The Invention of Photography

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of photography in the 1830s, when techniques for ‘drawing with light’ evolved to the stage where, in 1839, both Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot made claims for its invention. These followed the development of the camera obscura, and experiments by such as Thomas Wedgwood and Nicephore Niepce, and led to rapid changes in the 1840s as more people captured images with the daguerreotype and calotype. These new techniques changed the aesthetics of the age and, before long, inspired claims that painting was now dead.

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  • Simon Schaffer 25 episodes
    Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge
  • Elizabeth Edwards No other episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Photographic History at De Montfort University
  • Alison Morrison-Low No other episodes
    Research Associate at National Museums Scotland

Reading list

  • The Invention of Photography: The First Fifty Years
    Quentin Bajac (Thames and Hudson, 2002) Google Books →
  • Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms
    Gordon Baldwin and Martin Jurgens (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009) Google Books →
  • Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography
    Geoffrey Batchen (MIT Press, 1997) Google Books →
  • William Henry Fox Talbot: Beyond Photography
    M. Brusius et al. (eds) (Yale University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • French Daguerreotypes
    Janet E. Buerger (University of Chicago Press, 1989) Google Books →
  • Crown & Camera: The Royal Family and Photography 1842-1910
    Frances Dimond and Roger Taylor (Penguin, 1987) Google Books →
  • Photography: A Very Short Introduction
    Steve Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Making of English Photography: Allegories
    Steve Edwards (Pennsylvania State University, 2006)
  • The Rise of Photography: 1850-1880, The Age of Collodion
    Helmut Gernsheim (Thames and Hudson, 1988) Google Books →
  • Victorian Photography: A Collector's Guide
    B. E. C. Howarth-Loomes (Ward Lock Limited, 1974)
  • Oxford Companion to the Photograph
    Robin Lenman (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Photography: Discovery and Invention
    Weston Naef (ed.) (Getty Trust Publications, 1991)
  • The Poor Man's Picture Gallery: Stereoscopy Versus Paintings in the Victorian Era
    Denis Pellerin and Brian May (The London Stereoscopic Company, 2014) Google Books →
  • Out of the Shadows: Herschel, Talbot and the Invention of Photography
    Larry Schaaf (Yale University Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • Amateur Photography and the mid-Victorian Imagination
    Grace Seiberling with Carolyn Blore (Chicago University Press, 1986)
  • Photography and its Origins
    Tanya Sheehan and Andres Zervigon (eds.) (Routledge, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Photography of Victorian Scotland
    Roddy Simpson (Edinburgh University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Disciples of Light: Photographs in the Brewster Album
    Graham Smith (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1990) Google Books →
  • The Personal Art of D.O. Hill
    Sara Stevenson (The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, 2002)
  • Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years
    Sara Stevenson and Alison Morrison-Low (National Museums of Scotland, 2015) Google Books →
  • George Washington Wilson, Artist and Photographer, 1823-93
    Roger Taylor (Aberdeen University Press, 1981) Google Books →
  • Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives 1840-1860
    Roger Taylor & Larry Schaaf (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007) Google Books →
  • Stereoscopes: The First One Hundred Years
    Paul Wing (Transition Publishing, 1996) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, in Paris in 1839 the digrotype was announced to the world.