|William Henry Fox Talbot, The Open Door, 1843|
Back in July, the BBC Radio 4 show 'In Our Time' recorded a 45 minute programme where the topic of the invention of photography was discussed by an expert panel. The lives and work of Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot are talked about in some depth along with the effect that early photography had on society. The various early photography processes, many of which used toxic ingredients that caused ill health for the pioneer photographers, are also discussed in some detail.
The podcast description on the website states:-
'Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of photography in the 1830s, when techniques for 'drawing with light' evolved to the stage where, in 1839, both Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot made claims for its invention. These followed the development of the camera obscura, and experiments by such as Thomas Wedgwood and Nicéphore Niépce, and led to rapid changes in the 1840s as more people captured images with the daguerreotype and calotype. These new techniques changed the aesthetics of the age and, before long, inspired claims that painting was now dead.'
It wasn't surprising to find out that early photography was a pursuit of wealthy gentlemen. Photography in the 19th century was an extremely expensive and time consuming business. Even having your photograph taken by the early 'pro photographers' was an expensive luxury few could afford - 300 guineas was charged for a portrait (One Guinea is £ 1.05p) taking it well beyond the reach of the average person.
The podcast is available to stream via the BBC site and there is also a MP3 download which means that anyone outside of the UK should be able to access the programme.
The Invention of Photography pocast can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07j699g