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Explore the Victorian craze for photography, examine its history, from the earliest images in 1839 and how it has influenced the way we capture and share images today as photography moved from being a niche concern of the few, to one of the most important cultural forms of the modern world.
Introduces the first photographic processes, unveiled in 1839 - the daguerreotype, by Parisian Louis Jacque Mandé Daguerre and the calotype, by Englishman WHF Talbot, which Hill & Adamson used to produce around 3,000 images between 1843 and 1848.
Week 2 - 1851: A Year to Remember
With the Great Exhibition in London and two major milestones in the development of photography: first, stereoscopy, the 3D sensation and second, the new, faster wet collodion process that made outdoor photography much easier.
Week 3 - Studio Photography, Amateur Photography
In 1851 there had been about a dozen photographic studios in London; by 1866 this number had increased to 284. Photography became extremely fashionable, particularly in the new carte-de-visite and stereo forms. Amateur photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron, photographed the writers, artists, scientists in her social circle.
Week 4 - Stereo Sensation
Following the presentation of the lenticular stereoscopic viewer at the Great Exhibition, viewing the world in 3D became a Victorian craze. The experience of using a stereoscope was described as ‘mesmerising’. The London Stereoscopic Company, formed in 1854, had as its slogan: ‘no home without a stereoscope’.
Week 5 - Photography for Everyone
We look at how photography rapidly moves from an expensive, amateur hobby, to reaching the masses, with the growth of cheap ‘tintypes’ and beach photography, and end with the impact of the Kodak camera, marketed with the slogan "You press the button and we do the rest".
- Christine McLean
- Alison Morrison-Low - Science and Technology - National Museums Scotland
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