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12201186887?profile=originalMore than thirty people gathered in Edinburgh on 29 September to celebrate the installation of a commemorative plaque to John Thomson (1837-1921) on the exterior of his childhood home at 6 Brighton Street. The building in Thomson's day housed 77 people and is now immediately behind the National Museums Scotland in Chambers Street and close to the University of Edinburgh. 

12201187480?profile=originalThe centenary of Thomson's death in 1921 was the catalyst for the plaque and follows the restoration of Thomson's grave in 2019. Betty Yao MBE and Jamie Carstairs, Deborah Ireland and others, lobbied Historical Environment Scotland, the Scottish government body which manages the plaque scheme. Representatives from the Scottish Society for the History of Photography, HES, the Royal Photographic Society, curators and photo-historians were all represented,  Thomson is best known for his publications of his travels in Asia and Street Life in London  and for the work he undertook for the Royal Geographic Society in training explorers in photography. He was also a member of the Royal Photographic Society,

An exhibition of 94 of Thomson's photographs, curated by Betty Yao, is also on show at Heriot Watt University. This is the first showing of Through the lens of John Thomson in Edinburgh, Thomson is an alumni of one of the university's predecessor bodies. 

Separately, publisher MuseumsEtc has released a  936-page, two-volume set, comprising John Thomson's Street Life in London and an accompanying volume with context and commentary by Emily Kathryn Morgan. See:

For the exhibition see:


Photographs: © Michael Pritchard

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12201180073?profile=originalAlex Boyd is a Scottish-German visual artist, writer and curator who has debuted a new body of work at Stills, Edinburgh, which explores the unseen uses of the Scottish landscape by the military. The exhibition runs from 30 September to 13 November 2021.

Boyd’s work examines landscape, identity and the underlying tensions which exist in place. He works primarily as a photographer and printmaker, a practice which has incorporated early techniques such as wet-plate collodion and calotype through to contemporary image capture systems such as drones. This new work, made over several years, develops themes explored in his Saltire Award shortlisted book St Kilda -The Silent Islands.

The Scottish landscape is one which is heavily utilized by the military, with the Ministry of Defence one of the largest landowners in the country. In this new exhibition, Boyd explores the largely unseen places used to train our armed forces and those of our NATO allies. From the remote bombing ranges of Cape Wrath and Tain Air Weapons Range in the North, to the tank and infantry training areas of Kirkcudbright in the South West of the country, Boyd has walked and documented several hundred miles of a land often hidden behind red flags. Here in the vast stretches of open countryside, relics from a century of conflict from World War One through to the Cold War, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and the recent failed campaign in Afghanistan stand as monuments and reminders of Scotland's and Britain's role on the world stage.Working with archaeologists, ecologists and conservationists, another more complex narrative also begins to emerge -a place where nature thrives among burned-out vehicles and shell craters. '

Tir an Airm' (Land of the Military)also features the work of invited artist Mhairi Killin RSA, who will share work from her series 'Fata Morgana' an exploration of drone warfare testing in the Outer Hebrides.


Listings Information
Alex Boyd: Tir an Airm (The Land of the Military)
30 September to 13 November
Stills Centre for Photography,
23 Cockburn Street,
Edinburgh, Scotland
TueSat, 12pm5pm
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12201179256?profile=originalThe Royal Collection Trust's Prince Albert project has come to an end and is now fully live and accessible. Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy makes freely available a total of 22,000 archival documents, prints and photographs from the Royal Archives, the Royal Collection and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. 

The latest additions include Albert and Victoria’s collection of almost 1000 negatives. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria regularly commissioned photographers to record royal household staff at royal residences. The resulting glass plate negatives  depict individuals ranging from equerries and ladies-in-waiting to ghillies and keepers of the Royal Kennels. Among the sitters are Dr Ernst BeckerCarl Ruland and Baron Stockmar who were particularly significant to Prince Albert.

The negatives shown includes work from Bambridge, Fenton, Caldesi and other well-known royal photographers as well as members of the royal family themselves. 

The unique visual record these negatives assemble indicates the high regard the queen and the prince held for their employees, regardless of rank, and provides information on the people the royal couple surrounded themselves with at home.


With thanks to Helen Trompeteler for highlighting this.

