Home of Photography

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Mike Farley
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Joined: Tue 11 Sep 2012, 16:38
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Home of Photography

Postby Mike Farley » Tue 11 Jan 2022, 10:37

I visited Lacock Abbey recently. It is where Fox Talbot, one of the pioneers of photography lived. Contrary to what we used to be told, photography was a French invention and Fox Talbot's contribution was the introduction of the negative which allowed multiple copies of prints to be made. The first photograph is credited to Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 but he failed to profit from his work and he later collaborated with Louis Daguerre. It was the latter who made the first announcement about the creation of a photographic process that caused Fox Talbot to publish his own pioneering discoveries. Within weeks, William Herschel reported significant improvements which he freely shared with both Daguerre and Fox Talbot. Of the four men, only Daguerre was able to benefit financially despite Fox Talbot's belated and ineffective efforts to claim first mover credit for himself.

Roger Cicala wrote an interesting history about the early days of photography in a series of articles published on DPReview towards the end of 2021. One thing that he said was that all the elements that went into making a photograph (cameras, lenses and chemistry) had been known many decades prior to Daguerre and Fox Talbot but no one was able to bring it all together before their involvement. In particular, it was the ability to fix an image permanently that proved so elusive. Had history been different and some crucial knowledge shared more widely, there is a possiblity that photography have been an 18th century invention. Now that is an intriguing thought.

Some 180 years on from those momentous events, I wonder what those concerned would make of the state of photography today? I took this shot in the cloisters of the Abbey, with people taking shots on their mobile phones. My primary motivation was to record what those around me were doing. Like me, they might share their results on social media but it is unlikely that any will ever be printed. How times change.

Home of Photography.jpg
Home of Photography
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Regards

Mike Farley
(Visit my website and blog - www.mikefarley.net)
Mike Farley
Posts: 7251
Joined: Tue 11 Sep 2012, 16:38
Contact:

Re: Home of Photography

Postby Mike Farley » Sat 15 Jan 2022, 12:03

One further thought about progress of photography. In the early days, emulsions reacted so slowly to light that exposure times were measured in minutes. Shutters did not exist as all that was needed was a lens cap and watch to get the desired result. Precise accuracy of the duration that the lens was open did not matter. The camera would have been on tripod but any movement caused by the action of removing and replacing the cap probably did not detract from the image quality. On a dull day under the cover of the Cloisters, this photo was taken at ISO 6400 @ 1/20 sec. Until just a few years ago, that would have been impossible. The shutter speed could be so slow due to the use of image stabilisation and only the movement of the second person from the left gives it away. Digital has transformed ISO ratings. Yet we now take this capability for granted.
Regards

Mike Farley
(Visit my website and blog - www.mikefarley.net)
walterconquy
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue 18 Sep 2012, 23:23

Re: Home of Photography

Postby walterconquy » Wed 19 Jan 2022, 17:41

Hi carrying on from Michael Farleys information I was reading a book on the battle between Louis Daguerre and Henry Fox Talbot and the history before them, including people like Josiah Wedgewood. It's really quite interesting and surprisingly gripping. The book is called Capturing the Light by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport. The book has about ten pages of early photographs, which set the scene for the battle.
Highly recommended by me. Unput downable.
Regards Wally

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