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12201156083?profile=originalThe impact of COVID-19 on DCMS funded museums and galleries in 2020 has been laid bare by new research showing an average 74 per cent decline in visitor numbers for the period January-September 2020 against the previous year.

For those institutions closely involved with photography, the V&A Museum, London, saw a drop from 3,084,702 for the first nine months in 2019 to 796,708 in 2020. The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, saw a drop from 340,944 to 102,155. 

For the period after September the drop in numbers was closer to 90 per cent as London locked down and other regions were placed in tiers that did not allow museums and galleries to re-open to the public, or severely limited visitor admissions.

With a UK countries in a lockdown that will remain in place until at least 8 March 2021 and most regions then likely to be placed in tiers that would prevent public re-opening the first half of 2021 looks to be set for an equally first six months.

The initial data research was commissioned by Download an infographic here;  diys-uk-museum-and-gallery-visitor-numbers-infographic.jpg

Visitor numbers for the later period and other metrics are available on the DCMS website:

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12201154076?profile=originalFairly recently I acquired a large and interesting album that appears to have been compiled by a British family managing a tea plantation in India, possibly around Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The photographs are a mixture of personal photographs, most likely taken by an enthusiastic amateur,and (presumably purchased) professional photographs by people such as Baker and the Nicholas brothers. The only photographs I can date for sure are from the early 1870s (Madras cyclone images from 1872) but as these are towards the end of the album some of the other images may well be from the 1860s.

This is a very long shot but I'd appreciate input anyone can give as regards:

1. The identity of the family

Here is a large format group shot of the family and their friends taking tea. I believe the compiler of the album is the lady third from left.


If anyone recognises anyone in the photograph or has tips on how to go about identying the subjects I'd be very grateful for your input 

2. The identity of the photographer responsible for this small format posed image.


There are several photographs similar to this in the album. I have found images on the interent that look vaguely similar but they don't seem to be from the same photographer.

There are many other photographs in the album I could ask about but this is a start.



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Photo London moves to September 2021

12201153095?profile=originalPhoto London 2021 has been rescheduled from May to 9–12 September 2021, with a preview day on 8 September. The fair will be held at Somerset House as programmed.

Since the start of the year, the Founders of Photo London have engaged in detailed discussions with expert advisers from various fields, including science and government, regarding the timing of the Fair. Their unanimous view is that it would be best advised to wait a little longer for the global vaccination programmes to take effect, allowing for the easing of lockdowns and travel restrictions and for as strong an economic rebound as possible.

The new early September dates give the best chance to deliver the strongest possible edition of Photo London in a safe environment. The second edition of Photo London Digital will run alongside the Fair providing an opportunity for exhibitors unable to come to London to gain exposure to Photo London’s outstanding network of collectors.

Since the UK locked down in March last year, Photo London has responded to the global crisis by developing online platforms to connect, learn and talk about photography. In the months leading up to the fair in September, it will continue to do so by presenting a year-round programme of events and new initiatives involving experts from across the industry. 


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12201152282?profile=originalThis talk will examine the history of Scottish expatriates in nineteenth-century Japan and their contribution to the photography networks.

When Edward Hornel and George Henry travelled to Japan in 1893, they encountered a community of photographers that supported their own artistic pursuits in the country. Their visit was particularly timely, but Scottish photographers, artists, and merchants had long been involved in the growth and popularity of photography in Japan. This talk will examine the history of Scottish expatriates in nineteenth-century Japan and their contribution to the photography networks and communities in their adopted country.

Luke Gartlan is Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of A Career of Japan: Baron Raimund von Stillfried and Early Yokohama Photography (Brill, 2016), and also served for six years as editor of the journal History of Photography.

Thursday, 28 January 2021 at 1300-1400 (GMT)
Free, but booking is essential.

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12201151676?profile=originalThe Fox Talbot Museum will no longer have a specialist curator for the first time since the museum's opening in 1975 as the National Trust recruits for a more general Property Curator for its Lacock portfolio. This includes the Fox Talbot Museum and Abbey and three other Trust properties close to Lacock. The role replaces Roger Watson who retired as Fox Talbot Museum curator last autumn. 

For Lacock the role description notes: The Property Curator has overall responsibly for curation and conservation care of the Lacock and North Wiltshire Portfolio which also includes Great Chalfield Manor, The Courts Garden and Westwood Manor. The Abbey itself has a team working with the Property Curator, you will be responsible for setting standards / objectives / managing budgets etc. Practically how the Property Curator deploys their team to meet these responsibilities is largely up to you, so you would delegate as you need to and play to strengths of the whole team including yourself. 