Image: Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88), Lucy Kerr (1822-74) 26 - 26 Jul 1854. RCIN 2083108

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12201179458?profile=originalRyerson Image Centre is hosting a noon time collection talk with Steven Evans who will discuss the Francis Bedford Research Collection. Steven Evans is a Toronto-based photographer and collector who has focused on architecture and the urban environment for over 40 years. Evans graduated from Ryerson University’s Media Studies program in 1982 and as a collector in the years since, Evans has compiled, over two decades, a comprehensive resource of early photographs and other objects associated with the British photographer Francis Bedford.

The collection surveys Bedford’s impressive achievement as a leading maker of architectural and landscape images during the late 19th century. This talk is an opportunity for the public to learn about the Francis Bedford Research Collection, of nearly 1300 objects, which features the photographer’s early work with illustration and lithography, and examples of his amateur and commercial photography.

The Francis Bedford Research Collection
30 September 2021
12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada) | 1700 (BST) | 1800 (CET)

Free, book here:

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12201185889?profile=originalGrant Scott, who has done so much with his film Do not bend: The photographic Life of Bill Jay to remind us of the seminal role played by Jay in British photography from the late 1960s to mid-1970s, has made a new discovery. He has located Jay's contact sheets from a trip he made with Tony Ray-Jones to New York in 1968 hidden in a plastic box in a house in Tempe, Arizona. 

Scott sets out the background to the trip and illustrates them. One hopes that there is more to come.  

Scott blogs about them here;

His film about Jay is available free to view on YouTube here:

Image: Bill Jay, New York, 1968 / United Nations of Photography

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Obituary: Peter Bunnell (1937-2021)

12201178298?profile=originalPeter C. Bunnell, whose passionate and inspired teaching profoundly changed the field of photographic history, passed away at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, on Monday, 20 September 2021. As the inaugural David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University, a position he accepted in 1972 and held for 30 years before his retirement, Bunnell educated a generation of undergraduate and graduate students in what is still a young branch of art history; his was the first endowed professorship in the history of photography at any American university.

An enthralling storyteller with a deep personal knowledge of the medium’s history, an infectious enthusiasm, and an unfailing devotion to his students, Bunnell drew capacity crowds to his undergraduate courses and attracted graduate students from across the country and beyond. A testament to the widespread and lasting influence of his teaching, Bunnell’s Princeton protégés have served as curators and professors at leading institutions including the Metropolitan Museum; the Museum of Modern Art; The Morgan Library; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; George Eastman Museum; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the International Center of Photography; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Fotostiftung Schweiz; Aperture; Brown University; Indiana University; City College of New York; Bard College; Bowling Green State University; and Zurich University of the Arts, among others.

As curator of photography at the Princeton University Art Museum throughout his 30-year tenure on the faculty, and as Museum Director from 1973 to 1978 and Acting Director again from 1998 to 2000, Bunnell built a broad-ranging collection of photography, the first-hand examination of which became an unforgettable central element of the student experience in his classes and seminars. “These photographs are used,” he said, “they don't just sit around in boxes.” In fact, he taught all of the discussion sections of his courses himself, always with original photographs rather than with slides. Photographer and former Princeton professor Emmet Gowin recalls Bunnell’s extraordinary gift for “awakening and reaching the hearts and minds of students of all kinds, but especially his ability to connect with and support students attempting to practice the art of photography themselves.” At the time of Bunnell’s retirement in 2002, Gowin praised his capacity to understand the work of artists “who were in no way synchronous with his own stances or world views. To a degree almost unthinkable, the collection he built at Princeton is without gender bias or cultural bias, but embracing of all that was fresh and difficult in the work of young contemporary artists.

Allen Rosenbaum, who Bunnell hired as Assistant Director of the Museum in 1974 and who succeeded him as Director, similarly recalls his generosity, noting that “there was no ego or vanity in his directorship.” Rosenbaum vividly recalls having been invited to a class led by Bunnell and Gowin and having come away with “a sense of the great gifts of these men as thinkers and communicators, and with the revelation—at least for me—that there was such a thing as connoisseurship in photography.”

