include: Val Williams, Erika Lederman, Jessica Sutcliffe, Patrizia Di Bello, Deborah Cherry, Fiona Rogers, Max Houghton and Anna Fox. 


and the conference:

Read more…

12201135883?profile=original‘In the Moon’ – and Other Studios is a history of professional photography in King’s Lynn during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and it’s free. It follows the development of a small-business sector in a country town, rather than being the (perhaps) more usual studio-by-studio account, but an index makes it possible to track the fortunes of individual photographers. It’s a chronicle of opportunists and entrepreneurs, of custom-built glasshouses and huts on wheels; it tells of price wars and wars of words, of trials and takeovers, of burglary and bankruptcy. It also finds room for shipwrecks, fires, fraud, a train crash, a contralto with a coffin, and a spot of chicken-rustling.

I believe it’s time to share my research with anyone who might be interested, but I realise that this is not a commercially viable publication, and I’m not inclined to go down the usual self-publishing routes, either for printed or for electronic books. I am therefore offering it free to anyone interested – not as a book, but as a set of book ingredients – and I’m using the lowest-tech e-route I can think of.

If you’re interested, email me at, and I’ll reply with a copy (in the form of a set of Word documents) as an attachment.

Please note that this is not an illustrated history. Photographs would have been nice, but I wanted to keep the package small enough (just under 2MB) for easy transmission by email.




Read more…

12201146454?profile=originalI am researching the history of the Gilbert box camera and its designer, Geoffrey Gilbert.  The camera was made in the 1950s and had an unusual steel body covered in artificial lizard skin.  This camera will be familiar to many.


I am trying to establish who made the camera, how many were made and why an apparently well specified, reasonably-priced and attractive camera had such a short life in the middle of the 1950s.  

To help estimate production numbers, I need serial numbers and I hope members may be able to help.

There are two sources of this information.  The first is the aluminium catch which holds the front and back of the camera together (eg 15155 in the photo, below).  The second is the side flap on the top of the box.  The flap has both the camera number and the lens batch (10393 and Batch 2 in the photo, below) both of which are of interest to me.


12201147500?profile=originalAny information including serial numbers would be gratefully received and will inform an article to be published in Photographica World at the end of the year.



Read more…

12201135459?profile=originalWe are very excited to announce the creation of a new conservation studio - Lux and Livre ( which is offering a free consultation for potential funding bids. 

Lux & Livre are specialists in the conservation of photographic materials, books and paper. From conserving a single object to carrying out condition surveys of entire collections, we help you care for your collections so they reach their full potential as well as being preserved for future generations. With over 25 years’ combined experience, we also work with trusted associates who are experts in digitisation, exhibition design and preparation, conservation science and film conservation, to bring you a range of services which complement our core specialisms.

We know that it is a tough time for collections across the sector, which is why we are currently offering a free consultation for any organisation considering a funding bid involving photographs, books or archives.

Please do get in touch at


Read more…

12201133298?profile=originalBritain's photographic heritage is likely to be adversely impacted if proposals in a leaked National Trust discussion document come to pass. Written by the Trust's visitor experience director Tony Berry, it sets out a ten-year vision that will directly impact historic properties, curatorial and conservation posts and put collections in to storage. The Times newspaper (21 August 2020, p.5) reported on the paper and art historian Bendor Grosvenor, who also had sight of the document, flagged it on his Twitter account @arthistorynews

National Trust Director-General Hilary McGrady responded to the claims ( as partial, but as Grosvenor noted she failed to deny a number of the claims, including that the Trust will 'dial down' its status as a 'major national cultural institution', make specialist curatorial staff redundant and take objects off display.

The Trust has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 not least a loss of £200 million in income caused by the closure of many of its 550 houses, parks and gardens and has already announced significant redundancies affecting some 13 per cent of its workforce, putting 1,200 employees at risk. The Trust has £1.3 billion in financial reserves, although much of these are designated and cannot be used for general purposes. 

So, what does this mean for photography? The short answer at the moment is that it is unclear. The Trust has significant collections of historic and important photography - at least 50,000 images, although more is yet to be documented, across its historic properties. This includes material that is significant in its own right, along with photographs collected and made by individuals associated with its many properties.