The wider role description says: Our remarkable collections are held across hundreds of properties and places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They include outstanding internationally important works of art and material culture such as paintings, sculptures, textiles, dress, decorative arts, furniture, books and libraries, as well as highly significant industrial, agricultural photographic, archaeological and archival collections.  We also care for places and landscapes that are carry with complex and fascinating histories.  We now have a number of exciting opportunities for Property Curators at some of our most internationally significant historic properties within England.

Our houses and collections are a fundamental part of our work and these new roles take a critical part in helping to care for, research and interpret these places and their collections.

To support some of our most internationally significant collections we need Property Curators to deliver an innovative approach to these high profile cultural destinations. While the properties are all unique, the role is to deliver a consistent approach of high standards of collections management and care across our most internationally significant historic properties.

See more here: 

General role (plus link to detail for Lacock):

Lacock specific role:

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12201150281?profile=originalThe Royal Geographical Society with IBG, is partnering with Wiley Digital Archives (WDA) on an extensive digitisation programme of substantial parts of the pre-1945 Collections.

As part of its mission to undertake research on the Collections and to make the Collections more accessible to a wider audience, in collaboration with Wiley, it has recently awarded 11 Research Fellowships for 2020-21 which provide researchers with access to the WDA platform, who would not otherwise have access to it.

The projects cover a wide range of topic areas, advancing knowledge on a number of key themes, including providing new insights into the science and technology of exploration, making use of innovative new digital methodologies, highlighting hidden and forgotten histories, exploring under-researched parts of the Collections, and more.

The projects supported are as follows.

  • Alicia Colson (Independent): From ‘Banishment’ to ‘Cool’: a chairborne exploration of a ‘forgotten archipelago’ - Santa Catarina, Brazil

  • Sherezade Garcia Rangel (Falmouth University, UK): Unbound beauty: Venezuela according to the Wiley Digital Archive

  • Emily Hayes (Oxford Brookes University, UK): (Un)commonplace knowledge: geographical relativity in the fin de siècle

  • Sandra Hayward (Independent): Hidden treasures: low-latitude historical aurorae and their relevance to future space flight

  • Rick Mitcham (Kindai University, Japan): Corresponding geographies: a critical exploration of Walter Weston’s contact with the Royal Geographical Society, 1892-1924

  • Fred Morton (University of Botswana, Botswana): Cattle people: the Tswana and Metsemegologolo: multimodal landscape of African urbanisms

  • Joanne Norcup (University of Warwick, UK): The life and legacies of the 1998 British Council / Royal Geographical Society exhibition (1998) Photos and Phantasms: Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston’s photographs of the Caribbean (1908 – 1909)

  • Catherine Oliver (University of Cambridge, UK): Animals in the Royal Geographical Society’s archives

  • Karen Rann (Queen’s University Belfast, UK): Moving mountains: early uses of isobaths and contour lines on maps

  • Bradley Rink (University of the Western Cape, South Africa): Airmindedness redux: growing tourism and worldliness through aeromobility in Africa

  • Shaun Seah (Columbia University, USA): Watch on Deck – the Orientalist gaze of tourists, naval officers and colonial officialdom along the Straits of Singapore (1850-1950)

More information about each of the projects, new materials that are found, and how the digital archive is enabling new kinds of scholarship with be shared over the year.

The programme is expected to run again for 2021-22.


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12201149889?profile=originalDelve into the lives, loves and labour of the world’s most prominent portrait galleries in this international conversation series. From curatorial decisions to art handling, exhibition design to major events, favourite portraits to the creative copy they command – this is your chance to go behind the scenes for insights into global gallery goings-on.

The second event in this 15 Minutes of Frame international series will focus on the power that photographic portraiture has to change and enhance collections. It features Magdalene Keaney, Senior Curator, Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London and Louise Pearson Curator (Photography) at the National Galleries of Scotland, in conversation with our very own Penny Grist, Curator Exhibitions from the Australian NPG.

Free event
Thursday, 28 January 2021 at 0900-0945
Booking link:

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12201149268?profile=originalBirkbeck's History and Theory of Photography Research Centre has announced its spring term talks which will be online. Established in 2012, the Centre is an interdisciplinary group based in Birkbeck's School of Arts, led by Dr Patrizia Di Bello and Professor Steve Edwards. We aim to facilitate, exchange and showcase new and existing research on photography's history and theory, both at Birkbeck and in the wider photographic and academic community.  

26 February 2021

Taous R Dahmani

‘A typology for ‘Direct Action Photography’: 5 Acts merging political activism’s lexicon and photography’s vocabulary (1958-1989 / UK)’  

12 March 2021 

Justin Carville

‘Racializing Insurgency: Photography, Colonial Governmentality and Ireland’

16 March 2021

Sean Willcock 

‘Negative Histories of Colonial Photography: Encounters with Photographic Processes in the Imperial Field’

Zoom links will be provided at the start of the relevant week: Please contact Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe with any queries: Sign up for regular mailings here:


Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Thomas McCarthy ; James Smith, Private in the American Service ; Joseph O'Carroll, Captain in the American Service ; Joseph Cromien, Spirit-retailer, Kept a meeting house for the Fenians in Dublin." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 11, 2021.


