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EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks

 

History of Photography in Edinburgh

1

Lauriston Castle
 

Page 1

2

Early History of
Photography

Page 2

3

Types of Camera and  Photo

Page 3

4

Photographic
Societies

Page 4

5

Professional
Photographers

Page 5

 

History of Photography in Scotland

Talk  at

Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle, Edinburgh ©

11 September  2012

 

Introduction

Items to View

These are some of the items that I've brought today.  If you'd like to know more, please ask me after the talk.:

-  Daguerreotype, Ambrotype, Tintype

-  Victorian Photographic Album, Cabinet Prints, Cartes de Visite

-  Stereo Viewer and View Card

-  Copies of early Calotype Photos and recent matching photos

-  Booklet:  History of Edinburgh Photographic Society

-  Booklet:  Edinburgh Professional Photographers

EdinPhoto Web Site

Today's talk is based on some of the info in my EdinPhoto web site that I set up about 10 years ago,  www.edinphoto.org.uk.

This web site includes old photos and recollections of Edinburgh - and today talk!

Has anybody come across this site?

Today's Talk

1.  As we're meeting at Lauriston today, I thought we could start by looking very briefly at a few recent Photos of Lauriston.

2. Then we'll move on to today's topic and look at

 The History of Photography in Edinburgh

from four points of view - about ten minutes for each:

-  Early History

-  Cameras and Photos

-  Photographic Societies

-  Edinburgh Professional Photographers

3.  I've also provided an 8-page hand-out titled:

 "The History of Photography in Edinburgh"

Please continue to scroll down this page to see a copy of the hand-out

Notes distributed at Lauriston Castle Lecture :   11 September 2012

History of Photography in Edinburgh

 

Pre-1839

Early experiments

Pioneering work in photography was carried out by:

Thomas Wedgwood, England, born into a long line of pottery manufacturers.  He experimented with photographic images in the 1790s.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, France, inventor of the internal combustion engine, patented in 1807.  He created the world’s earliest known photograph in 1825.

Some photographic historians now believe that more recognition should be given to the work of these men.

 

1839

Daguerre and Talbot

However, 1839 is the year that is usually attributed to the start of photography.

 7 Jan:   Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, French artist and physicist announced his discover of photography to the world.

25 Jan:  William Henry Fox Talbot, English botanist, linguist, mathematician and inventor, responded by presenting his work to The Royal Institution in London.

Daguerre’s process produced single images on metal.  Talbot’s process produced a paper calotype negative from which multiple positive prints could be printed on salted paper.

Response in Edinburgh

Two of Edinburgh’s learned societies took an immediate interest in photography.

27 Mar:  Dr Andrew Fyfe, Vice President of Royal Scottish Society of Arts reported the results of his own photographic experiments to his society.  He presented further results to the society two weeks later.

13 Apr:  T & H Smith, Chemists, advertised their ‘Materials for Photographic Drawing’.

29 May: Sir John Robertson, Secretary of Royal Society of Edinburgh gave an address to his society, telling members about his recent visit to Daguerre in Paris

15 Oct:  James Howie advertised “to the Nobility, Gentry and Public, the opening of An Exhibition of his New Art on Silver” at his studio, 64 Princes Street, Edinburgh.

24 Dec: An Exhibition of Arts, Manufacturers and Practical Science at The Assembly Rooms, George Street. attracted over 50,000 visitors.  It included 20 photos by Talbot and a camera made by Thomas Davidson of Edinburgh.  Davidson went on to make cameras for Hill & Adamson.

Page 1

 

 

Pre-1839

Early experiments

Pioneering work in photography was carried out by:

Thomas Wedgwood, England, born into a long line of pottery manufacturers.  He experimented with photographic images in the 1790s.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, France, inventor of the internal combustion engine, patented in 1807.  He created the world’s earliest known photograph in 1825.

Some photographic historians now believe that more recognition should be given to the work of these men.

 

1839

Daguerre and Talbot

However, 1839 is the year that is usually attributed to the start of photography.

