History of photography

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History of photography
Abbe James
Allen Albert
Bailey David

Beaton Cecil
Cunningham Imogen
Carroll Lewis
Drtikol Frantisek
Duhrkoop Rudolf
Eisenstaedt Alfred
Feininger  Andreas
Halsman Philippe
Heartfield John
Horst P. Horst
Kasebier Gertrude
Kirkland Douglas
Lartigue Jacques Henri
Laughlin Clarence John


Maar Dora
Man Ray

Miller Lee
Munkacsi Martin


Outerbridge Paul


Rodchenko Alexander
Skoglund Sandy
Smith William Eugene
Smith Rodney
Tabard Maurice
  Watson Albert


From the earliest days of the medium, landscape, architecture, and monuments were appealing subjects for photographers. This sort of photography, which was collected by artists, scientists, and travelers, was impelled by several factors. In Europe one powerful factor was the maneuverings among western European powers for control of portions of North Africa and Asia. From the late 1850s through the 1870s, British photographers were particularly active in recording the natural landscape and monuments of the empire’s domains: Francis Frith worked in Egypt and Asia Minor, producing three albums of well-composed images; Samuel Bourne photographed throughout India (with a retinue of equipment bearers); John Thomson produced a descriptive record of life and landscape in China; and French photographer Maxime Du Camp traveled to Egypt with Gustave Flaubert on a government commission to record landscape and monuments.

Both for patriotic reasons and as a commodity for travelers, photographers also were active in recording the landscape of western Europe in the 1850s and ’60s. Important British photographers included Roger Fenton, who worked in England and Wales; Charles Clifford, who worked in Spain; Robert Macpherson, who photographed Rome; and George Washington Wilson, who photographed Scotland. French photographer Adolphe Braun recorded the landscape around his native Alsace, as well as the mountainous terrain of the French Savoy, as did the brothers Louis-Auguste and Auguste-Rosalie Bisson. Herman Krone in Germany and Giacchino Altobelli and Carlo Ponti in Italy were also intent on recording the beauties of their regional landscapes.

Photographs of specific historical buildings were made for a number of purposes: to satisfy antiquarian curiosity, to provide information for restoration, to supply artists with material on which to base paintings, or to effect preservation efforts. Practically from photography’s inception, such documentation was commissioned by public and private authorities. In western Europe and the United States, photographs captured the building of the industrial infrastructure, from bridges to railroad lines, from opera houses to public places to monumental statuary. In the early 1850s Philip Henry Delamotte was hired to document the progress of the construction of the Crystal Place in London, and a few years later Robert Howlett depicted the building of the Great Eastern transatlantic steamship. Alfred and John Bool and Henry Dixon worked for the Society for Photographing Old London, recording historical buildings and relics. In the 1850s the French government commissioned several photographers to document historical buildings. Working with cameras making photographs as large as 20 by 29 inches (51 by 74 cm), Henri Le Secq, Charles Marville, and Charles Nègre produced remarkable calotypes of the cathedrals of Notre-Dame (Paris), Chartres, and Amiens, as well as other structures that were being restored after centuries of neglect. An establishment was set up in Lille, France, by Blanquart-Evrard at which these paper negatives could be printed in bulk.

In the United States explorations of the lands beyond the Great Plains led to the apogee of landscape photography during the period. Before the Civil War, relatively few exceptional images of the Western landscape had been made. In the postwar era railroad companies and government commissions included photographers among their teams sent to determine mineral deposits, rights of way, and other conditions that would be suitable for settlement. Of the photographers confronting the spectacular landscape of the American West in the 1870s and ’80s, William Henry Jackson, O’Sullivan, and Carleton Watkins produced particularly notable work. Both O’Sullivan, who helped survey Nevada and New Mexico, and Watkins, who worked in California and Oregon, were able to convey through their work a sense of the untamed and extraordinary quality of the Western landscape. As a testament to the power of his images, Jackson’s photographs of the Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone River were influential in getting public land set aside for Yellowstone National Park. The work these and other photographers of the American West produced usually was made available in several sizes and formats, from stereographic images to mammoth-sized works.

Landscapes in places outside the United States and Europe were usually portrayed by European photographers during this period. However, exceptions included the Chinese photographer Afong Lai and the Brazilian photographer Marc Ferrez, both of whom produced excellent views of their native countries. In particular, Lai’s serene compositions reflected the conventions of the long-standing tradition of Chinese landscape painting.

Maxime Du Camp
Maxime Du Camp, (born Feb. 8, 1822, Paris, Fr.—died Feb. 9, 1894, Baden-Baden, Ger.), French writer and photographer who is chiefly known for his vivid accounts of 19th-century French life. He was a close friend of the novelist Gustave Flaubert.

An outgoing, adventurous man, Du Camp also pioneered in photography and published works in virtually every literary genre. He traveled widely with Flaubert (1844–45 and 1849–51), and his Égypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie (1852), written after one of their journeys, is among the first books illustrated with photographs. During the revolutionary year 1848 he was wounded and then decorated for counterrevolutionary activity in France. His Expédition des deux-Siciles (1861; “Expedition to the Two Sicilies”) recounted his experiences as a volunteer with the Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi.

In 1851 Du Camp founded the Revue de Paris and in it published Flaubert’s great novel, Madame Bovary; disputes arising from the publication of the novel ended their friendship. To La Revue des Deux Mondes, Du Camp contributed his Paris, ses organes, ses fonctions et sa vie, 6 vol. (1869–75; “Paris, Its Mechanisms, Its Workings, and Its Life”), an extensive document of the city. He also wrote poems (Les Chants modernes, 1855; “Modern Songs”), art criticism, novels, a monograph on his friend, the writer Théophile Gautier, and Souvenirs littéraires, 2 vol. (1882–83; “Literary Recollections”), which included previously unrevealed information about Flaubert and his struggles with epilepsy.

Maxime Du Camp
Stele of Karnak, Egypt, about 1850

Charles Negre
Charles Negre, (born May 9, 1820, Grasse, France—died January 16, 1880, Grasse), French painter and photographer best known for his photographs of Paris street scenes and architectural monuments, notably the Notre-Dame and Chartres cathedrals.

Nègre first went to Paris in 1839 to study painting in the studio of Paul Delaroche. His fellow students there included Roger Fenton, Gustave Le Gray, and Henri Le Secq. After studying with Delaroche, Nègre apprenticed briefly with Michel-Martin Drolling and then with Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, with whom he stayed for a few years beginning about 1843. Nègre was a talented and respected painter and regularly participated in the Paris Salon des Beaux-Arts exhibitions in the 1840s and ’50s. Having been encouraged by Delaroche to experiment with photography, Nègre began working with daguerreotypes (the first successful form of photography, made on a copper plate), photographing landscapes as early as 1844. By the late 1840s he had begun to make calotypes, which, in contrast to daguerreotypes, were made from lightweight paper negatives, had a shorter exposure time, and could be endlessly reproduced, whereas the daguerreotype could produce only one image. His early photographs were made to be used as aids to his painting, and he often retouched them with pencil or ink to achieve a desired effect.

In 1851 Nègre became one of the founding members of the Société Héliographique, the first photographic society, whose members included photographers, scientists, and intellectuals. His early photographs taken outside the studio were street scenes that attempted to capture movement among street vendors, musicians, chimney sweeps, and the like. He invented a system of multiple lenses that would allow him to capture motion, which he succeeded in doing in photographs such as Market Scene at the Port de L’Hotel de Ville, Paris (1851) and Chimney Sweeps Walking (1851). When Nègre was not chosen by the government in 1851 to go on a Mission Héliographique—a survey of the country’s architecture to help determine preservation and restoration needs—he embarked on his own photographic expedition to the south of France, where in 1852 he documented the Midi region. He compiled his many calotypes from that trip into a book, Le Midi de la France: sites et monuments historiques photographié (1854–55). In 1853 Nègre took a photograph commonly known as Le Stryge (“The Vampire”). The image, which has since become an icon of 19th-century photography, captured his friend Le Secq posing next to a massive gargoyle high above Paris, atop Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Nègre was deeply engaged in the technical aspects of the craft of photography and became known as a premier maker of heliogravures, reproductions of drawings or other graphic material with a photomechanical process invented by Nicéphore Niépce in 1822. He used the process to create plates for a monograph of his series of photographs of Chartres Cathedral under renovation. The book won the highest honours at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855. In 1856 Nègre patented his own heliogravure process that improved upon the one by Niépce by making the images less prone to fade and less expensive to produce. Nègre entered his invention in a competition for best photomechanical reproduction method sponsored by Honoré T.P. Joseph d’Albert, duc de Luynes, in 1856. Though Nègre did not win the competition (awarded in 1859), the duke was impressed with Nègre’s work and commissioned him to use his improved heliogravure technique to create the plates for a book documenting the duke’s 1864 travels—Voyage d’exploration à la mer Morte, à Petra, et sur la rive gauche du Jourdain, 3 vol. (1868–74; “Expedition to the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Left Bank of the Jordan River”). The high quality of Nègre’s work was also recognized by Emperor Napoleon III, who in 1858–59 commissioned the photographer to document the Imperial Asylum in Vincennes, a newly opened charitable institution for disabled workers. Nègre’s photographs, striking in their dramatic light-and-dark effects, documented the institution’s edifice as well as the daily routines of its residents.

Throughout the 1850s and ’60s, Nègre exhibited his photographs widely, not only in Paris but also in Amsterdam, Brussels, and London. He spent the last 15 years or so of his life in the south of France, in Midi, teaching high-school drawing and running a commercial studio in Nice. His artistic work resurfaced in exhibitions in the 1960s and ’70s, and he has since been recognized as an early master of photography.

Naomi Blumberg

Henri Le Secq and "Le Stryge" on Notre Dame de Paris, photographed by Nègre in 1853

William Henry Jackson
William Henry Jackson, (born April 4, 1843, Keesville, New York, U.S.—died June 30, 1942, New York, New York), American photographer and artist whose landscape photographs of the American West helped popularize the region.

Jackson grew up in far-northeastern New York state, where he learned to draw and to paint. As a teen, he got jobs downstate in Troy and later in Rutland, Vermont, where he did retouching for photographic studios. While in Vermont he also learned the art of photography. He served (1862–63) in the American Civil War and returned to Vermont before heading west in 1866. He opened a photography studio in Omaha, Nebraska, the following year and began photographing local Native Americans and scenes from the route of the new Union Pacific transcontinental rail line.

From 1870 to 1878 Jackson was the official photographer for the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. His photographs of the natural wonders of northwestern Wyoming, taken during the Hayden survey expedition of 1871, were exhibited in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Members of the U.S. Congress were so impressed by Jackson’s photos that his work was one of the major factors in the congressional vote that established Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Jackson photographed in the Teton Range south of Yellowstone (in an area now part of Grand Teton National Park) in 1872, and in 1874 he took photographs of cliff dwellings in southwestern Colorado (now in Mesa Verde National Park). Following his work with the survey, he opened a new studio in Denver, Colorado, in 1879.

In 1893 Jackson exhibited his work at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where he was also the fair’s official cameraman. Shortly thereafter he became the cameraman and part-owner of a company in Detroit, Michigan, that bought the rights to the new Photochrom process for printing photographs in colour. He worked there until the company’s collapse in 1924.

Jackson had dabbled in painting throughout his career, and from the mid-1920s until his death he pursued it in earnest. He produced dozens of oils and watercolours during that period, mainly on themes associated with the American West. Jackson continued to take on occasional government commissions, including painting murals for the Works Progress Administration in 1936.

William Henry Jackson
A street market in Mexico City, 1884-1885.

Carleton E. Watkins
Carleton E. Watkins, in full Carleton Emmons Watkins or Carleton Eugene Watkins (born Nov. 11, 1829, Oneonta, N.Y., U.S.—died June 23, 1916, Imola, Calif.), American photographer best known for his artistic documentation of the landscape of the American West. He also produced images of industrial sites in that region. (For further information regarding his name, see the Researcher’s Note.)