In addition to the expansive and carefully selected collection that Bunnell built for the Museum, spanning the history of the medium, he secured two important archives—those of Pictorialist photographer Clarence H. White, the subject of his Master’s thesis at Ohio University, and Minor White, Bunnell’s own mentor as a photographer and interpreter of the medium. He met Minor White as an undergraduate at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where classes taught by White nurtured his burgeoning interest in photography. “I took his classes, and, as was his practice, he drew a group of students around him outside the Institute,” recalled Bunnell. “These were informal sessions where he explored in more depth his philosophy and attitudes toward photographing.” Bunnell went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in photography from Ohio University in 1961 under the tutelage of Clarence H. White Jr., as well as an M.A. in art history from Yale University in 1965, where he began a doctoral dissertation on the life and work of Alfred Stieglitz.

Immediately before joining the Princeton faculty in 1972, Peter Bunnell served as curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he had joined the staff in 1960 as a collection cataloguer and risen to associate curator in 1968 and curator in 1970. At MoMA, Bunnell’s achievements included ground-breaking exhibitions that offered innovative new avenues to analyze and understand photography: Photography as Printmaking (1968), and Photography into Sculpture (1970), as well as an exhibition of the work of Clarence H. White (1971). In addition to exhibitions at Princeton in subsequent years, including a continuous series of installations designed for students in his courses, Bunnell organized the Harry Callahan exhibition for the United States Pavilion at the 38th Venice Biennale in 1978.

Beyond his role as teacher and curator, Bunnell served the field in various capacities—as national chair of the Society for Photographic Education and chair of the board of The Friends of Photography—and was the recipient of numerous honors and awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (1979) and the Asian Cultural Council (1984). He was also named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.

Peter Bunnell wrote extensively on topics across the history of photography, though primarily about American artists, and most often about living photographers, many of whom he knew personally. His numerous essays have been anthologized in Degrees of Guidance: Essays on Twentieth-Century American Photography (1993) and Inside the Photograph: Writings on Twentieth-Century Photography (2006). His book Minor White: The Eye That Shapes, which accompanied a retrospective exhibition of White’s photographs that opened at the Museum of Modern Art in 1989, won the George Wittenborn Memorial Award of the Art Libraries Society of North America. He also authored three monographs on Jerry N. Uelsmann, his undergraduate roommate at Rochester Institute of Technology and a lifelong friend. In addition, he edited several anthologies—A Photographic Vision: Pictorial Photography, 1889–1923 (1980); Edward Weston on Photography (1983); and Aperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 1952–1976 (2012); and co-edited two Arno Press reprint series, The Literature of Photography and The Sources of Modern Photography.

Long into retirement, Bunnell happily remained an invaluable source for researchers in the history of photography who called upon his recollections of firsthand encounters with twentieth-century photographers, recollections aided by file cabinets filled with decades of carefully taken notes, newspaper clippings, and other seldom-saved ephemera—an invaluable resource that will become available to future scholars at Princeton’s Art Museum and Firestone Library.

Peter Curtis Bunnell was born in 1937 in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of Harold C. Bunnell and Ruth L. Buckhout. He is not survived by immediate family but is held dear in the memory of the many students, scholars, artists, and curators who benefited immensely from his wisdom and deep generosity of spirit. Following his wishes, no funeral service will be held, but friends, colleagues, and protégés will gather at a later date to celebrate his life.

Malcolm Daniel, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Picture: Princeton University

Another obituary is available here:

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12201177463?profile=originalPhotographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political intends to explore how uses of digital technology, and digitisation in particular, have transformed the ways in which historical photographs of value to perceived inherited cultural legacies are collected, deployed and identified as such. It will specifically investigate what has led formal heritage and memory institutions to drive this process, how heritage communities might have navigated their aspirations around it, and how political interest groups have taken advantage of it to promote their causes.

Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political
Online:19-20 October 2021
Registration is free

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12201177497?profile=originalForum Auctions, London, is offering a copy of John Thomson's Illustrations of China and its People which dates from 1873-74. The volumes include 96 photographic plates. The lot is estimated at £15,000-20,000. 

12201177701?profile=originalIf you're interested check out the lot here

UPDATED: The lot sold for £16,000 plus buyer's premium. 

