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Points of View: Capturing the 19th Century in Photographs

£17.99

From its beginnings in the 1840s up to the mass democratisation of photography as a widespread leisure pursuit, the development of the medium was swept along by a tide of artistic and entrepreneurial activity that gathered pace throughout the 19th century. Since the first public announcement of the invention in 1839, photography has both reflected and shaped society. Science, government, industry and a growing media quickly recognised its value as a documentary tool, a shaper of opinion and a potentially lucrative profession. Both as art form and social document, the photograph has played a critical role as the primary means of visual expression in the modern age. Points of View brings together, for the first time, a selection of images from the British Librarys collections, examining the history, diversity and influence of photography from its invention and early years up to the growth of a popular amateur market in the early 20th century. Beginning with the work of William Henry Fox Talbot and other influential pioneers, the book includes many of the most celebrated names in 19th century photography from across the world, including Francis Frith, Felix Teynard, Samuel Bourne and Peter Henry Emerson, as well as numerous lesser known names who made significant contributions to the medium. Organised by subject matter in a broadly chronological arrangement, it asks who was taking the photograph and why. Section by section, items are presented within their cultural, contexts, exploring some of the major themes of the 19th century, from imperial expansion to industrialisation and the emergence of new scientific and social disciplines in an era of rapid social change. The final sections of the exhibition will examine the ways in which the development of simplified cameras and accessible technology responded to the demands of a developing mass market for photography, which continues up to present day.

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