In 1851, at age 22, Watkins left his birthplace in rural upstate New York for California, traveling with Collis P. Huntington, who became famous later as a financier and railroad magnate. Two years later, Watkins found work in Robert H. Vance’s photographic portrait gallery in San Jose, where he became proficient in making daguerreotypes. After the introduction of the wet collodion process—which reduced exposure time, created a sharper image, and was considerably cheaper—California photographers, Watkins among them, recognized its value for capturing the spectacular landscape of the region.

By the early 1860s, Watkins’s reputation as a field photographer was firmly established. His images were large and clear, and he seemed able almost always to select the spot which, in his words, “would give the best view.” His association with members of the California intellectual and artistic elite, among them John C. and Jesse Frémont, Thomas Starr King, William Keith, and Josiah Dwight Whitney helped transform him from a competent craftsman into a photographer of great artistry. His first significant landscape project involved making large-format (21 × 18 inch [roughly 53 × 46 cm]) images of Yosemite Valley. These photographs were influential in President Lincoln’s decision to name Yosemite a national preserve and ultimately in persuading the United States Congress to pass legislation preserving the valley from commercial development. Because of these photographs Mount Watkins in Yosemite was named in his honour (1865). Many of them were used to illustrate Whitney’s The Yosemite Book (1868).

Besides photographing landscapes in and around San Francisco from 1867 through the 1880s, Watkins traveled extensively. He photographed the Columbia River region and Mount Shasta in the Pacific Northwest, parts of southern California and Arizona, Nevada’s Comstock mines, and Yellowstone National Park. His work was exhibited extensively and won medals in expositions throughout the United States and Europe. Following the loss of his entire studio in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Watkins became ill and destitute, and in 1910 he was committed to a hospital for the insane.

Carleton E. Watkins
Minerva Terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs, National Park, by Carleton Watkins


EASY OF ACCESS, generally immobile, and of acknowledged artistic appeal, landscape, nature, and architecture provided congenial subjects for the first photographers. The desire for accurate graphic transcription of scenery of all kinds— natural and constructed—had led to the perfection of the camera obscura in the first place, and it was precisely because exactness was so difficult even with the aid of this device that Talbot and others felt the need to experiment with the chemical fixation of reflected images. Beginning with the daguerreotype and the calotype, 19th-century scenic views evolved along several directions. They provided souvenirs for the new middle-class traveler, and brought the world into the homes of those unable to make such voyages. Photographs of natural phenomena provided botanists, explorers, geologists, and naturalists with the opportunity to study previously undocumented specimens and locations. And as scientific knowledge increased, as changing conditions of life in urban centers promoted new concepts of how to understand and represent the material world, the camera image itself became part of the shifting relationship between traditional and modern perceptions of nature and the built environment.

From the Renaissance up until the middle of the 18th century, painted landscape, with few exceptions, had been considered important mainly as a background for historical and religious events; landscape as such occupied a low position in the hierarchy of artistic subjects. With the relaxation of academic art strictures and the introduction during the Romantic era of a more sensuous depiction of nature, artists turned to a wider range of motifs from the material world. These extended from pastoral landscapes, seen from afar, to depictions of singular formations—water, skies, trees, rocks, and fruits of the field. As heirs to these evolving attitudes toward nature, photographers, armed with a device they believed would faithfully record actuality, approached the landscape with the conviction that the camera might perform a dual function—that photographs might reveal form and structure accurately and at the same time present the information in an artistically appealing fashion.

The public appetite for scenic views had a significant effect on early landscape photographs also. Through most of the 18th century, oil paintings, watercolors, engravings, and (after 1820) lithographs of topographical views had become increasingly popular. The landscape or view photograph was welcomed not only because it was a logical extension of this genre, but also for its supposedly more faithful representation of topography, historic monuments, and exotic terrain. As an example of the overlap that came about in the wake of changing technologies, drawings made by the American explorers Frederick Catherwood and John L. Stephens of their findings on expeditions to the Yucatan peninsula in 1839 and 1841 were based on unaided observation, on the use of a camera lucida, and on daguerreotypes the two had made. Since many views, including these, were made with publication in mind, the camera image promoted a more accurate translation from drawing to mechanically reproduced print, supplying the engraver or lithographer with detailed information at a time when inexpensive methods of transferring the photograph directly to the plate had not yet been developed.

Landscape Daguerreotypes

Truthful representation of the real world without sentimentality presented itself as an important objective to many 19th-century scientists and intellectuals, including French novelist Gustave Flaubert, who held that the artist should be "omnipotent and invisible." This position reflected one aspect of the positivist ideas of social philosopher Auguste Comte and others who were convinced that a scientific understanding of material reality was the key to economic and social progress. The camera image was regarded as a fitting visual means for just such an impersonal representation of nature. Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine the full extent of daguerrcotyping activities with reference to views of nature, architecture, and monuments. Many plates have been lost or destroyed; others, hidden away in archives or in historical and private collections, have been surfacing in recent years, but no overall catalogs of such images exist. From the works most often seen, it seems apparent that the finely detailed daguerreotype was supremely suited to recording architectural features while somewhat less useful for pure nature. The influential British art critic John Ruskin, who in 1845 began to make his own daguerreotypes as well as to use those of others in preparing the drawings for his books on architecture, praised the verisimilitude of the daguerreotype image as "very nearly the same thing as carrying off the palace itself."

Daguerreotype scenic views made on both sides of the Atlantic reveal attitudes about nature and art of which neither the photographer nor the viewer may have been aware at the time. The stark mountains and graceless buildings in an 1840 image by Samuel Bemis of a farm scene in New Hampshire seem to suggest the solitary and obdurate quality of the New England country-side. Admittedly, this Boston dentist, who acquired his photographic equipment from Daguerre's agent Gouraud, was working at the very dawn of photography, when materials and processes were in a state of flux. In contrast, the harmonious landscape by Alexandre Clausel, probably made near Troves, France, in 1855, attests to not only a firmer grasp of technique but also to a greater sensitivity to the manner in which the traditional canons of landscape composition were handled.

Landscape photography evolved as a commercial enterprise with the taking of views of well-known or extraordinary natural formations for the benefit of travelers. A favorite site in the United States, Niagara Falls was daguerreotyped by Southworth and Hawes in 1845, ambrotyped as well as daguerreotyped by George Platt Babbitt in 1848, and photographed on stereographic glass plates by the Langenheim brothers in 1855. Albumen prints from collodion negatives of the Falls were made by English commercial photographers John Werge and William England in 1853 and 1859 respectively, and from dry plates by George Barker. In the Midwest, daguerreotypes of similar scenic wonders were made by Alexander Hesler and others in larger numbers than is generally appreciated today.

Samuel Bemis. New Hampshire Landscape, 1840.
Daguerreotype. Collection Ken Heyman, New York.

Alexandre Clausel. Landscape, Probably Near Troyes, France, c. 1855.
Daguerreotype. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

The urban scene also was considered appropriate for the daguerreotypist. Bridge and Boats on the Thames of 1851 by Baron Jean Baptiste Louis Gros typifies the incredible amount of detail made visible by this process, and indicates the way bodies of water might be used to unify sky and foreground, a solution that virtually became a formula for many landscape photographers. The drama of dark silhouette against a lighter sky, seen in Wilhelm Halffter's image of Berlin  demonstrates another method of treating the problem of visually unrelated rectangles of light and dark areas that the actual land- or cityscape frequently presented; this, too, became a commonplace of view photography Most landscape imagery was designed for a broad market—the buyers of engraved and lithographed scenes—so the problem of the nonduplicatable metal plate was solved by employing artists to translate the daguerreotype into engravings, aquatints, and lithographs. One of the first publishers of an extensive work based on daguerreotypes, Noel Marie Paymal Lerebours (an optical-instrument maker who had been associated with Daguerre's endeavors), made use of daguerreotyped scenes from Europe, the Near East, and the United States; these were either commissioned or purchased outright as material for engravings, with figures and fillips often added by artists. Among the daguerreotypists whose work appeared in Lerebours's Excursions daguerriennes: Vues et monuments les plus remarquables duglobe (Dagnerrinn Excursions: The World's Most Remarkable Scenes and Monuments), issued between 1840 and 1843, were Frederic GoupilFesquct, Hector Horcau, Joly de Lotebiniere, and Horace Vernet, all of whom supplied views of Egypt. Daguerreotyping, it seems, had become indispensable both for travelers who could not draw and artists who did not have the time to make drawings.

Interest in unusual scenery and structures was so strong that even though daguerreotyping in the field was not easy, a number of other similar projects were initiated in the early 1840s, generally by affluent individuals who hired guides and followed safe routes. Dr. Alexander John Ellis, a noted English philologist, was inspired by Excursions daguerriennes to conceive of Italy Daguerreotyped, comprising views of architecture engraved from full-plate daguerreotypes that he had supervised or made himself in 1840-41; the project was abandoned, although the plates still exist. The British physician Dr. George Skene Keith and a well-to-do French amateur, Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangey, took daguerreotypes, hoping to publish works on Near Eastern architecture that might show details and structure in close-ups and suggest connections between architecture and biblical history. In Switzerland, Johann Baptist Isenring, a painter and engraver turned daguerreotypist, and Franziska Mollinger, one of the early women daguerreotypists, each traveled by caravan throughout the country taking views of scenery to be engraved and published.

HECTOR HOREAU. Abu Simbel, 1840.
Aquatint. Collection Gerard-Levy, Paris.

Panoramic Views

Before giving way to the more practicable negative-positive process, the daguerreotype achieved a measure of additional popularity' with respect to panoramic views— images that are much wider than they are high. It will be recalled that panoramas (and in Paris, The Diorama) with minutely rendered landscape detail were among the most popular entertainments of the early 1800s in Europe and the United States.' Soon after the announcement of the daguerreotype, photographers attempted to capitalize on the appetite for this kind of encompassing yet accurate visual experience. At first, series of individual daguerreotypes arranged in contiguous order to depict a wider prospect were popular, especially in the United States. There the urge to document urban development occupied photographers in virtually all major cities, as exemplified by Fairmount Watenvorks, a series by William Southgate Porter consisting of eight plates made in Philadelphia in 1848. Photographers throughout the nation made panoramic views of the cities in an attempt to encompass the urban growth taking place before their eyes; a 360-degree panorama of Chicago made by Alexander Hesler in 1858 was possibly the first such effort. Wilderness landscape was treated similarly by the San Francisco daguerreotypist Robert Vance and by John Wesley Jones, early American daguerreotypists of western scenery. Jones took 1,500 views in the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada (none of which has survived) on which to base a painted panorama entitled The Great Pantoscope.

Panoramic views also were made on single plates of extended width, achieved either by using a wide-angle lens, or by racking the camera to turn slowly in an arc while the plate moved laterally in the opposite direction. In 1845, Fredrich von Martens, a German printmaker living in Paris, was the first to work out the optical and mechanical adjustments necessary to make single panoramic daguerreotypes of his adopted city, then he turned to a similar format in collodion for Alpine landscapes. Indeed with the advent of the wet plate, the panorama came into its own, even though panoramas on paper had been made by the calotypc process. While exposure time for the glass negative often remained long, the resulting sharply detailed segments of a scene, printed and glued together to form an encompassing view, were taken as embracing reality even though the human eye could not possibly have seen the landscape in that fashion. However, these panoramas were more realistic than the lithographed bird's-eye views that were so popular.

By using panoramic cameras that rotated in an arc of approximately 120 degrees, photographers might avoid the exacting calculations needed to assure that the panels of the panorama would join properly without overlaps or missing segments, but these devices could not encompass as wide an angle as the segmented panoramas and consequently seemed less dramatic. Panoramas were produced by photographers everywhere, by the Bisson brothers, Adolphe Braun, Samuel Bourne, and many now-unknown figures in Europe, Asia, and India, and by American photographers of both urban development and western wilderness. George Robinson Fardon, William Henry Jackson, Carleton E. Watkins, and especially Eadweard Muybridgc, who devoted himself to making panoramic views of San Francisco on three different occasions, were among the more successful panoramists in the United States during the collodion/albumen era.