This year marks the centenary of Thomson's death and later this week a plaque will be unveiled at his childhood in Edinburgh. Thomson was an alumnus of Heriot Watt's predecessor body and an exhibition of his photography opens at Heriot-Watt's Riccarton campus until 22 March 2022.


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12201177258?profile=originalColour Fever is a two-week celebration of colour photography. Through a series of online talks and ‘in conversations’, it will consider a range of processes, exhibitions, inventors and artists, spanning the nineteenth century to the present day. Hear from photographers, artists, academics, curators and researchers working with colour photography, historically and today.

The programme includes conversations with Susan Meiselas, James Barnor, and Anton Custers; and some 25 separate papers across multiple sessions that range broadly across colour, its photographers and applications. The full programme can be seen at the link below. 

Colour Fever
Monday, 25 October 2021 – Friday, 5 November 2021
Free, online via Zoom
Details and booking

The event has been organised by Catlin Langford from the V&A Museum. It is Supported by The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation and hosted in association with the V&A Research Institute.

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12201186656?profile=originalIn its development the panoramic photograph was to exceed the limits of the human field of vision to encompass what we can only see by turning on our heads; could it make art? In addition to a blog post discussing the creative and documentary scope of the Kodak Panoram and Cirkut cameras, I've also created a Wikipedia page on it here

Follow my other discussion of the panoramic format here, here and with other Panoram prints here

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Rhonda Wilson MBE (17 August 1953 - 6 November 2014) was a women's activist, photographer, writer, editor, and educator in British contemporary photography, best known for her initiation of the Rhubarb-Rhubarb International Festival of the Image.

I've just recently been researching the energetic promoter of photography Rhonda Wilson of Birmingham, and have created a Wikipedia biography, and a blog post, on her, comparing her with John Blakemore.

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12201184873?profile=originalHave you encountered the passionate photography of Edith Tudor-Hart and her remarkable life story? Let me introduce you to her here 150w, 300w, 1024w, 1400w" sizes="(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px" />.

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12201170674?profile=originalThe study of women photographers continues to attract new research and the V&A's Parasol and new curatorial post is the latest example from the UK (see BPH last week). Different ways of looking at existing data are also providing new insights. This piece by Kim Biel for Lapham's Quarterly looks at new work by Library of Congress conservator, Adrienne Lundgren, which shows the strength of women in the American MidWest.. 

Read the full report here:

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12201169484?profile=originalThis four-week course looks at the role of photography archives in relation to their social, historical and cultural uses. Citing collections within both UK and internationally, each session will look at different aspects of photography archives – from how they are formed, sourced and shaped to examples of how they have been employed, interpreted and made public. 

Led by artist and academic Ravi Deepres, each week will consist of themed presentations and talks, guest speakers, debates and discussion.

This course will be of interest to artists and others with an interest in learning more about some of the more hidden archives with photography collections.

Recontextualising the Archive
20 Sep 2021-11 Oct 2021, 1830-2000 (BST)
£140, £120 concession


Read more here:

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Publication: The Lindsays of Balcarres

12201177072?profile=originalThe Lindsays of Balcarres began with the rediscovery of some dusty photograph albums at the home of the author’s late father in Fife. The wealth of images within, unexplored for over eighty years, provided the perfect way to present the fascinating untold stories of the family and their lives. From a photography perspective it starts with daguerreotypes, through to collodion and more recent silver-gelatine prints. 

The family, which traces its roots back to the time of Charlemagne, almost lost everything after siding with the Stuarts, but fortunate marriages, colonial endeavours and industry enabled them to create a new fortune and reclaim their position as the Premier Earls of Scotland. This renewal coincided with the birth of photography in the 1840s, which encouraged the family to capture moments of their leisure pursuits and the part they played in the events of their time. The collection serves as a social history, recording the rapidly changing industries they were involved in and the relationships with their staff on which their way of life depended.  Some of the earliest daguerreotypes in the family archive point to the enduring affinity that would develop between photography and the country house. It is the perfect medium for a family so deeply involved in both fine art and the latest technology.