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12201148062?profile=originalThe project offers an exciting opportunity for a student to study British South Asian heritage in relation to factory work, leisure and domesticity and their photographic representations, using the Black Country Visual Arts’ Apna and Punjabi Workers photographic archives.

The BCVA digital archive is comprised of 2000 photographs, featuring street life, fashion and domestic material culture (1960s–Present), 36 photographs of Punjabi factory workers (1992) and is ever-expanding. Using archival research, oral history interviews and object analysis as key methods, the project will help shape understandings of the ways in which the material environments of the home and factory and preservation of tangible and intangible heritage, enabled the South Asian community in the Black Country to inhabit the diasporic space.

This fully-funded three-year PhD, funded through the Techne DTP will be jointly hosted by BCVA and the Centre for Design History at the University of Brighton.

Further details and how to apply can be found at:

If you have any questions about the project, please contact the lead supervisor, Dr Megha Rajguru (

The deadline for applications is: Monday 15 February 2021 (16.00)


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12201148669?profile=originalRachel Nordstrom from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, Victor Flores, from Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon, Portugal, Denis Pellerin and Rebecca Sharpe, from the London Stereoscopic Archive, England, have once again joined forces to organise this free online Zoom event which is meant to be a celebration of Stereoscopic 3D. They have invited photo historians, researchers, artists, curators, collectors and innovators to talk about their passion to explore various aspects of stereoscopy.

The full programme and speakers will be announced shortly. To see it and to register go to:

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12201146057?profile=originalHere's a piece I wrote on the Pam blog back in October. It touches on the Cult of Pan, Wicca and the English Gymnosophical Society.

A Very British Arcadia

Due, in part, to the censorship laws of the 1950s, photographers often sought to cloak their work in respectability, using Classical allusions in an attempt to validate their “art studies”. There is a certain naive charm to captioning a photograph of a lady in a state of undress Nymph in a Sunlit Glade or Nymph Surprised, and we shouldn’t underestimate the hunger for art from the boys behind the bike shed or the homesick squaddie in barracks. Be that as it may, there’s also something much deeper at play…

Link to article


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12201143897?profile=originalA free online history of medicine seminar, organised by the University of Birmingham's IAHR is being held on Thursday, 21 January 2021 from 1730-1900. Dr Beatriz Pichel, senior lecturer in photographic history at De Montfort University, will present her paper Photography and the making of modern medicine in France (1860-1914) which examines how photography was practiced by individuals, institutions and disciplines. 

To register for the event email: Dr Beatriz Pichel at:

More details are below.12201145071?profile=original

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12201143466?profile=originalThe donation of a large quantity of photographs and other records relating to Hutchings Caravans, and its founder Bertram Hutchings, to the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, in 2015  has prompted a call for help with identification. The Hutchings company was a maker of high-quality, bespoke, caravans from c1911 to 1956. 

Curator Angela Willis, and a team of volunteers have catalogued more than 1000 images with most taken by Hutchings himself, who was a member and Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and life President of the Winchester Photographic Society. Willis told the Hampshire Chronicle: “We have this extraordinary collection of photographs, with a variety of models of caravans and cars, which we can identify with confidence. But often they are in settings which we cannot recognise. We would like help from the public in identifying these locations. They include city streets, mountainous landscapes and places by the sea.

“We are therefore putting series of these ‘mystery photos’ online in the hope that people will recognise where they were taken. We also want to share the collection with a wider audience and hope in the future to show more of it locally, so that the work of Bertram Hutchings becomes better known.

“The mystery photos will be gradually uploaded to the website Flickr, where we invite people to share their knowledge of places where the pictures may have been taken.”

Read more about the Hutchings Collection here:

The anonymous pictures will be uploaded to Flickr here:

Ms Willis can be reached here:


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12201141498?profile=originalThe Faculty of Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with the Science Museum Group, is offering a 0.2 FTE Postdoctoral Research Fellow position to work the project “The Media of Mediumship (TMM): Encountering the Material Culture of Modern Occultism in Britain’s Science, Technology, and Magic Collections.” The Fellow will work in collaboration with Professor Christine Ferguson (English Studies, Principal Investigator) and Dr Efram Sera-Shriar (Senior Researcher & Research Grants Manager, Science Museum Group, Co-Investigator). This project is funded by the AHRC Follow-On Funding for Impact and Engagement Scheme.

The Research Fellow will be an early-career humanities researcher at postdoctoral level, with expertise in modern British history, history and philosophy of science, museum studies, cultural studies, literature, and/or religious life. Strong knowledge and proficiency of social media and digital platforms is highly desirable. Previous experience in museum or heritage work is encouraged but not required; applicants with previous research experience in the history of modern British occultism are particularly welcome. The candidate should demonstrate a record of high research achievement and potential, strong public engagement skills, and excellent organisational ability.