 7 Jan:   Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, French artist and physicist announced his discover of photography to the world.

25 Jan:  William Henry Fox Talbot, English botanist, linguist, mathematician and inventor, responded by presenting his work to The Royal Institution in London.

Daguerre’s process produced single images on metal.  Talbot’s process produced a paper calotype negative from which multiple positive prints could be printed on salted paper.

Response in Edinburgh

Two of Edinburgh’s learned societies took an immediate interest in photography.

27 Mar:  Dr Andrew Fyfe, Vice President of Royal Scottish Society of Arts reported the results of his own photographic experiments to his society.  He presented further results to the society two weeks later.

13 Apr:  T & H Smith, Chemists, advertised their ‘Materials for Photographic Drawing’.

29 May: Sir John Robertson, Secretary of Royal Society of Edinburgh gave an address to his society, telling members about his recent visit to Daguerre in Paris

15 Oct:  James Howie advertised “to the Nobility, Gentry and Public, the opening of An Exhibition of his New Art on Silver” at his studio, 64 Princes Street, Edinburgh.

24 Dec: An Exhibition of Arts, Manufacturers and Practical Science at The Assembly Rooms, George Street. attracted over 50,000 visitors.  It included 20 photos by Talbot and a camera made by Thomas Davidson of Edinburgh.  Davidson went on to make cameras for Hill & Adamson.

 

Page 2

 

 

1850 to 1900

Photographic Societies

The 1851 Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London drew large crowds.  It brought photography to the attention of a wide audience.  Over the next few years, photographic societies began to be established throughout Britain.

-  The Photographic Society was established in London in 1853.  It thrives today as The Royal Photographic Society with members around the world.  It is now the largest and most prestigious photographic society in the world.

The Photographic Society of Scotland was established in Edinburgh in 1856.  It was very active until 1861, then declined and was finally wound up in 1873.

Edinburgh Photographic Society was established in Edinburgh in 1861 and is still very active today.

EPS Lectures

Edinburgh Photographic Society lecture titles make interesting reading:  Titles included:

-  1861:  My First Photographic Trip to the Country, and what Befell me.

-  1865:  A New Tent for Photographic Purposes, mounted on a Wheelbarrow.

-  1869:  The Velocipede as an Adjunct to Landscape Photography.

-  1872:  Some Recent Explosions and their Causes in connection with the Oxyhydrogen Light.

-  1879:  A Few Reasons why the Photographer should study Practical Chemistry.

-  1882:  On Photography as a Handmaid to Medical, Surgical and Other Sciences and as a Pleasant Recreation to the Cultivated Mind.

EPS Meetings

Some of the EPS meetings were ‘Popular Meetings’.  These were open to the general public.  Some had audiences of 1,000 or more.  Lantern slides were shown at these meetings, sometimes accompanied by music, poetry and singing.

EPS Outings

EPS organised photographic outings, travelling by cycle, train, steamer and canal barge.  Annual Picnics were popular, combining photography and sports – sack and barrow races, three-leg races, battledore, quoits, walking backward races and a tug-of-war between the married and single members.

In 1883 a party of 109 travelled to the EPS Annual Picnic at Almond Dell by decorated canal barge.  There were two violins, ‘cello, piano, dances and a solo singing competition on the outward journey, sports at the event, and dancing and singing on the 3 to 4 hour return journey to Edinburgh by barge.

Most professional photographers in Edinburgh were EPS members.  They closed their studios each year for the EPS Annual Picnic, and declared the day a Public Holiday.

Page 3

 

 

1856

Photographic Exhibitions

PSS

The Photographic Society of Scotland held Annual Exhibitions in Edinburgh until 1866.  The first was held in 1856, the year that PSS was founded.  It had 1,050 prints and 8,000 visitors.

The press spoke of the exhibition with enthusiasm.  The Caledonian Mercury wrote (22 Dec 1856):

“Another exhibition has opened to the delight of our pleasure-loving Auld Reekieites who are noted as dillettántí and Fine Art rhapsodists.  Photography already appears scarcely less marvellous than the electric telegraph.”