12201176656?profile=originalThe reader will encounter a gallery of colourful characters, including Elizabeth Lindsay, who married the 3rd Earl of Hardwicke in 1782 and became Vicereine of Ireland; her great-nephew, Robert, who joined the Guards at the outbreak of the Crimean War and carried the Queen’s Colours to the heights of Alma, earning him the first of two citations for the Victoria Cross; and his brother-in- law, Alexander, the 25th Earl of Crawford and his polymath son Ludovic (shown on the front of this book), who together rebuilt the family library, Bibliotheca Lindesiana, into one of the world’s finest.

James Ludovic, known intimately as ‘Udo’ as a young man and latterly Ludovic, was surely one of the family’s most intriguing figures of the last two centuries, both in his pursuits and appearance. Amongst his many achievements, he saved the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh by giving the entirety of his scientific library, along with all its apparatus, to the observatory on condition that the government continued to fund its operation. His legacy continues to this day – the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh plays a vital role in the United Kingdom’s part in the European Space Agency while undertaking projects linked to NASA and observatories around the globe.

Ludovic Lindsay’s painstaking restoration of these remarkable family photographs and archival research mean that a chronicle of his forebears’ lives, told through three hundred hitherto unpublished images, is for the first time possible.

The Lindsays of Balcarres: A Century of an Ancient Scottish Family in Photographs
Ludovic Lindsay
Pimpernel Press
ISBN 978-1-910258-57-6
Published 7 October 2021

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Publication: Fleet Street Exposures

12201168895?profile=originalThis book tells the story of Stephen Markson who rose from messenger boy at The Times to the top of his profession as senior staff photojournalist for that paper. The book tells the stories behind the pictures, images and anecdotes that give a tantalising glimpse of the danger and glamour, tragedy and celebrity, seen through the lens of a talented photographer for whom every day was different and every frame counted.

Stephen has compiled an intriguing collection of stories and images from the golden era of Fleet Street, when budgets were limitless, deadlines were tight and getting the film from the camera to the darkroom was often a challenge in itself. His determination saw him and his resourcefulness is apparent in many of the notes that accompany his iconic photographs.

His life was far from ordinary, with experiences ranging from being shadowed by the KGB and threatened by the IRA to hoodwinking Maggie Thatcher and dancing with Elton John. The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in recent history, journalism or photography and particularly in the drama and atmosphere of images shot on black and white film.

Fleet Street Exposures: Diary of a photojournalist
Stephen Markeson
ArtCircus Books, 2021 
£30.00, 168pp
ISBN 978-1-914424-16-8

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Blog: Friese-Greene protofeminist?

12201176482?profile=originalPeter Domankiewicz has written a blog in which he suggests, and cites evidence, that William Friese-Greene was a supporter of women's rights. Friese-Greene was active when such issues were very topical and the subject of wide debate and in a lecture he gave to Bath Photographic Society in 1890 he stated: '‘Now the next subject I shall connect with this paper, or at least the movement or movements of photography, is the ladies. . .’. 

The blog can be read here:

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12201174665?profile=originalThe 33rd Annual Daguerreian Society symposium will take place from 15-17 October. The event will include a virtual fair featuring 19th and 20th century photographs, books, and ephemera including images from the highest levels of the art to vernacular snapshots, collectible books, historical images, and a broad range of historical photographic material. It is a show for collectors, curators, galleries, and dealers. 

There will be expert panel discussions and (virtual) tours of exhibitions and collections. The full talks programme will be announced shortly. 

This is an excellent opportunity for curators and historians to reach a receptive -- and enthusiastic -- audience.  With the symposium now a month away, the Society is inviting proposals for Zoom presentations and/or video tours of 19th century photography exhibitions and collections. 

The Daguerreian Society is a non-profit organization devoted to 19th century photography, headquartered in the US but welcoming members from around the globe.

Details and registration here:

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12201174699?profile=originalFor more than 60 years the Department of Photography and Film at Salisbury provided education for professional photographers and cinematographers. Starting in 1956 with part-time courses at The College of Art it developed to become one of the country’s leading provincial centres.

With over 200 pages of illustrations, stories and a chronological narrative The Right Exposure published in 2021 uses an eclectic mix of fact and ephemera to tell the fascinating story of this hugely influential department.

It will appeal to students past and present, local historians and anyone interested in education for photography and filmmaking.

It can be ordered from the Blurb bookshop in printed form or as a PDF.


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