Landscape Calotypes

Despite unparalleled clarity of detail in landscape daguerreotypes, the difficulties in making and processing exposures in the field and the problems of viewing an image subject to reflections and of replicating the image for publication made it an inefficient technology with respect to views. From the start, the duplicatable calotype was accepted by many as a more congenial means of capturing scenery, and it achieved greater sensitivity and flexibility for this purpose after improvements had been made by Louis Desire Blanquart-Evrard and Gustave Le Gray. Be-tween 1841 and about 1855, when collodion on glass sup-planted paper negatives entirely, calotypists documented cityscape, historic and exotic monuments, rural scenery, and the wilder, less-accessible terrains that were beginning to appeal to Europeans who had wearied of the more familiar settings. Because of their broad delineation, calotype views more nearly resembled graphic works such as aquatints, and this tended to increase their appeal to both artists and elitists in the intellectual community who preferred aesthetic objects to informational documents. Nevertheless, the calotype still had enough detail to recommend it as a basis for copying, as the British publication The Art Union pointed out in 1846 when it noted that painters, not being as enterprising as photographers, could depend on "sun-pictures" (calotypes) of places such as "the ruins of Babylon or the wilds of Australia" for accurate views from which they could make topographical paintings.

Somewhat easier to deal with than daguerreotyping in the field, the chemistry of the early calotype still was complicated enough to make its use in travel a problem. Nevertheless, a number of British amateurs (often aided by servants and local help) transported paper, chemicals, and cameras to the Continent and the Near East soon after Talbot's announcement. Three members of his circle— Calvert Jones, George W. Bridges, and Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot—were the first hardy souls to journey from Great Britain to Italy, Greece, and North Africa with calotype equipment. Through its high vantage point and pattern of light and shade, a view of the Porta della Ripetta in Rome  suggests that Jones (who photographed in Italy and Malta) was interested in atmospheric and artistic qualities as much as in description. Bridges, who traveled in the region for seven years, made some 1,700 pictures, which he found were subject to serious fading; a small group was published in 1858 and 1859 in an album entitled Palestine as It Is: In a Series of Photographic Views... Illustrating the Bible. Another group of calotypes of the area by Dr. Claudius Galen Wheelhouse was gathered together in an album entitled Photographic Sketches from the Shores of the Mediterranean. Ernest De Caranza in Anatolia, Maxime Du Camp in Egypt, and Pierre Tremaux in the Sudan were others among the irly figures who attempted, with varying degrees of success, to use the calotype process to photograph in North Africa and the Near East. These works were forerunners of the numerous views on paper whose appeal to die Victorian public may have been in part because they afforded a contrast between the progress visible at home and the undeveloped landscape of the region and in part because they recalled to viewers their biblical and classical heritage.

REV. CALVERT JONES. Porta della Ripetta, Rome, 1846.
Calotype. Science Museum, London.

In spite of these efforts and even though Talbot placed no restrictions on the noncommercial use of calotypes, view-making did not exactly flourish in England during the first ten years of the process's existence. Instead, images of landscape and architecture achieved a pinnacle of excellence in France during the 1850s, as a result of interest by a small group of painter-photographers in an improved paper process that had evolved from experiments by Blanquart-Evrard and Le Gray. By waxing the paper negative before exposure, Le Gray achieved a transparency akin to glass, making the paper more receptive to fine detail. The spread of this improved technique in France during the early 1850s gave the calotype a new life and resulted in images of extraordinary quality. This flowering coincided with the concern among Barbizon landscape painters for capturing the quality of light and revealing the value of unspoiled nature in human experience.

The improved calotype also made conceivable the photographic campaign—government or privately sponsored commissions to produce specific images. One of the earliest was financed in 1850 by the Belgian treasury, but the most renowned, the Missions heliqgraphiques, was organized in 1851 by the Commission des Monuments his-tofiques (Commission on Historical Monuments) to pro-vide a pictorial census of France's architectural patrimony. Undertaken initially during the Second Republic, in accord with continuing efforts by Napoleon III to preserve and modernize France, it involved the documentation of aged and crumbling churches, fortresses, bridges, and castles that were slated for restoration under the guidance of the architect Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.

The five photographers engaged in this innovative documentation were Edouard Denis Baldus, Hippolyte Bayard, Le Gray, Henri Le Secq, and O. Mestral. Photographers received itineraries and instructions, quite exact at rimes, detailing the localities to be photographed. Among the most accomplished of the group were Le Gray and Le Secq, both of whom had been trained as painters in the studio of Paul Delaroche (along with the British photographer Roger Fenton). Le Secq's Strasbourg Cathedral, one of a series of architectural monuments, is an exhilarating organization of masses of sculptural detail. Le Gray, in whose studio many calotypists first learned the process, was a demanding technician who also was involved in making collodion negatives; his images will be discussed shordy in the context of developments in that material. Little is known of Mestral, a former daguerreotypist and an associate of Le Gray, other than that he photographed in Brittany and Normandy on his own and from the Dordogne southward in company with Le Gray. The image of the bridge Pont Valentre in Cahors, included because of impending plans to restore what was then considered the finest example of medieval military architecture in France, suggests a distinctive feeling for volume and silhouette.

HENRI LE SECQ. Strasbourg Cathedral, 1851. Calotype.
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

O. MESTRAL. Cahors: Pont Valentre, c. 1851. Calotype.
Caisse NationaJc des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, Paris.

Unhappily, the Missions project never reached full fruition. Negatives—some 300—and prints were filed away without being reproduced or published, either because the project's sole aim was to establish an archive or because the photographers depicted these ancient structures in too favorable a light for the images to serve as propaganda for restoration efforts. Individually, they were used by architects and masons working under Viollet-le-Duc's guidance in matching and fabricating decorative elements that had been destroyed. (More than a century later, these early photographs still proved to be useful guides in the restoration of ancient monuments.) Nevertheless, the government of France under Napoleon III continued to regard photography—whether calotype or collodion/ albumen—as a tool integral to its expansive domestic and foreign programs, commissioning documentation of the countryside, the railroad lines, and of natural disasters as evidence of its concern for national programs and problems. Baldus produced about 30 large-format negatives of the flooding of the Rhone River in 1856. It is apparent from the amplitude of his vision and the sense of structure in the example seen here that no dichotomy existed in the photographer's mind between landscape art and documentation.

EDOUARD DENIS BALDUS. The Flooding of the Rhone at Avignon, 1856.
Calotype. Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, Paris.

Not all French landscape calotypists were trained artists, nor was their work invariably commissioned. Indeed, one of the intriguing aspects of the epoch is that scientists as well as painters found the paper negative a congenial process for representing nature. Victor Regnault, director of the Sevres porcelain factory (after 1852) and president of both the French Academy of Sciences and the Societe Franfaise de Photographic, had first become curious about paper photography when Talbot disclosed the process, but only pursued this interest in 1851 after improvements had been made by Blanquart- Evrard. Using the waxed-paper process, he experimented with exposure and produced a number of idyllic, mist-shrouded views of the countryside around the factory, among them The Banks of the Seine at Sevres, in which he included the everyday objects of rural existence such as casks and barrow. Louis Robert, chief of the painters and gilders at the porcelain factory, worked both at Sevres and Versailles, using the calotype process before turning to albumen on glass; a number of his calotypcs were included in Blanquart-Evrard's 1853 publication Souvenirs de Versailles. These images display a sensibility that is similar to that of Barbizon painters in their lyrical approach to the homely and simple aspects and objects of nature and rural life.

VICTOR REGNAULT. The Banks of the Seine at Sevres, 1851-52.
Calotype. Collection Andre Jammes, Paris. Art Institute of Chicago.

LOUIS ROBERT. Versailles, Neptune Basin, c. 1853.
Calotype. Collection Andre Jammes, Paris. Art Institute of Chicago

British amateur photographers welcomed the improved calotype for its greater sensitivity and definition. As heirs to picturesque and topographical traditions in landscape imagery, they sought to maintain a delicate balance between affective expression and the descriptive clarity that the improved process made possible. At times, English camera images of buildings and their surroundings seem to reflect the notion put forth by contemporary writers that architectural structures have expressive physiognomies much like those of humans. For example, Guy's Cliffe, Warwickshire by the English amateur Robert Henry Cheney brings to mind a melancholy spirit, a phrase used by Ruskin to describe the character of certain kinds of buildings. The most celebrated English photographer of this period, Roger Fenton (to be discussed shortly), was extravagantly praised in the British press for the marked "character" of his architectural images.

ROBERT HENRY CHENEY. Guy's Cliffe, Warwickshire, 1850s.
Albumen print. Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/Canadian
Centre for Architecture, Montreal.

Benjamin Brecknell Turner, an English businessman who made pure landscape calotypes as well as portraits and architectural views, found the paper negative so sympathetic to his vision of untrammeled nature that he continued to work with the material until 1862, long after most photographers had switched to glass plates. On the other hand, Thomas Keith, a Scottish physician, practiced the calotype for only a very few years, and then only on occasions when the quality of light enabled him to make negatives of great tonal range. Keith's interest in the expressive nature of light, inspired perhaps by his acquaintance with Hill and Adamson, is apparent in images made in 1856 on the island of Iona, among them Doorway, St. Oran's Chapel, where the factual record of ancient church architecture is given unusual force by strongly accentuated illumination.

Waxed paper negative. Collection Andre Jammes, Paris. Art Institute of Chicago.

THOMAS KEITH. Doorway, St. Gran's Chapel, Iona, 1856.
Calotype. Thomas Keith Collection, Edinburgh City Libraries.

Calotyping also appealed to Englishmen who made their homes outside the British Isles, among them Maxwell Lyte and John Stewart, who lived in Pau in the Pyrenees in the 1850s. Stewart's views of the rugged terrain of this region, published by Blanquart-Evrard and exhibited in England, were praised by his father-in-law Sir John Herschcl for the artistic effects of their "superb combination of rock, mountain, forest and water." Both Lyte and Stewart were members of the Societe Frangaise de Photographic Along with Thomas Sutton, the first in Britain to use Blanquart-Evrard's process in a publishing venture, they kept open the channels of communication between the French and British regarding the latest in photochemical technology.

JOHN STEWART. Passage in the Pyrenees, n.d.
Calotype. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

French and British imperial interest in the countries of the Near East, Egypt in particular, continued to lure photographers using paper (and later glass) negatives into these regions. In 1849, the wealthy French journalist Maxime Du Camp, accompanied by the young Flaubert, was sent on an official photographic mission to Egypt. Trained by Le Gray and equipped with calotyping appa-ratus "for die purpose of securing, along the way, and with the aid of this marvelous means of reproduction, views of monuments and copies of inscriptions," Du Camp also was expected to make facsimile casts of hieroglyphic inscriptions. The calotypes, printed in 1852 by Blanquart-Evrard for his first publication, Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, 11 display a concern for establishing accurate scale, as seen in the human yardstick provided by a native assistant in The Colossus of Abu Simbel, but they also demonstrate the definition and clarity that the improved calotype made possible.

MAXIME DU CAMP. The Colossus of Abu Simbel, c. 1850.
Calotype. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Five years later, the amateur French archaeologist Augustc Salzmann briefly used the calotype with similar authority to make documents of architectural ruins in Jerusalem in order to "render a service to science" and to help solve a controversy about the antiquity of the monuments. Working with an assistant, Salzmann was able to produce about 150 paper negatives under difficult circum-stances; these, too, were printed at the Blanquart-Evrard establishment at Lille. In addition to an avowed scientific aim, images such as Jerusalem, Islamic Fountain indicate the photographer's mastery of composition and sensitivity to the effects of light. The work of both Du Camp and Salzmann indicates that in the hands of imaginative individuals the camera image might develop a unique aesthetic, an ability to handle volume and light in an evocative manner while also documenting actuality.