12201133896?profile=originalThe following are areas that the wider photographic community should be aware of, and be prepared to support, should the need arise:

  • The Trust appointed its first National Photography Curator in July 2019, providing oversight of photography across the Trust's properties. As a specialist curator this new role, which was a two-year appointment, appears to be under threat. 
  • Roger Watson, curator of the Fox Talbot Museum is a specialist curator and, again, this role may also be under threat.  
  • The Trust employs specialist photographic conservators. Photographic materials are fragile and susceptible to environmental deterioration, more so than many other objects, and it is important that light sensitive materials continue to properly assessed, conserved and stored. The National Photography Curator's role was - and remains - key in surveying the Trust's collections and identifying important material and that which needs urgent conservation. It also has a key part in opening up the Hardman House collections (see below).
  • The possible closure of Trust properties (see below) and the move of photographs and photographic equipment into storage will limit access to material that is of national importance, beyond the Trust's own interests. 
  • Although photography is in many of the Trust's properties two are particularly important:
    • 12201134669?profile=originalThe Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock, was opened in 1975 to show and interpret objects relating to William Henry Fox Talbot, his life and the development of photography,  and to exhibit photography.  In recent years the museum has broadened its remit to contextualise Talbot within a broader history of photography and the acquisition of the Fenton Collection in 2016 has allowed it to show a history from the 1830s to the 1990s.
    • Adjacent is the Grade 1 listed Lacock Abbey, Talbot's home, where many of his experiments were undertaken and the location of many of his early photographs. It is the birthplace of negative-positive photography. The house and the surrounding village of Lacock were given to the National Trust in 1944.
    • E. Chambré Hardman House, Liverpool. Opened by Burrelll and Hardman in 1923 the company remained in business until c1965/6. The building and negatives were acquired by a charitable trust and later transferred to the National Trust. 
    • in addition, many of the National Trust's other properties contain significant smaller groups of photographs. 


This piece by Grosvenor is worth reading and does not bode well for Lacock Abbey In the absence of anything from the National Trust one fears the worst. 

See also:

See also:   

Images: © Michael Pritchard. Top: the entrance to the Fox Talbot Museum; lower: entrance to Hardman House.

Note: none of the individuals mentioned above have spoken to BPH in connection with this blog piece.   

Read more…

12201145692?profile=originalThis three-day course will investigate and highlight the role of women photographers from the 19th century to today and their influence in the field of photographic portraiture. Beginning by exploring the use of the camera by women during the birth of the medium, the course will go on to examine how 20th century women photographers embraced and challenged the documentary traditions of portraiture. We will end by looking at how staging, costumes and props became the recurring tools of photographic self-portraiture. The course will introduce a wide range of artists, covering works by Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman, Annie Lebovitz, Sally Man, Nan Golding, Carrie Mae Weens and Zenele Muholi.

This course will be delivered online via Zoom. All participants will receive information in advance about how to access the course before it commences.

What you will learn:

 Growing confidence in looking at and interpreting photographic portraiture

• Thorough knowledge of key women and non-binary artists working in photography

• Understanding portraiture as a core application and technique of photography

Christie's Education
17-19 November 2020
1330-1430, daily

See more and sign up here

Read more…

12201144499?profile=originalEastman Museum, Rochester, NY, is hosting process historian Mark Osterman who will share techniques from the history of photography and demonstrating some of the methods.used. 

The talks are being held over four months and are free to attend, although pre-booking is required. They will take place via Zoom.  

The four demonstrations are: 

  • Tuesday, 1 September 2020 at 1300 (1800 BST). Clouds and combination printing. Many nineteenth-century landscape photographs are cloudless. Early photographic negatives documented light blue and white as the same value, resulting in blank skies. In this live online program, Process Historian Mark Osterman will discuss the reasons for these cloudless skies and demonstrate the nineteenth-century technique of combination printing from two separate negatives.
  • Tuesday, 13 October 2020 at 1300 (1800 BST). Early optics in photography. Before there was photography, there was the study of light and lenses. In this presentation, Process Historian Mark Osterman will demonstrate how light can be manipulated and used for photography and share the basics of optics that were foundational in the invention of photography: from classifying simple lenses to using a camera obscura for gazing, drawing, or photographic experiments. 
  • Tuesday, 3 November 2020 at 1300 (1700 GMT). Early silver processes. The first successful process used for photography was based on the light sensitivity of silver chloride. Experiments in silver chloride date to the eighteenth century, but the chemistry was not fully understood until William Henry Fox Talbot conducted and documented his exhaustive tests in the 1830s. In this virtual talk, Process Historian Mark Osterman will share what Talbot built upon and then perfected.
  • Tuesday, 3 December 2020 at 1300 (1700 GMT). Nineteenth century retouching techniques. The limited sensitivity of nineteenth-century photographic materials gave rise to a number of curious but effective techniques to make photographs appear more natural. In this live presentation, Process Historian Mark Osterman will show examples of early negative retouching and then demonstrate some of these rare techniques. 

The talks are free, but must be pre-booked. Click the link here.

They are supported by Art Bridges and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Read more…

Video: inside the Hardmans' House

12201143899?profile=originalThe E. Chambré Hardman House in Liverpool is a photographic time-capsule and has been looked after by the National Trust since 2003. Currently closed due to COVID-19 the Trust has released a guided-tour film showing what is inside and how the collection of negatives and prints is being conserved.

Take a look here:

With thanks to John Marriage for flagging it up. 