Summary and aims of the Project

Following on from the “Popular Occulture in Britain, 1875-1947 project, “The Media of Mediumship” (TMM) will create a twelve-month programme of public events and resources dedicated to exploring the occult use history of collections at the Science Museum (London), Senate House Library (London), and the National Science and Media Museum (Bradford). It will be produced in collaboration with the Science Museum Group and the Senate House Library. Through its activities, TMM aims to transform public understandings of the relationship between science, technology, popular culture, and unorthodox forms of spiritual belief in modern Britain. To do so, it will bring into conversation the performance, museum and heritage, photographic, podcasting, and academic organizations which preserve and take inspiration from the entangled histories of science, media, and modern occulture. 

See more and apply here:

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Grace Robertson OBE HonFRPS (1930-2021)

The British photographer Grace Robertson has died aged 90 years. She worked for Picture Post and was married to Thurston Hopkins and helped preserve his legacy. Her own as a humanist photographer is equally illustrious. 


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Dame Margaret Weston (1926-2021)

Dame Margaret Weston who was instrumental in the setting up of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in 1983 and was a pioneer for women in a male-dominated world as the UK's first female director of a national museum, has died aged 94 years.


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Mahalski operated a photographic business at various addresses in York for more than 40 years.  I am preparing an article about him and I am seeking examples of his work primarily as sources of information about the style and range of his work.  Like other photographers of the period he produced CDVs in his Portrait Rooms but produced a variety of other formats.  He advertised as a 'Military and General Photographer' and undertook to photograph 'Groups, Wedding and Garden Parties ... at the shortest notice'.  Examples of such work would be of particular interest. 

I would be interested in reproducing one or two striking examples of his work in the article as well as the printed backs of some CDVs.  Any assistance in this project will be gratefully received and duly acknowledged in the article.

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12201142700?profile=originalMy interview with Dr Rosemary Deller on my book  'Photography of Protest and Community: The Radical Collectives of the 1970s'  for the LSE Review of Books is available to read at

Many thanks to Diane Smyth for her review of my book for Photomonitor. To read the review visit

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12201139683?profile=originalTo what extent does the meaning of a photograph depend on social experience, industrial contingencies, the professional environment or the culture of its producers? This special issue of Photographica - from the Société française de photographie - aims to explore this question and thus extend the discussions initiated during a seminar at the EHESS in 2018–2020.

The issue attempts to contribute to the growing number of studies into the professions or companies related to photography (previously unknown or underestimated by historiography), as well as recent research on the influence of cooperation networks on the “‘public’ life of photographs”. Its purpose is to bring together texts devoted to trajectories and collaborations of the multiple players who participate in the production of photographs and, at the same time, contribute to shape their modalities of existence in social space. Instead of questioning the photographer’s gaze, the meaning or the intrinsic power of his or her images, the question will be to examine skills, trades or professions involved in the conception, the financing and/or making of photographic images intended for distribution in multiple copies to a wide audience. How, by whom, and according to which cultural, social, and economic models, has the expertise of these producers been structured and, possibly, hierarchized within a field whose contours remain to be questioned over the course of the history of photography? At the same time, what were the repercussions of the interactions between these producers both on their operating models and on their photographs?

The full call is in the PDF here:  Photographica_4_call_EN-FR.pdf

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12201157093?profile=originalThe Stanley B Burns, MD Medical Photography Collection was sold to Yale University Medical Library in anticipation of Dr Burns developing a specialized medical photography museum. The Washington Post among other papers carried the story. The collection of over 15,000 images (1840-1950) includes numerous British medical photographs including a rare 1874 women's medical school album depicting early women graduates and noted practitioners. The gilt inscribed cover title,  "Mrs. Dr. Fulton, Women’s Medical College London 1874". Among the WWI albums are unusual presentation albums of British wounded soldiers at Russian Grand Duchess George's London hospital's these albums are among the most detailed inscribed albums of identified wounded soldiers in the war. Many photographs of significant British physician images are also in the collection which will be available to the public by Yale University as thery are digitized. Some digitized copies of the images and albums remain available at the Burns

Here are two websites announcing the acquisition

Yale News Release

As many collectors know finding a proper home for ones collection is very difficult and often a life long search. Yale Medical School Library is the perfect place for my collection as they already have the Harvey Cushing Medical Museum dedicated to neurosurgery, and are well staffed to handle another medical museum. The Yale Medical Library has had a significant collection of medical photography and my collection complements and draws attention to their own holdings. Most importantly the library staff's appreciation of the Burns Collection significance is evident and their dedication to preservation and access is exemplary.

Stanley B Burns,MD,FACS

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