Commenting on the same exhibition, The Courant (22 Jan 1857) broke into verse:

“Old Sol had scarcely spoken thus, when forth I went straightway

To his Great Exhibition-Room, my shilling there to pay;

And scarcely had I passed the door, and laid my money down

When I exclaimed, ‘A shilling’s worth!  Why, this is worth a crown.’

He really is a painter!  His own account is true.

I only wish we saw him here far oft’ner than we do”

1861

Photographic Exhibitions

EPS

In 1861, when EPS was less than six weeks old, it staged its first exhibition.  EPS must have been well connected at that time.  Over 700 photos were exhibited, including work from many prominent photographers of the day: - Bedford, Bisson, Fenton, Mudd, Ramage, Rodger, Horatio Ross, Silvy, Tunny and others.

The EPS  Exhibition in 1876, occupied the whole of the Royal Scottish Academy at The Mound.  It was reported that circulars had been circulated in Europe and “posted to nearly every photographer in Britain, America, India and the Colonies”.

The EPS Exhibition was held again at the Royal Scottish Academy, for 8 weeks, in 1890.  The display included 1,500 photos, photographic equipment, and copies of Talbot’s books: ‘Sun Pictures of Scotland’ ‘Pencil of Nature’ and ‘Photographic Drawings’.  This exhibition also had a programme of lectures, and music provided by the String Band of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.

EPS International Exhibitions are now held each August during the International Festival and Fringe - the 150th was held in 2012.  These exhibitions continue to attract entries from around the world.  Over the past 60 years 145,411 photos have been entered from 130 countries. 12,388 of these have been accepted and exhibited.

 

Page 4

 

 

1860s to 1900s

Types of Portraits

Not many families owned their own cameras in the late 19th century, so most portraits required visits to professional photographic studios.

In the 1840s and 1850s, photographic portraits had been too expensive for most to afford, though some would no doubt have been bought by people who would previously have bought miniature portrait paintings of family members. However, by the 1860s, competition between studios had increased and portraits were becoming more affordable.  The main choice was between:

Ambrotypes: glass negatives, mounted against a black background then usually framed with thin gold coloured metal and mounted inside a hinged case, perhaps two photos to a case, usually about 4 x 3 ins or smaller.

Tintypes:  a similar size to Ambrotypes, or smaller, but printed on metal, sometimes mounted as above, but often unmounted, especially the inexpensive ones sold by itinerant photographers at holiday resorts.

-  Cartes de Visite (about 4 x 2 ½ ins) and Cabinet Prints (about 6 ½ x 4 ¼ ins), were mounted on cards that fitted into Victorian photograph albums.  Cartes de visite were usually sold by the dozen, in some cases costing as much as 10s 6d a dozen.  However, by the 1890s it was possible to buy them from some photographers for as little as 6 pence a dozen.

 

Here are the front and back of a carte de visite produced by JT Croal in 1863, the year that he opened his studio at 80 George Street, Edinburgh.

The front of a carte de visite of a lady by John T Croal      The back  of a carte de visite of a lady by John T Croal

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

 

 Page 5

 

 

  

 

1890s

This Cabinet Print from the 1890s, is from Philip E Low’s studio -  one of several studios in Portobello that catered for the passing holiday trade in the summer months.

Cabinet Print  -  donkey and children  -  Photographer: Philip E Low

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

Landscapes

Photographers offering a wide range of photographic views in the 1890s included:

GW Wilson (Aberdeen) and

-  Valentine & Sons (Dundee)

These photos were popular with a generation that had begun to travel around Britain on the railways.  Views were sold both as individual prints and mounted into albums.

Stereo Views

Stereo views were popular around 1860 and again in the 1890s.  Here is one of The Shore, Leith, taken around 1860 by Edinburgh photographer, Thomas Vernon Begbie:

 

Leith Inner Harbour - Stereoscopic View by Begbie

©  The Cavaye Collection of Thomas Begbie Prints: City Art Centre, City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

Page 6

 

 

 

1890s

More Camera Users

During the 1890s, photography became easier, and more people took an interest in it.

