Tuesday, June 10, 2008

William Henry Fox Talbot - The Father of Modern Photography

A new book out this month "William Henry Fox Talbot" by Geoffrey Batchen (Phaidon $39.95) makes the claim that Talbot was the founder of modern photography. This is an interesting  claim and probably one disputed hotly and heatedly by the descendants and supporters of  Louis Daguerre - who is widely supposed to be the founder. However, in my quick and speedy research, involving wikipedia and googling, it seems that a lot of whiskered funny-looking men in the 1800s were all trying to figure out the magic of getting images to keep still permanently on bits of silver. Daguerre invented the first commercially viable option as his method made it quicker to catch the elusive devil than other peoples, which could take hooours...I think the reason Talbot's lauded as a founder is because he managed to do it first. He apparently had a revelation when he was on his honeymoon in Lake Como. His wife was probably a bit miffed that he was having revelations about mercury vapours and iodine instead of epiphanies at her prowess but it was good for the history of photography. Sacrifices must be made. The images above are a selection from the book and are so beautiful they make me want to get all crafty with a pinhole camera. 

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