*** photography country trends

Photography: Country Trends

 photography country trends
Figure 1.--The Daguerreotype developed in France was the first photographic format with commercial applications. We note large numbers of cased dags in America from the 1840s and 50s, mostly prepared in cases. We find far fewer dags in Europe, even France. We are not sure just why this is. It may reflected a greater reluctance of European dealers, including France, to seel their items over the internet rather than an actual differerence in the number of portraits made.

Major developments in photographt were made in a small number of countries, primarily England, France, Germany, and the United States. These counries made the major technical advances. Commercial photography began with the development of the Daguerreotype in France. Frederick Scott Archer (1813-1857) in England invented the photographic collodion process which preceded the modern gelatin emulsion. The ambrotype used this process. Prof. Hamilton L. Smith in America developed the tintype or ferrotype process in 1856. He patented the process. The tintype was an almost instant process, ideal for both small-scale local and itinerant street photographers. As the name suggests, the origins of the CDV using a negative process was French. One source indicates that the carte-de-viste or CDV was first introdued in 1851. I have been unable to confirm that. Another source indicates that a French photographer, André-Adolphe-Eugéne Disdéri, introduce the CDV about 1854. Over the rest of the 19th century, quite a number of experimenters made improvements in chemistry improving speeds. The next major step was emulsions and film. Several inventors made important contributions. It was the Americam George Eastman that created the first user frindly camera for anateurs--the Kodak Brownie. Germany was a leader in cilor photography, but German industry was destroyed in World War II and Kodak energed as a world leader in photography after the War, dominating the market for many years. There were also differences from country to country as to the popularity of photography and the use of different formats.


We have very little information on the photographic industries in Africa, at least sub-Saharan Africa. The ndustry was primarily introduced during the colonial era. This was the European colonial era, not the Arab colonial era in East Africa. And in much of Africa, colonialism was introduced as part of the European Scramble for Africa (1880s). Before this, the Europeans tended to set up trading posts along the coasts, but did not colonize the interior. Actual colonixation did occur earlier in South Africa and we do have a South African photography page.

America, Latin

We have very little information on Latin Americanm photograohic trends. As far as we can tell, there were nio major develoopmdnts in Latin Aerica. It was just a matter of foreginersestablishing studios in the various countries or local beinging equipment bd trchnology from Europe and the United States. This appears to have occurred in the late-19th century. We have found a very limited 19th century photograohic record. Most of the images we have found date to the 20th century. Argentina seems to be the country with the greatest photographic record beginning in the late-19h century. This seems to be a reflection of the substabtial economic growth in Argentia beginning in the late-19th century. We also have some limited information on photography in Mexico.

America, North


Photography was invented in Europe and quickly made its way across the North Atlantic. The industry as in America developed very rapidly in Canada. At this time we do not know if photography developed any differently in Canada than in other countries. Canada is a fairly small country, at least in terms of population. We do not know of any major technical developmens achieved in Canada. Nor do we know much about the development of the industry in the 19th century. This topic is of interest to HBC because often formats, cases, cards, and frames can help date images. We have begun to work on this tgopic in the main photographic secfion of HBC, but at this tome have very little country-specific information on Canada.

United States

The early research on photigraphy was donne in Europe. Americans took to the European developments and the potential for a new industry with a vengence. Processes developed in Europe appeared in America within months. Developers in Europe weee able with varying degress of success able to enforce patents. American photographers paid not attention to patents in the early stages of the industry. We note large numbers of cased dags in America from the 1840s and 50s, mostly prepared in cases. We find far fewer dags in Europe, even France where the process was developed. We are not sure just why this is. It may reflected a greater reluctance of European dealers, including France, to sell their items over the internet rather than an actual differerence in the number of portraits made. But we think there were probably far more Dags made in America. The tintype was also developed in France. Prof. Hamilton L. Smith in America developed the tintype or ferrotype process (1856). He patented the process. The albumen process used for CDVs and cabinents cards was a.so developed in Rurop and quickly adopted in America. The tintype was an almost instant process, ideal for both small-scale local and itinerant street photographers. Several inventors made important contributions. It was the Americam George Eastman that created the first user frindly camera for anateurs--the Kodak Brownie. Germany was a leader in color photography, but German industry was destroyed in World War II and Kodak energed as a world leader in photography after the War, dominating the market for may years.