Dry collodion plates then available had become sensitive enough to allow photos to be taken with short exposures.  So in bright weather hand-held cameras could be used, rather than cameras mounted on tripods.

New cameras were appearing on the market.  Some used film, instead of glass plates, so were more convenient to use.

- Kodak had begun to sell cameras and to process films.  Their slogan was:
      “You press the shutter:  we do the rest.” 
Kodak
sold their first camera in 1888
.

Early 1900s

Choice of Process

Photographers had many different processes to choose from:

-  Film gradually became more widely used, in preference to the bulkier glass slides.

-  Most photos were now being printed onto gelatin silver paper with silver chloride and/or silver bromide coating.  These remained popular throughout the 20th century.

-  However, there were also many alternative processes that could be used, some requiring special skills and equipment.

-  Photographers opted for Gum Bicarbonate, Platinum, Palladium, Bromoil and Photogravure in their search for more artistic results and for images that would not fade with time.

1900 to 1950

Postcards

Valentine & Sons and other companies that had previously sold photographic views turned their attention to producing postcard views around 1900.  Postcards are still popular today, but the “Golden Age of Picture Postcards” when cards were cheap to buy and post, and were sent in very large numbers, ended around 1914.

Some portrait studios such as Claude Low of Princes Street, GR MacKay of North Bridge and Jeromes of Leith Street printed their studio portraits as postcards. These remained popular up to the mid-20th century, often ending up in family photograph albums, but seldom being sent through the post.

Page 7

 

 

1950 to 2000

Cameras

Compact cameras and automatic cameras gradually became more affordable.  With ‘auto-exposure’, ‘auto-focus’ and other features available even on some of the cheaper models, it became easier to achieve good quality images.

Many keen amateurs chose Single Lens Reflex cameras with their inter-changeable lenses because of their versatility and the high quality results they could produce.. 

Polaroid, cameras, Disk cameras and Single Use cameras all had periods of popularity, and a photographer wishing to experiment could build his own Pinhole camera.

Large format cameras remained popular amongst professional photographers involved in advertising and fashion, but the press abandoned these models in favour of the more convenient 35mm cameras.

Film and Prints

Many keen amateur photographers during this period were using colour slide film, perhaps opting for Kodak, then Fuji Velvia with its vibrant colours.

Others chose black and white film, or perhaps infra-red for its special effects.

However, colour print film was the choice for most amateurs.  These films were tolerant of under-exposure and over-exposure, and processing costs were usually affordable.

Prints became larger.  In 1950, 2¼ ins square prints were common, but by 2000, the size was more likely to be 6x4 ins or 7x5 ins.

 

2000 to 2012

Digital Photography

Many people moved to digital photography around the year 2000.  The number of photos being taken continues to increase due to:

-  more people now owning and carrying cameras, including mobile phone cameras.

-  the convenience and ease of use of these cameras.

-  the appeal of being able to see and share results immediately.

-  there being no film or processing costs.

In a recent Radio 4 interview with the designer of the first mobile phone, the reporter commented: “About half the photographs ever taken were taken during the past year!”.

Photos can now be taken, added to a web site, then seen and commented on around the world within minutes of being taken.  What a contrast this is to the days when taking photos was followed by several days of waiting to see how the results had turned out!

It will be interesting to see what sort of photographic record will be passed on to future generations.   Many digital photos are likely to be viewed with enthusiasm when taken, then forgotten.  Probably not many will find their way into the sort of album that was once used to record the lives of several generations of a family.

Peter Stubbs  -  11 Sep 2012

Email:  peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk                                  web site:  www.edinphoto.org.uk

Page 8

End of Introduction

 

History of Photography in Edinburgh

1

Lauriston Castle
 

Page 1

2

Early History of
Photography

Page 2

3

Types of Camera and  Photo

Page 3

4

Photographic
Societies

Page 4

5

Professional
Photographers

Page 5

End of Page 0

__________________

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks