The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography is a unique publication, one that is an essential reference work for anyone interested in the medium of photography. This text is the result of diligent primary research by many of the world’s leading researchers and writers on the subject. Their scholarship has revealed many long established ‘facts’ to be fictions, established the role of many hitherto unrecorded figures, measured the achieve- ments of many of the leading practitioners against con- temporary critical appraisal of their work, and placed the history of photography’s first century within a social and economic context. What these researches have produced is a reference work of significant scholarship that in addition to standing as a critical work of reference, offers many highly perceptive essays that significantly develop current critical debate on the role, the nature, and the merits of nineteenth century photography.
We have devoted considerable space to key figures like Daguerre, Talbot, Fenton, Herschel, Brady and others to place their achievements in context. Similarly, major inventors, manufacturers, organisations, and supporters of the medium have been examined in extended essays. In its totality the encyclopedia contains1197 entries: 610 major entries of 1000 to 5000 words, and an additional 587 shorter entries on minor and emerging figures; together these provide readers an expansive history of nineteenth century photography. This text ranges from shorter 200 word entries that provide snapshots of photographic figures and other key elements of nineteenth century photography to large, 5,000 word entries that provide detailed, analytical scholarship for our readers.
The encyclopedia offers a number of access points to information. Photography’s history can be explored by date, by named imagemaker, by area, or by process to name but four, with each of these themes offering a fresh perspective on the history of the medium.
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The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography contains both alphabetical and thematic tables of contents for easy reference. These sections allow researchers to quickly and easily locate topics of interest or a group of similar entries under a specific theme. See Alsos at the end of many entries provide cross-refer- ences to guide the reader to associated entries. Read- ers also have the pleasure of viewing the 197 images placed throughout this work to aid their understanding of nineteenth-century photography. Included as well with every major entry is a Further Reading section in which authors have listed referenced texts or other works giving additional content on that topic. A thorough, analytical index increases the ease of navigating these two volumes.
National and Regional Surveys allow readers geo- graphically oriented access, enabling them to learn about location-specific issues—from the overly humid condi- tions of South Asia to the arid environment of Egypt. These sections provide a fresh framework by which to read, separating true history from the conventional western-oriented understanding of history that has domi- nated photographic historiography for a century.
Societies, Groups, Institutions, and Exhibitions offer a unique view of the popularisation of photography and its encouragement by local and national groups and organisations, and show how exhibitions were used to draw together photographers from other countries. In these entries short- and long-term interest groups and exhibitions are discussed from conception to either their conclusion or present day. These discussions often include the photographers and patrons who were critically involved in the success of these groups and of photography in the nineteenth century. Readers will see a global interconnectedness emerge from these entries as the histories of these groups are revealed.
Publications looks at both illustration- and word- based texts. Word-based publications often focus primarily on the art and science of photography itself. Necessary to a comprehensive understanding of the appeal of photography in the nineteenth century is that illustration-based publications provided not just images of foreign lands to people who could not af- ford to travel, but they created images for discussion, research, and further review as well. The emergence of the photographic press served not only as a means of disseminating information for the practical application of photography but also for its chemistry, techniques, processes, and equipment. The photographic press also functioned as a platform for the publication of criticism and debate. Through these increasingly widely-read journals, problems concerning the manipulation of early processes were often resolved through readers’ letter pages.
Photographers, Inventors, Patrons, and Critics, the most conventional of the texts’ themes, offer the reader extended biographies of leading names in the development of the art and science of photography. The figures located under this section have often contributed critically to the success and proliferation of photography internationally; however, this section includes minor figures as well whose involvement were nonetheless important in the development of photography.
Although there is both an alpha and thematic table of contents, the entries are sequenced alphabetically, ensuring that the information contained in these volumes can be accessed easily by the reader. This encyclopedia offers a total overview of the history of photography’s first century. Many of the earliest encyclopedias served as compilations of photographic history and practice for the benefit of the working photographer in pre-Great War Britain and America, however this encyclopedia is a comprehensive reference work on photography’s first century for the benefit of a growing body of not just photographic historians, academics, professionals, and enthusiasts worldwide but students as well. Primary amongst our requisites for this encyclopedia was that it be the reference work we would want students and upcoming scholars to use in researching photographic history.
A century ago photographic history was the pursuit just a few. Very few eminent photographers of the day were interested in the work of their antecedents, a no- table example being Alvin Langdon Coburn, , who was fascinated by the work of early Scottish photographers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, and the Scottish amateur Dr Thomas Keith. Today however a much wider body of people—including photographic historians, nonspecialists, and students—seek to develop a deeper understanding of photography’s history to place it within the wider context that this encyclopedia provides.
Readers can also explore the history of the com- panies, devices and techniques that were invented, developed, and marketed by individuals and compa- nies such as Bausch & Lomb, R & J Beck, Jonathan Fallowfield, Kodak, J Lancaster, Marion & Co, Ross, Voigtlander, and Alfred Watkins all of which are dis- cussed in detail in the entries that follow. The breadth of this encyclopedia’s list of entries reaches not just the science or art of photography, but also the practicality of it. For instance, between the announcement of the daguerreotype and the end of the nineteenth century, the weight of a camera had been reduced from more than one hundred pounds to just a few pounds, and the total equipment a photographer needed to carry on location had been reduced from enough to fill a small carriage to less than would fill a small knapsack. These entries narrate the progression and evolution of photography for the historian, constructing a dynamic, fundamental understanding of photography starting from kitchen-sink chemistry where each photographer was exclusively responsible for the manufacture of his or her sensitive materials, to the beginning of mass manufacturing to- wards the end of the century. These discussions highlight the emergence of companies like Kodak and Agfa, which were already firmly established in the industry as the nineteenth century drew to a close and which would later dominate the twentieth century.
It has often been said that at the time of the introduc- tion of the first viable photographic processes, photog- raphy was a solution in search of a problem. Although the inventors of the medium were confident in their predictions of the huge potential of photography, none could have foreseen the range of applications, and the innumerable approaches and styles that would emerge before the end of the nineteenth century. Nor could any- one have foreseen the number of processes that would be introduced, or predict the success of some and the failure of others. Those applications, approaches, styles, and processes, minor as well as major, are explored and discussed within the pages that follow, as are their photographic inventors, supporters, and exponents. This comprehensive text provides researchers with this material in an easy-to-navigate, meticulously organized reference work.
This Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photog- raphy encompasses the enormous range and depth of nineteenth century photography, both art and science. There are many entries on major and minor figures whose achievements have previously been under-re- ported, providing readers with a much fuller history than was available hitherto. This is the first comprehensive reference work to introduce and celebrate these obscure, misremembered photographers, and clarify enduring confusion over names. For example there were three photographers operating under the name William Bell, all of whom were in the forefront of nineteenth century American photography. Our contributors have clearly identified all three and separated their achievements. Similar diligence has been applied all the entries to en- sure the histories included herein are thoughtful, useful, and clear, and that they establish an accurate nineteenth century photographic history.
Photography’s first century is one of invention and innovation, intense debate and the development of an in- creasingly sophisticated visual language. The academic study of photographic history is a surprisingly young subject, despite the fact that over a century and a half has passed since its first published history. It is one of photo- graphic history’s failings that some of the misinterpreta- tions that are bound to be present in any early attempt to document a history have remained unchallenged for so long. That many such misunderstandings have been replicated from one book to another, and are now re- peated on countless websites, underlines the importance of a publication as exhaustive as the Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography. This text contains explorations and discussions by leading theorists, his- torians, and critics of the innovations, and the debates and implications of photography in the nineteenth cen- tury. These contributors have painstakingly researched these topics to simplify and delineate these issues for our readers. The commissioning of leading experts to research and compile this encyclopedia, with many of them offering fresh and often challenging readings of the subject, has made this text essential reading.
As mentioned earlier, one of the strengths of this en- cyclopedia is the inclusion of many figures whose con- tribution to the development of the medium have been unacknowledged, but yet another is the commitment of the writers to return to primary source material and re- view many of the assumptions and misconceptions in the history of the subject. Because of this return to primary material several of the ‘facts’ published in many past works have been revealed as misunderstandings based on only partial information. An example is the discovery of hand-written patents in the Scottish and Irish Patents Offices, negating the widely published assertion that Richard Beard did not patent the daguerreotype in either country, which scholars have often cited as an explana- tion for why there were in the 1840s more daguerreotyp- ists in Scotland than in England. That he patented the process throughout Great Britain, but apparently did not enforce his patent rights except in England and Wales, opened up new understanding and interpretation of his career included in his entry in this text.
Furthermore, the encylopedia’s scope encompasses more than just American, Great Britain, and France to include countries not often thoroughly discussed in photo-historical texts. The history of photography contained in this encyclopedia is the product of a photo- instead of Anglo- or Euro-centric approach, and one that encompasses extended accounts of the emergence of photography in many areas of the world including Rus- sia, China, Japan, Central and South America, Africa, and the Ottoman Empire and also offers biographies of leading figures in each of these areas. These countries and regions have been covered in depth to establish a history of photography’s expansive influence upon, and importance in, cultures throughout the world. Research- ers using this text will read entries by authorities based in the countries about which they are writing, introducing them to many photographers whose work will now be recognized to be as important as some of the image- makers whose place in the pantheon of photographic history is already established.