Read more…

12201150888?profile=originalAlexander Bassano established "one of the most important photographic studios of the Victorian era. His sitters included royalty, aristocracy, politicians, and leading names from the military, sciences and arts". Over 2,000 glass negative plates from the Bassano studio are housed at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Yet so little is known about the man, and the development of his studios. Bassano: The Making of a Court Photographer chronicles Alexander's life: his childhood in a musical, creative family; theatrical and artistic connections that shaped his early days; his previously unknown career on the pantomime stage; the influences that drew him towards photography, and the consequent establishment of the studios that bore his name.

BASSANO The making of a court photographer
Richard Peroni
80-pages, £12.91
Privately published, July 2020
ISBN-13: 979-8660004827
Available on Amazon

Read more…

12201149470?profile=originalThe Another Eye conference, celebrating the contribution of women refugee photographers who came to Britain after 1933. will be held online after its postponement earlier this year.  

Presentations will cover photographers’ work across portraiture, reportage, social documentary and architectural photography, and how the European cultural approaches that they brought with them informed British visual culture. In particular we will consider how their experiences both as outsiders and as women shaped their practice.

Speakers include:

  • Valeria Carullo, Architectural Photography by émigré women
  • Colin Ford, Lotte Meitner-Graf
  • Michele Henning, A Hundred Years: Lucia Moholy and German Photography History in Britain
  • Amanda Hopkinson, Woman to Woman: Photographic Friends Gerti Deutsch & Inge Morath
  • John March, Disrupted and Changing Careers of Women Refugee Photographers
  • Clara Masnatta, Photographer Grete Stern in London Transit
  • Roberta McGrath, Edith Tudor-Hart
  • Rolf Sachsse, Lucia Moholy: Science and Design in Exile
  • Kylie Thomas, Anne Fischer’s Itinerant Vision: A German Jewish photographer between England and South Africa
  • Barbara Warnock, The Rediscovery of Gerty Simon’s Work, Archive, Life and Career
  • Anthea Kennedy and Tom Heinersdorff, Memories of Erika Koch and Elisabeth Chat

This free event will run over three afternoons from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September.

Details and registration here:

The Four Corners exhibition Another Eye: Women Refugee Photographers in Britain after 1933, runs until 3 October 2020. 

Read more…

Some feedback please

Folks, I need some feedback, and not necessarily some attaboys. It’s called Fifty Prints but at this point is only 23. Maybe 25 is enough? This is in 2nd draft mode, and somewhat formatted. At first I thought of self publishing it, but now thinking maybe finding a publisher, or an agent if I can find one. Any help along that line would be appreciated.

Every print except one of my photographs is before 1924, so is in the public domain in the U.S. The UK is a bit iffy as their copyright law is a bigger mess than ours. Add to the issue of public domain is the educational exemption which, yes I know is often not really that but here I think it is real critique and educational, but more on that if you have information.

The audience here on the British Photo History site is relatively sophisticated, no kidding! So this seems a proper venue for advice.

I plan on running it through Prowriteaid and then Grammarly, then off to a friend who edits books for a living. So skip over missing comas, etc. I’ve opted for a chatty informality. Is it too informal?

Though the comments are about a specific print, a platinum print, the critical scope is much broader and I want to cover areas of discussion that are unique. I built my first darkroom in 1960, so I have had 60 years of serious photography and 40 running Bostick & Sullivan. I am both a FRPS and a HonFRPS, I am hoping those might establish some credibility.

Comments please.

Dick Sullivan HonFRPS

Read more…

12201148470?profile=originalGrasping the complexity of photohistory is dependent upon research, analysis and the creation of visual examples and texts that clarify the issues. Luminous-Lint seeks to delve deep to spot the trends but always using the photographs as the research base. 

Since 2005 Luminous-Lint has been working from the images towards the arguments and explanatory texts. By bringing together over 100,000 hand-picked images from over 3,600 public and private collections one can start to see patterns. For the last seven years the major concentration of effort has been on how to construct increasingly meaningful histories of photography. These started out as naive pages on different genres and regions of the world but they are now evolving into well-structured pieces and some have grown into book-sized topics illustrated with thousands of examples. 
This illustrated talk will provide an overview to Luminous-Lint, how it all comes together and why. It will be a light-hearted romp but will give you meaningful insights into the history, present situation and future plans for Luminous-Lint. 
Many of you subscribe to Luminous-Lint and provide photographs and information to enhance it. This is a rare opportunity to see what is going on at a very personal level. 

Luminous-Lint: An introduction - Challenges and Opportunities
Speaker: Alan Griffiths
Sunday 9 August 2020 - 13:30 EDT / 18:30- BST (Make sure you check your own time zone)
A donation of $25 is required for each talk and the proceeds go to improving Luminous-Lint. 
Book your place now

Talks will be given using ZOOM and you will be emailed the Meeting Id and password on the day of the presentation.


Read more…

Blog Topics by Tags

Monthly Archives