AUGUSTE SALZMANN. Jerusalem, Islamic Fountain, 1854.
Calotype. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Landscapes in Colbdion/Albumen

The new collodion technology, discovered and publicized by Archer in 1850 and 1851, forced landscape photographers and documentarians operating in the field to transport an entire darkroom—tent, trays, scales, chemicals, and even distilled water—besides cameras and glass plates. It may seem astonishing today that, under such circumstances, this technique should have been considered an improvement over the calotypc, which also was somewhat more sensitive to natural tonalities and had greater range. But paper negatives required time-consuming skills for complete realization. With the promise of sharper and more predictable results in less time, the glass negative with its coating of collodion and silver-iodide preempted all other processes for the next 30 years. Together with the albumen print, which retained the sharpness of the image because the printing paper was also coated with an emulsion, collodion made the mechanization of the landscape view possible, turning the scenic landscape into an item of consumption, and landscape photography into photo-business.

Limitations in the sensitivity of the collodion material itself were responsible for evoking contradictory aesthetic attitudes about images made from glass plates. Because of the limited responsiveness of silver-iodide to the colors of spectral light other than blue (and ultraviolet radiation), landscape images that displayed blank white skies and dark, relatively undifferentiated foregrounds were not un-common. While commercial publishers seem not to have been unduly disturbed, this characteristic was decried by Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, one of the first serious English critics of photography. Writing in the Quarterly Review in 1857, she observed, "If the sky be given, therefore, the landscape remains black and underdone; if the landscape be rendered, the impatient action of light has burnt out all cloud form in one blaze of white.'" She added that the collodion landscape photograph was unable to represent the tonal gradations that the eye accepts as denoting spatial recession, and that by its combined lack of atmosphere and too great precision, the image showed both too little and too much. Among others who objected to the lack of realism in the extreme contrast between dark and light areas in landscape photographs was Hermann Wilhelm Yogel, an influential German photographer, critic, and photo-chemical researcher, whose opinions appeared frequently in American periodicals during the 1860s and '70s, and who was successful in his efforts to improve the sensitivity of the silver halides to the various colors of light.

UNKNOWN. European-style Portable Darkroom Tent, 1877.

Wood engravings from A History and Handbook of Photography, edited by J. Thompson, 1877.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; gift of Spencer Bickerton, 1938.


Photographers concerned with artistic landscapes avoided these problems with what was called "artifice." This involved using masks and combining two negatives on the same print—one for the sky and one for the ground—-or employing hand-manipulations to remove un-attractive mottled and gray areas. Valley of the Huisne by Camille Silvy, praised as a "gem" when exhibited in 1858, exemplifies the possibilities of this technique for creating scenes that a contemporary critic characterized as "rich in exquisite and varied detail, with broad shadows stealing over the whole." Le Gray, whose role in paper photography has been noted, used double printing in a number of collodion seascapes made at Sete (Cettc) around 1856—works similar in theme and style to seascapes painted by French artists Eugene Delacroix and Gustave Courbet at about the same time. Less traditionally picturesque than Silvy's scene, Le Gray transformed clouds, sea, and rocks into an evocative arrangement of volume and light, into an "abstraction called art," in today's language. That composite landscapes of this period could be and often were unconvincingly pieced together is apparent from contemporary criticism that complained of pictures with clouds that were not reflected in the water or of foregrounds taken in early morning joined to skies taken at noon.


CAMILLE SILVY. Valley of the Huisne, France, 1858.
Albumen print. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

GUSTAVE LE GRAY. Brig Upon the Water, 1856.
Albumen. Albumen print. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


  Gustave Le Gray

Gustave Le Gray (1820–1884) is known as the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture making.The Getty-Le Gray
Le Gray was originally trained as a painter, studying under Paul Delaroche, but crossed over to the new medium of photography in the early years of its development. He was more than just a photographer he expanded this new medium with his technical inventions. One of the most defining is that of the waxed-paper negative. This invention he developed and perfected in France around 1849 as stated in A World History Of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum.A World History of Photography Le Gray had also worked out a collodion process at the same time, but did not publish either discovery until 1851. This resulted in the collodion technology being accredited to Frederick Scott Archer who discovered his process in 1850 and then published it in 1851.
Later in life Le Gray expanded his horizons by touring the Mediterranean with the writer Alexandre Dumas, pere. Le Gray then carried on to Lebanon and ending his journeys in Egypt where he became a professor of drawing. He died in 1884 in Cairo.

The Beech Tree, 1856

Zouave Storyteller, 1857

Portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1860

Pius IX's Railroad Car, 1859

Pyramids, Gizeh, Egypt , 1865-1869

Lighthouse and Jetty , 1856-1857


The government of Napoleon III, which had promoted the calotype as a means of documenting both scientific progress and royal patronage, continued to regard collodion images in the same light. What at first glance may seem to be landscape pure and simple, such as views taken in the Alps by the Bisson brothers, was motivated by the Imperial desire to celebrate territorial acquisition—in this case the ceding to France of Nice and Savoy by the Kingdom of Sardinia. During the collodion era, the Bissons had rapidly extended their range of subjects to embrace art reproductions, architecture, and landscapes, often in very large format. Passage des Ecbelles, one of the six views made by Auguste-Rosalie as a participant in the second scaling of Mont Blanc in 1862, integrates the description of distinctive geological formations with a classical approach to composition, achieving in its balance of forms and tonalities a work of unusually expressive power. A similar evocation of solitary nature unaltered by human effort can be seen in Gorge of the Tamine by Charles Soulier, a professional view-maker who is better known for his urbane Paris scenes than for Alpine landscapes. In view of steadily encroaching urbanization, these images suggest a public nostalgia for virgin nature that will be encountered again, more forcefully, in camera images of the American wilderness during the 1860s and '70s. Scenic views found an avid entrepreneur as well as photographer in Adolphe Braun. With studios in both Paris and Alsace, he was not only a prolific view-maker, but a large-scale publisher who supplied prints in a variety of formats—stereoscope to panoramic—to subscribers in England, France, Germany, and the United States. Responding to the imperial desire to make Alsatians aware of their French heritage, Braun first photographed the landscape and monuments of this province and then went on to make more than 4,000 images of Alpine, Black Forest, and Vosges mountain scenery, eventually printing in carbon instead of albumen in order to insure print stability. Braun's views, of which Lake Steamers at Winter Mooring, Switzerland is an outstanding example, display a skillful blend of information and artistry but also present the landscape as accessible by the inclusion of human figures or structures.


  Auguste-Rosalie Bisson

(1826 - 1900) was a French photographer, active from 1841 to the year of his death, 1900.
He was born and died in Paris and was the son of the heraldic painter, Louis-François Bisson.
He is known as the first person that took pictures from the summit of Mont Blanc in summer 1861.

Ascent of Mont-Blanc (via a crevice), albumin print, 1862

Ascent of Mont-Blanc

Le Mont Blanc et ses glaciers, 1860


AUGUSTE -ROSALIE BISSON. Passage des Echeles (Ascent of Mi. Blanc), 1862.
Albumen print. Bibliothequc Nationale, Paris.


CHARLES SOULIER. Gorge of the Tamine, c. 1865.
Albumen print. Collection Gerard-Levy, Paris.

ADOLPHE BRAUN. Lake Steamers at Winter Mooring, Switzerland, c. 1865.
Carbon print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

England, too, had landscapists with an authentic respect for what the collodion process could accomplish, but government patronage was limited to royal acclaim and, at times, purchase of individual images by members of the royal family, with documentations of the countryside and historical monuments initiated by photographers themselves or by private publishers rather than by the state. Fenton, the commanding figure in English photography before his retirement in 1862, had made calotypes of architectural monuments in Russia in 1852. He changed to collodion in 1853, and after his return from the Crimean War, he had another traveling darkroom constructed to facilitate making views of rugged rocks, mountain gorges, waterfalls, and ruins—romantic themes to which thee British turned as industrialization advanced. Contemporary critics on both sides of the Channel considered his landscapes to have reached the heights to which camera images could aspire, especially with respect to capturing atmosphere and a sense of aerial perspective. However, because Fenton refused to combine negatives or do handwork, images with strong geometric pattern, such as The Terrace and Park, Harewood House, were criticized as offensive. A number of Fenton's landscapes were published as stereographs in The Stereoscopic Maagazine, as photoengravings in Photographic Art Treasures and as albumen prints in albums and books devoted to native landscape—these being the forms in which scenic images found an audience in the 1850s and 60s.

ROGER FENTON. The Terrace and Park, Harewood House, 1861.
Albumen print. Royal Photographic Society Bath, England.


Roger Fenton (March 20, 1819 - August 8, 1869) was a pioneering British photographer, one of the first war photographers.
Roger Fenton was born in Heywood, Lancashire. His grandfather was a wealthy Lancashire cotton manufacturer and banker, his father a banker and member of Parliament. Fenton was the fourth of seven children by his father's first marriage. His father had 10 more children by his second wife.
In 1838 Fenton went to University College London where he graduated in 1840 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, having studied English, mathematics, literature, and logic. In 1841, he began to study law at University College, evidently sporadically as he did not qualify as a solicitor until 1847, in part because he had become interested in studying to be a painter. In Yorkshire in 1843 Fenton married Grace Elizabeth Maynard, presumably after his first sojourn in Paris (his passport was issued in 1842) where he may briefly have studied painting in the studio of Paul Delaroche. When he registered as a copyist in the Louvre in 1844 he named his teacher as being the history and portrait painter Michel Martin Drolling, who taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but Fenton's name does not appear in the records of that school. By 1847 Fenton had returned to London where he continued to study painting now under the tutelage of the history painter Charles Lucy, who became his friend and with whom, starting in 1850, he served on the board of the North London School of Drawing and Modelling. In 1849, 1850, and 1851 he exhibited paintings in the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy.
Fenton visited the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in London in 1851 and was impressed by the photography on display there. He then visited Paris to learn the waxed paper calotype process, most likely from Gustave Le Gray, its inventor. By 1852 he had photographs exhibited in England, and travelled to Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg making calotypes there, and photographed views and architecture around Britain. He published a call for the setting up of a photographic society.
In 1855 Fenton went to the Crimean War on assignment for the publisher Thomas Agnew to photograph the troops, with a photographic assistant Marcus Sparling and a servant and a large van of equipment. Despite high temperatures, breaking several ribs, and suffering from cholera, he managed to make over 350 usable large format negatives. An exhibition of 312 prints was soon on show in London. Sales were not as good as expected, possibly because the war had ended. According to Susan Sontag, in her work Regarding the Pain of Others (ISBN 0-374-24858-3) (2003), Fenton was sent to the Crimean War as the first official war photographer at the insistence of Prince Albert. The photographs produced were to be used to offset the general aversion of the British people to an unpopular war, and to counteract the antiwar reporting of The Times. The photographs were to be converted into woodblocks and published in the less critical Illustrated London News and published in book form and displayed in a gallery. Fenton avoided making pictures of dead, injured or mutilated soldiers.
Due to the size and cumbersome nature of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited in his choice of motifs. And because of the not very photosensitive material of his time, he was only able to produce pictures of unmoving objects, mostly posed pictures. But he also photographed the landscape, including an area near to where the Light Brigade - made famous in Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" - was ambushed, called The Valley of Death; however, Fenton's photographs were taken in the similarly named The Valley of the Shadow of Death. Two pictures were taken of this area, one with several cannonballs on the road, the other with an empty road. Opinions differ concerning which one was taken first. Filmmaker Errol Morris wrote a series of essays canvassing the evidence. He concluded that the photo without the cannonballs was taken first, but he remained uncertain about who moved the balls onto the road in the second picture - were they deliberately placed on the road by Fenton to enhance the image, or were soldiers in the process of removing them for reuse?
Several of Fenton's pictures, including the two versions of The Valley of the Shadow of Death, are published in The Ultimate Spectacle: A Visual History of the Crimean War by Ulrich Keller.In 1858 Fenton made studio genre studies based on romantically imaginative ideas of Muslim life, such as Seated Odalisque, using friends and models who were not always convincing in their roles.
Fenton is considered the first war photographer for his work during the Crimean War, for which he used a mobile studio called a "photographic van". In recognition of the importance of his photography, Fenton's photos of the Crimean war were included in the collection, 100 Photos that Changed the World.