Although photography existed in its own right world- wide, photography’s inventors were predominantly from France, Britain, and America, and as such, these nations were primarily responsible for the dissemination of the medium. British and French travellers and military personnel played a pivotal role in taking photography to Asia, Africa, and the Antipodes, with American photographers taking the medium to South America and the Pacific.
These travellers introduced photography to the first generation of indigenous practitioners in each country, many of whose achievements are published within this text for the first time. As local photographers matured in their understanding of the medium, and developed their own locally relevant aesthetic—often drawn from national trends and styles in painting the exhibitions they organised, and the societies and groups they established, developed their own national momentum. Essays map- ping the emergence of these exhibitions, institutions, and organisations are crucial in establishing the con- texts within which the first and second generations of photographers operated.
The diversity of perspectives provided for readers includes the exploration of the role played by major and minor figures in the emergence of historical and critical writing on photography, from Henry Snelling to Helmut Gernsheim. Documented as well are accounts of pioneering advocates of the medium who understood the importance of the photograph as historical artefact. Key amongst those advocates are the early collectors, whose understanding of the importance of collecting visual material then ensured that the available evidence of photography’s history would be as rich as it is today. Thus readers will find entries for those who established the collection at the South Kensington Museum, now the Victoria & Albert Museum—and those who initiated the collecting of photographs at the Library of Congress and elsewhere.
Our enduring impressions of the nineteenth century including the Crimean War, the American Civil War, and other mid-century conflicts are informed by the images offered by surviving photographs. These images were often constrained by the limitations of available process- es and technology, by the photographers’ interpretation of contemporary sensibilities and by the photographers’ recognition that sales of the resulting images had to conform to the tastes of the purchaser. When with an understanding of their time, however, these images serve as valid historical documentation from which anyone reading this text can gain not only a more intimate knowledge of these events, but also of how responsive photography was in certain circumstances.
Just as influential in dictating the nature and content of photographs of news and current affairs were the constraints placed on mid-nineteenth century photog- raphers by the nature of the processes they were using. The inability of the medium to capture action resulted in an abundance of staged portraits. Thus, in offering a real understanding of the images produced during the nineteenth century, we have sought in compiling The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography to present factual material within its contemporary nine- teenth century context. Reading mid-Victorian images with a twenty-first century mindset is to misunderstand much of what is to be seen.
The publication of both the Encyclopedia of Nine- teenth-Century Photography and the companion three-volume Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography, document the magnitude of nineteenth century photographers’ vision, and the extent to which their early predictions for photography have been achieved and surpassed. These two texts present in a set of reference books what will become the standard sources of students for years to come. These volumes will also by their breadth and content undoubtedly drive further photo-historical research in many of those areas of study.
In bringing this project to completion, I am indebted to the vision of the original editor, Pamela Roberts, and to the Advisory Board made up of leading academics and curators worldwide, who established the basic principles of the project and drew up the original list of entries. I have deviated only slightly from their list, adding a few emerging figures as the project progressed. To realise their vision required the scholarship of the many leading authorities on nineteenth century photography who have written the entries, and the many collections from which the illustrations have generously been made available.
The contributions of many people have been equally crucial in completing this project and we owe them each, individually, a debt of gratitude for their perse- verance. To name but a few, I am especially indebted to Ron Callender, Alistair Crawford, Malcolm Daniel, Anthony Hamber, Michael Hallett, Colin Harding, Kath- leen Stewart Howe, Gael Newton, Michael Pritchard, Pam Roberts, Larry Schaaf, Graham Smith, and Mike Ware for their knowledge and their advice, and for their generosity with their time in helping me unravel some of the complexities of identification, and helping me to find authoritative writers for many of the more challenging entries that have significantly expanded the boundaries of published knowledge. That we have found accomplished researchers adds to the integrity of the project. Special thanks to Mark Georgiev, Acquisitions Editor, and also to Beth Renner, Development Editor at Routledge, who has had the unenviable task of keeping track of all the assignments, cajoling writers who missed their deadlines, liaising with me every step along the way, and helping us get back on track needed.
Despite its trials, this has been one of the most re- warding projects with which I have been involved. Dur- ing it, I have had the pleasure of meeting and discussing photographic history with countless remarkable people. The highs have been very high, but the lows would have been a lot lower without the support and encouragement of my wife, Vita.