Wood and Brass Era

Little is known about early studios other than the largest most prestigious ones in London and other European capitals and what little information there is has not been fully researched. This was the starting point for a talk by Colin Harding of the National Media Museum to the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain ( PCCGB ).

Colin then went on to refer to a considerable amount of information including images of photographers and in particular paintings and etchings. He referred to evidence that early photographers wore black and white check trousers, velvet jackets and a fez. Their style was Bohemian,
Photographers did not enjoy a good reputation for a number of reasons. They worked closely with women including in a darkroom. They also photographed women and on occasions had cause to adjust their clothing. Some employed touts to drum up business. Some photographers took photographs of people in the streets or on the beach and did so without the person’s knowledge. Cartoons of the time showed photographers as ” photographic fiends ” who stalked people with their cameras.

Early photographs required long exposure times and so early photographic studios were built with glass sides or roofs. Few records exist of the way studios were run with photographers not recording their own working environment or them at work.

October 2015