Seated Odalisque

The Harbour of Balaklava, the Cattle Pier

Vista, Furness Abbey

Still life with Statue


Albumen prints became popular as book illustration between 1855 and 1885 when, it is believed, more than a thousand albums and books, sponsored by private organizations and public personalities, were published, mainly in England, Scotland, France, India, and the United States. Original photographs provided artistic, biographical, historical, and scientific illustration as well as topographical images to supplement and enhance texts on a wide variety of subjects. Even the small, relativety undetailed stereograph view was considered appropriate to illustrate scientific and travel books; one of the first to use the double image in this manner was C. Piazzi Smyth's Teneriffe, which appeared in 1858 with 18 stereograph views of the barren island landscape where Smyth and his party conducted astronomical experiments. It was soon followed by The Stereoscopic Magazine, a monthly publication that lasted five years and included still lifts and land- and cityscape stereographs. The success of illustration with photographic prints of any kind may be ascribed to their fidelity and cheapness and to the relative rapidity with which paper prints could be glued into the publication, while the decline of this practice was the result of even more efficient photomechanical methods that made possible the printing of text and image at the same time.

Wales and Scodand provided other English photographers besides Fenton with localities for wilderness images, among them Francis Bedford who made Glas Pwil Cascade in 1865. In common with many landscapists of the period, Bedford issued stereographs as well as larger-format views because they were inexpensive and in popular demand. However, it was the Scottish photographer Wilson, probably the most successful of the view publishers, who is believed to have had the world's largest stock of scenic images in the 1880s. Interested also in instantaneous pictures, Wilson noted that "considerable watching and waiting is necessary before the effect turns up which is both capable and worthy of being taken." Using a tent darkroom in the field to prepare the exposures, this meticulous former portrait painter employed over 30 assistants in his Aberdeen printing establishment to carefully wash and gold-tone the prints in order to remove all chemical residue. As a con-sequence, Wilson albumen prints are of greater richness and stability than was usual for the era. Other British landscapists of the collodion era included Frith, William England, and James Valentine whose successful enterprise in Dundee, Scotland, turned out views similar to those by Wilson. While competently composed and well-produced, the absence of atmosphere and feeling in commercial views were contributing factors in the endeavors that began in the 1870s to fashion a new aesthetic for landscape photography.

FRANCIS BEDFORD. Glas Pwll Cascade (Lifnant Valley), 1865.
Albumen print. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

GEORGE WASHINGTON WILSON. The Silver Strand, Loch Katrine, c. 1875-80.
Albumen print. George Washington Wilson Collection, Aberdeen University Library.

Similar ideas about landscape motivated German view-makers of the 1850s and '60s. Outstanding calotype views had been made in the early 1850s by Franz Hanfstaengl and Hermann Krone, before these individuals changed to collodion. Krone, the more versatile of the two, who advertised his Photogmphisches Institut in Dresden as a source for scenic views and stereographs as well as portraits, was commissioned by the crown to produce views of the countryside and cityscape throughout Saxony, which resulted in the appearance in 1872 of his Komigs-Album der Stadte Saehsens (King's Album of Saxon Cities) to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of the rulers of Saxony. Though less idealized than some, these views of Dresden and its natural environs, exemplified by Waterfall in Saxon Switzerland, still reflect the romantic attitude of the view painters of the early 19th century. Romanticism also suffuses Bridge Near King's Monument, an 1866 image by Vogel, but the focus of this work is light and not locality. In a still different vein, studies of forest foliage and trees made in the mid- to Iate-186os and typified by the work of Gerd Volkerling suggest the influence of the Barbizon style of naturalism.

HERMANN KRONE. Waterfall in Saxon Switzerland, 1857.
Albumen print. Deutsches Museum, Munich.

HERMANN VOGEL. Bridge near King's Monument, 1866.
Albumen print. Agfa-Gevaert Foto-Historama, Cologne, Germany.


GERD VOLKERLING. Oak Trees in Dessau, 1867.
Albumen print. Agfa-Gevaert Foto-Historama, Cologne, Germany.

Landscape photography developed in the Scandinavian countries in the 1860s and '70s in response to the tourism that brought affluent British and German travelers to the rocky coasts of this region in search of untamed nature. Photographers Marcus Selmer of Denmark, Axel Lindahl and Per Adolf Thoren of Sweden, and the Norwegians Hans Abel, Knud Knudsen, and Martin Skoien, all supplied good souvenir images to voyagers who, there as elsewhere, wished to individualize their recollections with picturesque travel images. The most dramatic of these views—the mist-shrouded mountains and tormented ice and rock formations captured by Knudsen during his 35 or so years as an outstanding scenic photographer—reflect the prominent influence of the German Romantic style of landscape painting in that they not only serve as remembrances of places visited but encapsulate a sense of the sublime.

KNUD KNUDSEN. Torghatten, Nordland, c. 1885.
Albumen print. Picture Collection, Bergen University Library, Bergen, Norway.

Landscape photographs of Italy were made almost exclusively as tourist souvenirs. A continuing stream of travelers from northern Europe and the United States ensured an income for a group of excellent foreign and Italian photographers. Here, especially, the romantic taste for ruins was easily indulged, with most images including at least a piece of ancient sculpture, building, or garden. As photography historian Robert Sobicszek has pointed out, because Italy was seen as the home of civilization, early photographers were able to infuse their views with a sense of the romantic past at almost every turn. In Grotto of Neptune, Tivoli, taken in the early 1860s, Robert MacPherson, a Scottish physician who set himself up as an art dealer in Rome, captured the strong shadows that suggest unfathomable and ancient mysteries while fashioning an almost abstract pattern of tonalities and textures. Interest in romantic effects is apparent also in Night View of the Roman Forum by Gioacchino Altobelli, a native Roman who at times collaborated with his countryman Pompeo Molins on scenic views. Altobelli, later employed by the Italian Railroad Company, was considered by contemporaries to be especially adept at combining negatives to recreate the sense of moonlight on the ruins—a popular image because of the touristic tradition of visiting Roman ruins by night.


ROBERT MACPHERSON. Grotto of Neptune, Tivoli, 1861.
Albumen print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


GIOACCHINO ALTOBELLI. Night View of the Roman Forum, 1865-75.
Albumen print, nrernational Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.


The best known by far of the Italian view-makers were the Brogi family and the Alinari brothers; the latter established a studio in Florence that is still in existence. Like Braun in France, the Alinari ran a mass-production photo-graphic publishing business specializing in art reproductions, but their stock also included images of fruit and flowers and views of famous monuments and structures in Rome and Florence. In the south, Giorgio Sommer, of German origin, began a similar but smaller operation in Naples in 1857, providing genre scenes as well as landscapes. In Venice, tourist views were supplied by Carlo Ponti, an optical-instrument maker of fine artistic sensitivity that is apparent in San Giorgio Maggiore Seen from the Ducal Palace, made in the early 1870s. Given the long tradition in Italy of vedute—small-scale topographical scenes—it is not surprising that camera views of such subject matter should so easily have become accomplished and accepted.

CARLO PONTI. San Giorgio Maggiore Seen from the Ducal Palace, 1870s.
Albumen print. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Mass.

Other European nations on the Mediterranean such as Spain and Greece, while renowned for scenic beauty and ruins, were not documented with nearly the same enterprise as Italy, probably because they were outside the itineraries of many 19th-century travelers. The best-known photographs of Spain were made by Charles Clifford, an expatriate Englishman living in Madrid, who was court photographer to Queen Isabella II. Working also in other cities than the capital, Clifford photographed art treasures as well as landscapes and architectural subjects; his view The Court of the Albambra in Granada suggests a sense of sunlit quietude while still capturing the extraordinary richness of the interior carving. As one might anticipate, views of Greece, particularly the Acropolis, were somewhat more common than of Spain and also more commonplace. Photographed by native and foreign photographers, the most evocative are by James Robertson, Jean Walther, and William Stillman, an American associated with the British Pre-Raphaelites who had turned to photography as a result of disappointment with his painting. Stillman's images, published in 1870 as The Acropolis of Athens Illustrated Picturesquely and Architecturally, were printed by the carbon process, which in England was called Autotype.

CHARLES CLIFFORD. The Court of the Alhambra in Granada. c. 1856.
Albumen print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

WILLIAM STILLMAN. Interior of the Parthenon front the Western Gate, 1869.
Carbon print. Photograph Collection, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.


Landscape Photography in the Near East and the Orient

Tourists were the main consumers of the views of Italy, but armchair travelers bought scenes from other parts of the world in the hope of obtaining a true record, "far beyond anything that is in the power of the most accomplished artist to transfer to his canvas." These words express the ambitious goal that Frith set for himself when he departed on his first trip to the Nile Valley in 1856. Before i860, he made two further journeys, extending his picture-taking to Palestine and Syria and up the Nile beyond the fifth cataract. In addition to photographing, he wrote voluminously on the difficulties of the project, especially owing to the climate, commenting on the "smothering little tent" and the collodion fizzing—boiling up over the glass—as well as on the sights in which he delighted— temples, sphinxes, pyramids, tombs, and rock carvings.

FRANCIS FRITH (?). Traveller's Boat at Iimm, c. 1859.
Albumen print. Francis Frith Collection. Andovcr, England,

Frith's discussion of the compositional problems of view photography throws light on an aspect of 19th-century landscape practice often ignored. This was "die difficult}' of getting a view satisfactorily in the camera: foregrounds are especially perverse; distance too near or too far; the falling away of the ground; the intervention of some brick wall or other common object.... Oh what pictures we would make if we could command our points of view." While Frith undoubtedly" had traditional painting concepts in mind when he wrote this, images such as Approach to Philae show that he was capable of finding refreshing photographic solutions to these problems. The Egyptian and Near Eastern views were published by Frith himself and by others in a variety of sizes, formats, and in a number of different volumes, some in large editions. The most ambitious, Egypt and Palestine Photographed and Described, had a significant effect on British perceptions of Egypt, as Frith had hoped it would, because the photographer, in addition to sensing the money-making possibilities of the locality, had voiced the belief that British policy-makers should wake up to the pronounced French influence in North Africa.

FRANCIS FRITH. Approach to Philae, c. 1858.
Albumen print. Stuart Collection, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.

Some 40 photographers, male and female, from European countries and the United States, arc known to have been attracted to the Near East before 1880, among them Bedford, who accompanied the Prince of Wales in 1862, the Vicomte of Banville, Antonio Beato, Felice Beato, Felix and Marie Bonfils, Wilhelm Von Herford, and James Robertson. Studios owned by local photographers also sprang up. Due to the superficial similarities of subject and identical surnames, for many years the two Beatos, Antonio and Felice, were thought to be the same individual, commuting heroically between the Near and Far East, but now it is known that Antonio was the proprietor of an Egyptian firm based in Luxor that produced thousands of tourist images after 1862, among diem this view of die interior of the Temple of Horns at Edfu, while his brother, after a brief visit to Egypt with Robertson, was responsible for photographic activities in India and die Orient.

ANTONIO BEATO. Interior of Temple ofHorus, Edfu, after 1862.
Albumen print. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

The Bonfils family enterprise, operating from Beirut where they had moved from France in 1867, is typical of the second generation of Near East photographers. In a letter to the Soctete Fvangaise de Photographic in 1871, Ronfils reported diat he had a stock of 591 negatives, 15,000 prints, and 9,000 stercographic views, all intended for an augmented tourist trade. Because die business was handed down from generation to generation, and stocks of photographs were acquired from one firm by another, there is no way of deciding exacdy from whose hand images such as Dead Sea, A View of the Expanse actually comes. Furthermore, by the 1880s, scenic views of die region and its monuments had lost the freshness and vitalitv that had informed earlier images, resulting in die trivialization of the genre even though a great number of photographers continued to work in the area.

FELIX BONFILS, or family. Dead Sea, A View of the Expanse. 1860-90.
Albumen print. Semitic Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Photographers working with paper and collodion began to penetrate into India and the Far East toward die end of the 1850s, but providing images for tourists was not their only goal. In India, photography was considered a documentary tool with which to describe to die modier country the exotic and mysterious landscape, customs, and people of a subject land; as such it was supported by the British military and ruling establishment. Dr. John McCosh and Captain Linnaeus Tripe were the first to calotype monuments and scenery, the latter producing prize-winning views diat were considered "very Indian in their character and picturesquely selected." As a consequence of imperialistic interest, a spate of photographically illustrated books and albums issued from both commercial and military photographers during the 1860s and '70s, with illustrations by Felice Beato, P. A. Johnston, and W, H. Pigou Samuel Bourne, the most prominent landscapist working in collodion in India, was a partner with Charles Shepherd in the commercial firm of Bourne and Shepherd, and traveled at times with 650 glass plates, two cameras, a ten-foot-high tent, and two crates of chemicals. He requires the assistance of 42 porters, widiout whom, it was noted in the British press, photography in India would not have been possible for Europeans." As part of an endeavor to produce A Pennanent Record of India, Bourne explores remote areas in the high Himalaya mountains and in Kashmir during his seven-year stay. A perfectionist who had left a career in banking to photograph, he claimed thai he waited several days for the favorable circumstances that might allow him to achieve the tonal qualities seen in, for example, Boulders on the Road to Muddan Mahal. Colin Murray, who took over Bourne's large-format camera when the latter returned to England, apparent!".

SAMUEL BOURNE. Boulders on the Road to Muddan Mahal, c. 1867.
Albumen print. Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.

Also inherited his approach to landscape composition; both believed that a body of water almost inevitably improved the image. The lyrical Water Palace at Udaipur is one of a group of landscapes that Murray made for a publication entitled Photographs of Architecture and Scenery in Gujerat and Rajputana, which appeared in 1874.

Lala Deen Dayal, the most accomplished Indian photographer of the 19th century, and Darogha Ubbas Alii, an engineer by profession, appear to have been the only Indian photographers to publish landscape views. Deen Dayal of Indore began to photograph around 1870, becoming official photographer to the viceroy and soon afterward to the nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad; his studios in Hyderabad and Bombay, known as Raja Deen Dayal and Sons, turned out portraits, architectural views, and special documentary projects commissioned by his patron (see Chapter 8). Architectural images by Ubbas Alii of his native city Lucknow, issued in 1874, are similar in style to those produced by the Europeans who were responsible for the majority of Indian scenic views.

COLIN MURRAY. The Water Palace at Udaipur, c. 1873.
Albumen print. Collection Paul F. Waiter, New York.

As on the Indian subcontinent, scenic views in China and Japan were made first by visiting Europeans who brought with them, in the wake of the rebellions and wars that opened China to Western imperialism, equipment, fortitude, and traditional Western concepts of pictorial organization. The earliest daguerreotypists of the Orient included Eliphalet Brown, Jr., who arrived with Commodore Perry's expedition, and Hugh McKay, who operated a daguerreotype studio in Hong Kong in the late 1840s; they were followed by other Westerners who arrived in China hoping to use wetplate technology to record scenery and events in commerciallv successful ventures. Several of these photographers purchased the negatives of forerunners, amassing a large inventory of views that were turned out under the new firm name. Among the outsiders who were active in China during this period were M. Rossier, sent by the London firm of Ncgretti and Zambra (large-scale commercial publishers of stcrcographic views), and Felice Beato, who in addition to recording episodes in the conquests by the Anglo-French North China Expeditionary Force in i860 photographed landscapes and daily activities. Between 1861 and 1864, the American photographer Milton Miller, apparently taught by Beato and recipient of many of his negatives, worked in Hong Kong, specializing in portraiture and street scenes. The most energetic outsider to photograph in China was John Thomson, originally from Scotland. Using Hong Kong as home base and traveling some 5,000 miles troughout the interior and along the coast—usually accompanied by eight to ten native bearers—Thomson woirked in China between 1868 and 1872 before returning to England to publish a four-volume work on Chinese life. His images display a genuine interest in Chinese customs and seem influenced by traditional Chinese painting, as exemplified by his treatment of the landscape in Wu-Shan Gorg, Szechuan.


JOHN THOMSON. Wu-Shan Gorge, Szechuan, 1868.
Albumen print. Philadelphia Museum of Arc.

Commercial viewmaking by native photographers began very slowly, but in 1859 a studio was opened in Hong Kong by Afong Lai. who was to remain preeminent in this area throughout the remainder of the century. Highly regarded by Thomson as "a man of cultivated taste" whose work was "extremely well executed,'' Afong Lai's images, such as a view of Hong Kong Island, also reveal an approach similar to that seen in traditional Chinese landscape painting. Although Afong Lai was virtually alone when he began his commercial enterprise, by 1884 it was estimated that several thousand native photographers were in business in China, although not all made scenic views.

Amateur photography also appears to have begun slowly, with neither foreign residents nor native Chinese merchants expressing much interest in this form of expression before the turn of the century. One exception was Thomas Child, a British engineer working in Peking in the 1870s, who produced (and also sold) nearlv 200 views he had taken of that city and its environs, including an image of a ceremonial gate. After 1900, Ernest Henry Wilson, a British botanist made ethnographic views, while Donald Mennie, also British and the director of a well-established firm of merchants, approached Chinese landscape with the vision and techniques of the Pictorialist, issuing the soft-focus romantic-looking portfolio The Pageant of Peking in gravurec prints in 1920.

Social and political transformations in Japan during the 1860S—the decade when die Meiji Restoration signaled the change from feudalism to capitalism-—created an atmosphere in which both foreign and native photographers found it possible to function, but besides Beato, who appears to have come to Japan in 1864, few photographers were interested at first in pure landscape views. In general, a truly native landscape tradition did not evolve in India or the Far East during the collodion era, and, in the period that followed, the gelatin dry plate and the small-format snapshot camera combined with the influence of imported Western ideas to make the establishment of an identifiable national landscape style difficult.

AFONG LAI. Hong Kong Island, late 1860s.
Albumen print. Collection H. Kwan Lau, New York.


THOMAS CHILD. Damaged Portal of Yuen-Ming- Yuan, Summer Palace, Peking,
after the Fire of !860, set by English and French Allied Forces, 1872.
Albumen print. Collection H. Kwan Lau, New York.

Landscape in the Americas

On the opposite side of the Pacific, Mexico was seen by some sectors of the French government as a possible area of colonialist expansion and therefore came under the scrutiny of the camera lens. Desire Charnay, a former teacher with an itch for adventure and a belief in France's destiny in the Americas, explored and photographed in the ancient ruined cities of Chichen-Itza, Uxmal, and Palenque betveen 1858 and 1861 (and was again in Mexico from 1880 to 1882). The first in this part of the world to successfully use the camera as a research tool in archeological exploration, Charney published the views in an expensive two-volume edition of photographs with text by himself and French architect Viollet-le-Duc, and he made images available for translation into wood engraving to accompany articles in the popular press. Despite the fantasy of ideas put forth by the authors concerning the origins of the ancient cities of the new world, the photographs themselves, in particular those of die ornately carved facades of the structures at Chichen-Irza, reveal a mysterious power that most certainly served to promote popular and scientific interest in the cultures that had created diese edifices. Though Charney later worked on expeditions to Madagascar, Java, and Australia, this first group of images appears to be the most completely realized.

DEIRE CHARNAY. Chichen-Itza, Yucatan, c. 1858.
Albumen print. Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture,
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.

Urban topographical views—harbors, public buildings, and town squares—comprise a large portion of the photo-graphic landscape documentation made in South America after mid-century. Supported in some cases by the avid interest of die ruling family, as in Brazil under Emperor Dom Pedro II—himself an amateur camera enthusiast— and in other countries by the scientifically minded Europe-an-oriented middle class, professional view-makers turned out images that sought to present topography and urban development in a favorable if not especially exalted light. The most renowned South American photographer of the time. Marc Ferrez, a Brazilian who opened his own studio in Rio de Janeiro after spending part of his youth in Paris, advertised the firm as specializing in Brazilian views. Introducing figures to establish scale in his 1870 Rocks at Itapitco, Ferrez's image balances geological descriptiveness with sensitivity to light to create a serene yet visually arresting image.

North American attitudes about scenery reflected the unique situation of a nation without classical history or tabled ruins that shared a near religious exaltation of virgin nature. Many Americans were convinced that the extensive rivers and forests were signs of the munificent hand of God in favoring the new nation with plenty; others recognized the economic value of westward expansion and found photography to be the ideal tool to enshrine ideas of "manifest destiny." Painters of the Hudson River School and photographers of the American West recorded landscape as though it were a fresh and unique creation, but while the optimism of many East Coast artists had vanished in the aftermath of the Civil War, photographers (and painters) facing untrammeled western scenery continued to express buoyant reverence for nature's promise.

MARC FERREZ. Rocks at Itapuca, 1870. Albumen print. Collection H. L. HofFenberg, New York.


In a literal sense, a photographic "Hudson River School" did not exist. Eastern landscapists working in the Hudson Valley and the Adirondack and White mountains regions among them James Wallace Black, the Bierstadt and Kilburn brothers, John Soule, and Seneca Ray Stoddard, were concerned largely, though not exclusively, with a commerce in stereograph views, a format in which it was difficult to express feelings of sublimity. On occasion, a sense of the transcendent found its way into images such as Black's mountain scene; Stoddard's Hudson River Landscape, in which the horizontal format, luminous river, and small figure suggest the insignificance of man in relation to nature, is another such example.

JAMES WALLACE BLACK. In the White Mountain Notch, 1854.
Albumen print- An Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. Robert 0. Dougan Collection.

SENECA RAY STODDARD. Hudson River Landscape, n.d.
Albumen print. Chapman Historical Museum of the Glens Falls-Queensbury Association, Glens Falls, N.Y.

Although American view photographers were urged to avoid "mere mechanism" by familiarizing themselves with works by painters such as Claude, Turner, and Ruisdael, as well as by contemporary American landscape painters, artistic landscapes in the European style were of concern only to a small group working out of Philadelphia in the early 1860s. These photographers responded to a plea by a newly established journal, Philadelphia Photographer, to create a native landscape school to do "really first class work," that is, to imbue landscape with a distinctive aura. Sceneiy in the Region of the Delaware Water Gap by John Moran, who had been trained as a painter along with his more famous brother Thomas, is representative of the work by the Philadelphia naturalists, whose photographic activities were strongly colored by a conscious regard for artistic values. Farther west, the Chicago-based, Canadian-born Alexander Hesler had switched to making collodion negatives of the natural wonders of the upper Mississippi Valley with similar objectives in mind. Nevertheless, despite the promotion of native landscape expression in art and photography periodicals, this genre flowered only after photographers became involved in the western explorations.

JOHN MORAN. Scenery in the Region of the Delaware Water Gap, c. 1864.
Albumen stereograph. Library Company of Philadelphia.

At the same time, it is apparent from early camera documentation of buildings and the cityscape that most photographers made little effort to do more than produce a prosaic record of architectural structures. Images of buildings by George Robinson Fardon in San Francisco; lames McClees, Frederick Debourg Richards, and even John Moran, working in Philadelphia; and the anonymous recorders of architecture in Boston and New York, are largely unnuanced depictions of cornices, lintels, and brick and stone work. With the exception of the photographs by Victor Prevost—a calotypist from France whose views of Central Park and New York buildings, made around 1855, are informed by a fine sense of composition and lighting and, in the Reed and Sturges Warehouse, by a respect for the solid power of the masonry— camera pictures of cities often appear to be a record of urban expansion, a kind of adjunct to boostcrism.


VICTOR PROVOST. Reed and Sturges Warehouse, c. 1855.
Calotype. New-York Historical Society, New York.


Western Views

Photographs of western scenery were conceived as documentation also, but they project a surpassing spirit, a sense of buoyant wonder at the grandeur of the wilderness. These images embody the romanticism of mid-century painting and literature—the belief that nature in general and mountains in particular are tangible evidence of the role that the Supreme Deity played in the Creation. Though necessarily different in scale and subject from paintings that depict the discovery and exploration of the North American continent, these photographs reflect the same confidence in the promise of territorial expansion that had moved painters of the 1840s and '50s.

Photography became a significant tool during the 1860s, when railroad companies and government bodies recognized that it could be useful as part of the efforts by survey teams to document unknown terrain in the Far West. Scientists, mapmakers, illustrators, and photographers were hired to record examples of topography, collect

specimens of botanical and geological interest, and make portraits of Native Americans as aids in determining areas for future mineral exploitation and civilian settlements. In addition to being paid for their time, and/or supplied with equipment, individual photographers made their own arrangements with expedition leaders regarding the sale of images. Views were issued in several sizes and formats, from the stereograph to the mammoth print—about 20 by 24 inches—which necessitated a specially constructed camera. For the first time, landscape documentation emerged as a viable livelihood for a small group of American photographers.

Whether working in die river valleys of New York, New England, and Pennsylvania, or the mountains of the West, American wet-plate photographers transported all their materials and processing equipment without the large numbers of porters who attended those working in Europe and the Orient, although assistance was available from the packers included on survey teams. Besides the cameras (at times three in number), photographers carried glass plates in various sizes, assorted lenses, and chemicals in special vans and by pack animals. Tents and developing boxes, among them a model patented by the photographer John Carbutt in 1865, enabled individuals to venture where vehicles could not be taken. Constant unpacking and repacking, the lack of pure water, the tendency of dust to adhere to the sticky collodion—problems about which all survey photographers complained—make the serene clarity of many of these images especially striking.

Carbutt's Portable Developing Box.
Wood engraving from The Philadelphia Photographer, January, 1865.
Private Collection

Following efforts by Solomon Nuncs Carvalho to make topographical daguerreotypes on Colonel John C. Fremont's explorations west of the Mississippi, the American painter Albert Bierstadt, accompanying an expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1859, was among the first to attempt to publicize the grandeur of western scenery. His wet-plate stereographs are visually weak, but they (and articles written on the subject for The Crayon, a periodical devoted to the support of a native landscape art) exemplify the interest in the West by scientists and writers as well as artists. California, especially, became the focus of early documentation, including that by Charles L. Weed and Carleton E. Watkins, who began to photograph the scenery around Yosemite Valley in the early 1860s. Both had worked in the San Jose gallery of daguerreotypist Robert Vance, who stocked a large inventory of scenic views taken in Chile and Peru as well as in the West. By 1868, Watkins—who had made his first views of Yosemite five years earlier and had worked on the Whitney Survey of the region in 1866, when he shot Cathedral Rock—had become internationally recognized in photo-graphic circles for establishing the mountain landscape as a symbol of transcendent idealism. Impelled perhaps by the controversies then current among naturalists, including expedition leader Clarence King, regarding the relation¬ship of religion to geology and evolution, Watkins's images of rocks seem to emphasize their animate qualities.

CARLETON E. WATKINS. Cathedral Rock, 2,600 Feet, Yosemite, No. 21, published by I. Taber, c. 1866.
Albumen print. Metropolitan Museum of An, New York; Elisha Whittelscy Collection, Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1922.

Eadweard Muybridge, Watkins's closest competitor, produced views of Yosemite in 1868 and 1872 that likewise enshrine the wilderness landscape as emblematic of the American dream of unsullied nature. Muybridge sought to imprint his own style on the subject by the selection of unusual viewpoints and the disposition of figures in the landscape. Sensitive to the requirements of artistic landscape style, he at times printed-in the clouds from separate negatives to satisfy critics who found the contrast between foreground and sky too great, but he also devised a more Authentically photographic method—the sky shade—a shutterlike device that blocked the amount of blue light reaching the plate. As has been noted, cloud studies, similar to this group by Muybridge, were made by photographers everywhere during this period, in part to redress the problem of an empty upper portion of the image and in part because of the photographers' fascination with the ever-changing formations observable in the atmosphere. Muybridge, whose deep interest in ephemeral atmospheric effects was perhaps inspired by association with Bierstadt in 1872, also made a number of remarkable pictures in 1875 of smoke and mistfilled latent volcanoes in Guatemala.


EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE. A Study of Clouds, c. 1869.
Albumen stereographs. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Cal.

EADWEARD MUTBRIDGE. Volcano Quetzeltenango, Guatemala, 1875.
Albumen print. Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Library, Palo Alto, Cal.


Timothy O'Sullivan, a former Civil War photographer who became part of Clarence King's 40th Parallel Survey in 1867, was exceptionally fitted by nature and experience on the battlefield for the organizational and expressive demands of expedition photography. O'Sullivan photographed the volcanic formations of desolate areas, among them Pyramid Lake, with an accuracy— thie rocks were photographed in varying light conditions— that reflected King's absorption with geological theory. His images surpass scientific documentation, however, and create an unworldly sense of the primeval, of an untamed landscape of extraordinary beauty. Furthermore, by his choice of vantage point he was able to evoke the vastness and silence of this remote area in intrinsically photographic terms without resorting to the conventions of landscape painting. The work of William Bell, O'Sullivan's replacement on the Wheeler Survey of 1871-72, reveals a sensitivity to the dramatic qualities inherent in inanimate substances; his Hieroglyphic Pass, Opposite Parowan is also unusual in its absence of atmosphere or sense of scale.


TIMOTHY O'SUIXFVAN. Tufa Domes, Pyramid Lake, 1867.
Albumen print. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

WILLIAM BELL. Utah Series No. 10, Hieroglyphic Pass, Opposite Parowan, Utah, 1872.
Albumen print. Art, Prints and Photograph Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.

In 1871, an expedition down the Colorado River, headed by John Wesley Powell, included E. O. Beaman, an eastern landscape photographer, whose image of a magnificent and lonely mountain pass. The Heart of Lodore, Green River, is given scale and a touch of humanity by die inclusion of a small seated figure. John K. Hillcrs learned photographic techniques from Beaman, whom he eventually replaced; his view of Marble Canyon, Shinumo Altar, a place that he characterized as "the gloomiest I have ever been in—not a bird in it," displays imaginative as well as technical skill. A similar capacity to both document and infuse life into obdurate substances can be seen in Hanging Rock, Foot of Echo Canyon, Utah, taken by Andrew Joseph Russell, a former painter and Civil War photographer, while he was documenting the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad.

E. O. BEAMAN. The Heart of Lodore, Green River, 1871.
Albumen print. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

JOHN K. HILLERS. Marble Canyon, Sbinumo Altar, 1872.
Albumen print. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

William Henry Jackson, employed for eight years on the western survey headed by geologist Ferdinand V. Hayden, was in a privileged position to evolve from journey-man photographer to camera artist of stature. That survey (pi. no. 155), begun in 1870 in the Uintas Mountains and expanded in the following years to embrace the Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone River, included artists San-ford R. Gifford and Thomas Moran, whose landscape paintings helped shape Hayden's and Jackson's pictorial expectations. The close relationship that developed between Jackson and Moran enabled the photographer to refine his vision, even to the point of setting up his camera in positions scouted by Moran, who seen in Jackson's view of Hot Springs on the Gardiner River, Upper Basin.


WILLIAM HENRY JACKSON. Members of the Hayden Survey, 1870.
Albumen print. National Archives, Washington, DC.

WILLIAM HENRY JACKSON. Hot Springs on the Gardiner River, Upper Basin (Thomas Moran Standing), 1871.
One-half of an albumen stereograph. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.


Unlike the fate of the photographs made for France's Missions helioffraphiques, American survey images were seen by a large public. In addition to satisfying the voracious appetite of publishers for marketable landscape stereographs, they also were presented in albums and as lantern slides to members of Congress and other influential people to drum up support for funding civilian scientific expeditions and creating national parklands. For example, besides the sketches that Moran made available to Scribners Magazine in support of Hayden's campaign for a Yellowstone National Park, Jackson printed up albums of Yellowstone Scenic Wonders to convince the United States Congress of the distinctive grandeur of the scenery. In later years, Jackson established a successful commercial enterprise in western images, but it is his work of the mid-'70s, inspired by the land itself and by the artistic example of Moran. that is most compelling.

At about the same time that western survey photography was getting under way, photographers were also included on expeditions to Greenland, organized by Isaac Hayes, and to Labrador, sponsored by the painter William Bradford. John L. Dunrnore and George Critcherson, of Black's Boston studio, worked with the painter to photograph icebergs and glacial seas, providing plates for Brad-ford's publication The Arctic Regions as well as material for his intensely colored Romantic seascapes. Besides recording the forms of icebergs, the incisive reflections and sharp contours of Sailing Ships in an Ice Field), for example, suggest the sparkling sharpness of the polar climate. Photography of the polar regions continued into what has been called the heroic period of Polar exploration, with expeditions led by Amundsen, Mawson, Peary, and Scott in the early years of the 20th century, and it is not surprising that some of these later images, among them.Aw Iceberg in Midsummer, Antarctica by British photographer Herbert Ponting, made between 1910 and 1913 while accompanying Scott to Antarctica., should recall the freshness of vision that characterized the hest views of the western wilderness.

JOHN L. DUNMORE and GEORGE CRITCHERSON. Sailing Ships in an Ice Field, 1869.
Albumen print. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

HERBERT PONTING. An Iceberg in Midsummer, Antarctica, 1910-13.
Carbon print. Original Fine Arts Society Edition print from the Antarctic Divisions Historical Print Collection,
University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

Influenced by westward movements in the United States and by the discovery of gold in British Columbia, the Province of Canada funded an expedition in 1858 to what is now Manitoba; although images made by staff photographer Humphrey Lloyd Hime, a partner in a Toronto engineering firm, were concerned mainly with inhabitants of the region, the few rather poor landscapes indicate the nature of the problems of expedition photography at this early date. Hime noted that to make adequate topographical pictures he required better equipment, pure water, and, most important, more time for taking and processing than expedition leaders were willing to spend. Other Canadian surveys made in connection with railroad routes or border disputes also employed photographers, most of whom produced documents that are more interesting as sociological information than as evocations of the landscape.

Among the few Canadians to imbue scenic images with a sense of atmosphere were Alexander Henderson and William Notman, the best-known commercial photographer in Canada. Henderson, a latecomer to photography and a well-to-do amateur, may have been influenced by English landscape photography with which he was familiar through his membership in the Stereoscope Exchange Club. But Spring Flood on the St. Lawrence of 1865 also seems close in spirit to the idyllic outlook of the American Hudson River artists.

ALEXANDER HENDERSON. Spring Flood on the St. Lawrence, 1865.
Albumen print. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ralph GreenhilJ Collection.

Surveys had provided an effective structure for the documentation of the West, but during the 1880s their functions, including photography, were taken over by the newly established United States Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ethnology. While areas of the West continued to attract individual photographers, most of the images made in frontier studios or in the field during the last quarter of the century consisted of documentation of new settlers or of native tribespeople and their customs, with landscape a byproduct of these concerns. Furthermore, as the nation moved into high gear industrially, the natural landscape no longer was seen as a symbol of transcendent national purpose.

Scenic views made during the 1880s, after the gelatin dry plate had begun to supplant collodion, embodied varied attitudes toward nature. Many landscapists on both sides of the Atlantic were influenced by the ideas of Naturalism, an attitude that celebrated the ordinary and unspectacular both in landscape and social activity. Some Americans, among them George Barker, continued their romance with the magnificence of native scenery, but a different sensibility is apparent in images such as Barker's Moonlight on the St. Johns River—one suggestive of the end of an era rather than the onset of a period of promise. Barker was nationally renowned for views of Niagara Falls, in which rock and water spray are invested with spectacular drama rather than with the noble clarity that had characterized earlier images. Another landscapist of the period, Henry Hamilton Bennett, proprietor of a commercial studio in Kilbourn, Wisconsin, domesticated the wilderness photograph in his views of picnicking and boating parties on the Wisconsin Dells, an area that formerly had been famed for its wilderness of glorious valleys and lofty perpendicular rocks.

The flowering of landscape and scenic views during the eras of the calotype and collodion was partly the result of the general urge in all industrialized societies to measure, describe, and picture the physical substances of all things on earth and in the heavens. It was partly a reaction to urbanization—an attempt to preserve nature's beauty. The compelling power of many of these images also flows in a measure from the difficulty of the enterprise. Whether in the Alps, Himalayas, or Rockies, on the Colorado, Nile, or Yangtze, the photographer had to be profoundly committed to the quest for scenic images before embarking on an arduous journey, with the result that many images embody this passion and resolve. After 1880, the ease and convenience first of the gelatin dry plate, and then of the roll-film camera, made landscape photographers out of all who could afford film and camera, and led to an inundation of banal scenic images that often were, in Bourne's words, "little bits, pasted in a scrapbook."

GEORGE BARKER. Moonlight on the St. Johns River, 1886.
Albumen print. Library' of Congress, Washington, D.C.

HENRY HAMILTON BENNETT. Sugar Bowl with Rowboat, Wisconsin Dells, c. 1889. Albumen print.


Gustave Le Gray

Gustave Le Gray combined the imaginative curiosity and skill of both artist and scientist. While still a student in the studio of the academic salon painter Paul Dclaroche, he became aware of photography but did not involve himself in the new medium until the end of the 1840s. His inability to survive as a painter in the overcrowded art field of Second Empire France kindled an enthusiasm for working with die paper negative. A strong interest in the chemistry of paint, applied now to the problems of the calotype, led him to perfect in 1849 the dry waxed-paper process that came to be utilized, at least briefly, by most of the major figures in mid- 19th-century French photography. Although Le Gray also had worked out a collodion process at the same time, he was uninterested in glass at first and did not publish either discovery until 1851, when they appeared in his publication Nouvcau Traite theorique et pratique de photographic sur papier et sur verve (New Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Photography on Paper and Glass), by which time Archer already had made the first public disclosure of a collodion method.

Gustave Le Gray. Pius IX's Railroad Car, 1859

The instructor of many artists and intellectuals eager to learn photography, including Du Camp, Fcnton, Le Secq, Marville, and Negre, Le Gray was held in uniformly high esteem by his contemporaries for his ability to use light suggestively. He was invited to participate in important photographic projects, among mem the Missions heliqgraphiques, where he photographed by himself as well as with O. Mestral, and in 1856 he was asked to provide a reportage on the newly established Imperial Army camp at Chalons. Enshrouded in mist and surrounded by silent, empty terrain, the groups of soldiers in these images suggest an unworldly convocation, a vision that accorded with the emperor's almost religious regard for this military encampment. On his own, Le Gray made artistic calotype photographs in the Barbizon tradition at Fontainblcau forest in 1849 and five years later, in collodion, of the movement of clouds and sea at Sete (Cette), and at Dieppe where he recorded Napoleon Ill's naval tleet. These images, exhibited repeatedly, were highly acclaimed, inviting a first prize at the 1855 Exposition Universelle.

In view of these successes, Le Gray's withdrawal from die photographic scene after 1858 may seem difficult to understand, but his situation reveals some of the problems confronting photographers in France in the 19th century. Lacking independent means, Le Gray was able to support himself by commercial photography—portraiture, technical illustration, reproductions of artwork—and indulge his high standards through the generosity of a patron, die Comte de Brigcs. However, as the medium itself became more competitive and commercial, and the count's patron-age ended, Le Gray found himself more interested in problems of light and pictorial organization than in making salable views that "were got up in a style that renders them a fit ornament for any drawing room." What his friend Nadar characterized as poor business sense was more probably Le Gray's reluctance to accept prevailing marketplace standards; in any event, he left family and associates and traveled to Italy, Malta, and finally Egypt, where he finished his career as professor of design in a polytechnic institute.

The acclaim accorded Le Gray was for the exceptional quality of his salt and albumen prints as well as for his innovative vision. His technical mastery of gold-chloride toning, which permitted the revelation of details buried in the deepest shadows, derived from a conception of printing as an integral aspect of an entire process by which die photographer transforms nature into art.

Gustave Le Gray. Sailing Ship, 1857

Gustave Le Gray (1820–1884) is known as the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture making.The Getty-Le Gray
Le Gray was originally trained as a painter, studying under Paul Delaroche, but crossed over to the new medium of photography in the early years of its development. He was more than just a photographer he expanded this new medium with his technical inventions. One of the most defining is that of the waxed-paper negative. This invention he developed and perfected in France around 1849 as stated in A World History Of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum.A World History of Photography Le Gray had also worked out a collodion process at the same time, but did not publish either discovery until 1851. This resulted in the collodion technology being accredited to Frederick Scott Archer who discovered his process in 1850 and then published it in 1851.

Later in life Le Gray expanded his horizons by touring the Mediterranean with the writer Alexandre Dumas, père. Le Gray then carried on to Lebanon and ending his journeys in Egypt where he became a professor of drawing. He died in 1884 in Cairo.

Timothy O'Sullivan

Timothy O'Suilivan came to landscape photography after four years of experience photographing behind the lines and on the batlefields of the Civil War. A former assistant in Mathew Brady's New York studio, in 1861 he had joined the group known as "Brady's Photographic Corps," working with Alexander Gardner. Because Brady refused to credit die work of individual photographers, Gardner, taking O'Sullivan along, established his own Washington firm to publish war views. War images taken by O'Sullivan arc wide-ranging in subject and direct in their message, including among them the weariness of inaction and continual waiting, and the horror of fields of the dead.

After the war, O'Suluvan, faced with the dullness of commercial studio work, discovered an optimum use for his energies and experience as a photographer on the survey teams that were being organized under civilian or militanry leadership to document wilderness areas west of the Mississippi. Departing from Nevada City with 9 x 12 inch and stereograph cameras, 125 glass plates, darkroom equip-ment, and chemicals, for more than two vears he explored the strange and inhospitable regions along the 40th Parallel with a group headed by the eminent geologist Clarence King. Following a brief period with the Darien Survey to the Isthmus of Panama, where bodi the humid atmosphere and the densely foliated terrain made photography difficult, he found another position on a western survey. As Weston Nacf has pointed out photography on die Geological Surveys West of the 100th Meridian, as the expedition commanded by Lieutenant George M. Wheeler of the Army Corps of Engineers was called, "was not so much a scientific tool as it was a means of publicizing the Survey's accomplishments in the hopes of persuading Congress to fund military rather than civilian expeditions in the future."

O'Sullivarfs purpose in joining this team was more likely personal than political in diat he was allowed by Wheeler to be his own master, in charge of portions of the expedition, and dius did not have to take orders from geologists. Involved in the dramatic if not scientifically defensible exploit of attempting to ascend the Colorado River through the Grand Canvon, Wheeler noted O'Sullivan's professionalism in producing negatives in the face of all obstacles, including a near drowning. Following another brief period with King, O'Sullivan joined a Wheelerlcd survey to the Southwest where he documented not only geological formations but members of the pueblo and rock-dwelling tribes in the region of the Canyon dc Chelle. After 1875, O'Sullivan's problematical hcakh and the winding down of survey photography put an end to further involvement with die western landscape. Following a brief period in 1879 as photographer in the newly established United States Geological Survey, of which King was first director, and a position with the Treasury Department in Washington, O'Sullivan was forced by his tubercular condition to resign; he died a year later in Staten Island at age forty-two.

O'Sullivan approached western landscape with the documentarian's respect for the integrity of visible evidence and the camera artist's understanding of how to isolate and frame decisive forms and structures in nature. Beyond this, he had the capacity to invest inert matter with a sense of mysterious silence and timelessness; these qualities may be even more arresting to the modern eye than they were to his contemporaries, who regarded his images as accurate records rather than evocative statements.

TIMOTHY H. O'SULLIVAN. Black Canyon, Colorado River, from Camp 8, Looking above, 1871

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (c. 1840 – January 14, 1882) was a photographer prominent for his work on subjects in the American Civil War and the Western United States.

"The Harvest of Death": Union dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, photographed July 5–6, 1863, by Timothy O'SullivanO'Sullivan was born in New York City. As a teenager, he was employed by Mathew Brady. When the Civil War began in early 1861, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Union Army and, over the next year, fought in Beaufort, Port Royal, Fort Walker, and Fort Pulaski.

After being honorably discharged, he rejoined Brady's team. In July 1862, O'Sullivan followed the campaign of Maj. Gen. John Pope's Northern Virginia Campaign. By joining Alexander Gardner's studio, he had his forty-four photographs published in the first Civil War photographs collection, Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. In July 1863, he created his most famous photograph, "The Harvest of Death," depicting dead soldiers from the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1864, following Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's trail, he photographed the Siege of Petersburg before briefly heading to North Carolina to document the siege of Fort Fisher. That brought him to the Appomattox Court House, the site of Robert E. Lee's surrender in April 1865.

From 1867 to 1869, he was official photographer on the United States Geological Exploration of the 40th Parallel under Clarence King. The expedition began at Virginia City, Nevada, where he photographed the mines, and worked eastward. His job was to photograph the West to attract settlers. O'Sullivan's pictures were among the first to record the prehistoric ruins, Navajo weavers, and pueblo villages of the Southwest. In contrast to the Asian and Eastern landscape fronts, the subject matter he focused on was a new concept. It involved taking pictures of nature as an untamed, un-industrialized land without the use of landscape painting conventions. O'Sullivan combined science and art, making exact records of extraordinary beauty.

In 1870 he joined a survey team in Panama to survey for a canal across the isthmus. From 1871 to 1874 he returned to the southwestern United States to join Lt. George M. Wheeler's survey west of the One Hundredth Meridian. He faced starvation on the Colorado River when some of expedition's boats capsized; few of the 300 negatives he took survived the trip back East. He spent the last years of his short life in Washington, D.C., as official photographer for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Treasury Department.
O'Sullivan died in Staten Island of tuberculosis at age 42.

TIMOTHY H. O'SULLIVAN. Ancient Ruins in the Canyon de Chelle, New Mexico, 1873.
Albumen print-International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

The Western Landscape— Natural and Fabricated

This selection of early views of the American West suggests the dual role that the photograph played after the Civil War in the exploration and development of this relatively unknown part of the continent. Taken between the years 1867 and 1878, these pictures are the work of five among the numerous photographers who either accompanied geological survey teams, were employed by railroad companies, or were professionals with established studios in West Coast cities. Beyond their roles as documenters, all were inspired by the spectacular scale and breadth of the pristine wilderness landscape, by its strange rock formations, its steamy geysers, and its sparkling waterfalls. Using the cumbersome wet-plate process, they sought out the vantage points that might make it possible to recreate for Easterners a sense of the immensity and primordial silence of the region.

A number of the same photographers were called upon to document the building of rail lines, bridges, water sluices, and urban centers. Eadweard Muybridge produced a panorama of the young and growing metropolis of San Francisco, from which four of the thirteen mammoth (18 x 24 inch) plates are reproduced, showing cable cars, churches, and public and commercial buildings as well as dwellings laid out in a well-defined street system. As the frontier moved westward and industrialization began to change the character of the landscape, Americans increasingly turned to the photograph as a means of both celebrating technology and of expressing reverence for the landscape being threatened by its advance.

CARLETON E. WATKINS. Magenta Flume, Nevada Co., California, c. 1871.
Albumen print. Baltimore Museum of Art; Purchase with exchange funds from the
Edward Joseph Gallagher III Memorial Collection; and Partial Gift of George H. Dalsheimer, Baltimore.

EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE. Panorama of San Francisco from California Street Hill, 1878.
Albumen prints. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

CARLETON E. WATKINS. Multnomah Fall Cascade, Columbia River, 1867.
Albumen print. Gilman Paper Company, New York.

FRANK J. HAYNES. Geyser, Yellowstone, Wyoming, c. 1885.
Albumen print. Daniel Wolf, Inc., New York.

ANDREW f. RUSSELL. Hanging Rock, Foot of Echo Canyon, Utah, 1867-68.
Albumen print. Western Americana Collection.

WILLIAM HENRY JACKSON. Grand Canyon of the Colorado, 1870-80.
Albumen print. Prnate collection.