Photography was invented in Europe. The first commercial process was invented by Louis Gaguerre in France (1839). Photography proved so populr that it quickly spread arond the world. This occured as European photographers set up shop shop in foreign countirs and colonies where local people did not have the technical sophistication to launch unknown new technologies. The first studios in Chinawere thus set up by foreigners, mostly in coastal cities. These were commercial studios to sell portraits. Gradually Chinese nationals also began to set up studios which began to appear in inland cities. The chemistry was not all that complicated and thus not aeal barrier to local competition. There was an enormous demand. Virtully all middle-class Chinese peoples wabted portraits of themselves and family. And with the appearnce of the CDV the price for a portrait fell substantially. Withina a few decades photographic studios existed in all major Chinese cities. Almost all of the early Chinese photography were studio poraits. Only slowly do we begin to see gnre images of Chinese himes, streets, and the countryside. Almost all of these early genre images were taken by foreignrs who were intragued by China, as in India sometimes falling in love with the people and their culture. This was a process seen arond the world. Local people often did not find it all important to record what they saw everyday. Foreigners found the local people, culture, ansd scenery remarkable were the first to take photogrphs outside the studio. We begin to see the first genre photography (1860s). William Saunders (1832-92) was the first important genre photographer in China that we know about. Local interesrt in photography may have occured quicker in China than other countries. Lai Afong (1839-90) was a early Chinese photographer. Slowly this began to change. Affluent Chinese began to take up photography as a hobby. Important people wanted portraits tken. Even the tradition-obssessed Empress Dowager Cixi had many portraits taken. By the 20th century, photography in China began to take on the charactetitics common in the West. Photograohy in the 20th century was subject to considerale cenorship by the Nationalists abd Communists during the Civil War (1930s-40s), the Japanses durung the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), and the Communists after their victory (1949). The other major difference between photography in China and the West is that povery in China until the post-KMao market reforms (1990s) limited the number of people who could afford portraits or engage in amateur photogrohy. Most cameras and photigraphic materials were imported until after World War II when the Communists essentially severed commercial relations with non-Communist countries.


India was under British control by the time that photography was invented in Europe (1839). This history of photography in India thus begins with the British Raj. Photography did not develop as rapidly in Britain as it did in America. Thus we find relatively few Daguerreotypdes and Ambrotypes from Britain. The same is true of India. We do not know if there were any Dag or Ambro studios yey, but suspect there were very few if any. We suspect that some the Indian princes had photographs taken. There are, as aesult, few Indian photographs until the 1860s. Several developmebnts came togetrher at about time. The Indian mutiny occurred (1857) and was not supressed until the following year. The British rushed reinforcements to India. This was just after the first war was photographed--the Crimean war. The outcome of the Mutiny was a greatly expanded British presence in India, both military and civilian. And some of the Brits that came were interested in photography. At the sane time, as a result of the Mutiny, the British public wanted to see images of the places and people they had been reading about in the newspapers. This created a commercial demand for Indian photographs. And this interest only increased as India came to be seen as the Jewel in Crown meaning Empire. The British East Asia Company actually employed photographers. The first interest was archaeological sites. Other company employees as well as subequent colonial officials were avid amateur photographers. Photography thus became became an important element of the `Archaeological Survey of India` (1861). The British public's interest was not just limited to archaeology, but wanted to see images illustating people, places, culture, scenery, and other interesting aspects. The missionaries who came in increasing numbers included some avid photographers. The increasing number of British subjects and other Westerners in India, as wll as affluent Indians created a demand for photographs. The intrioduction of the albumen print and CDV print simplified the process as wll as reduced the price. Not only were photographs taken for the normal reasons, but British officials and businessmen and their families want them for scrapbooks and family albums that they would taken home with them. An important early photograopher was Samuel BourneWe. We do not know when the first photographic studio was opened, but know that there were studios by the 1860s. One was Tho. A. Rust Rust in northern India. We note Rust taking portraits that were between CDVs and cabinet cards in size. We do not know how common this was in India. As in America and Europe, the expAnsion of amateur photography with the snapshot greatly expnded the wealth of photographic images.


Photography began in Europe and America with the opening of Daguerreotype studios (1840s). Very little of this or other Western technology filtered into Japan as the Shogunate kept the country closed to the West. There was only a small Dutch trading post in Nagasaki where foreign trade and contacts were allowed under extremely limited conditions. It was here that the Japanese saw their first photographic portraits--Daguerreotypes. It is believed that a Dutch photographer took the first photograph in Japan. His identity and when he took that photograph appears lost to history. Only after Japan was opened to the West by Commodore Perry (1853) did modern refinements like photography begin to filter in to the country. Here because of their existing contacts, the Dutch helped introduce photography to Japan. Other foreigners soon were involved in this process. As this began to occur in the 1850s we see processes like the Ambrotype entering Japan. Thus most early Japanese photographs are Ambrotypes rather than Daguerreotypes. In fact there are very few Japanese Daguerreotypes. The cased photographs in Japan were done in wood. Within a few years Japanese pioneers like the physician Matsumoto Jun (1832-1907) began to study photography with a Dutch colleague. Much of the earliest work occurred in Nahasaki. His adopted son, Uchida Kuichi (1844-1875), studied photography under Ueno Hikoma in Nagasaki and opened a studio there. Many Japanaese city did not have photographic studios until the 1860s. Uchida moved his studio to Yokahama near Tokyo and acquired the reputation as the best photographer in Tokyo. He was granted a royal commission to photograph the Emperor Menji (1872). Most early photographers were foreigners. A particularly important one was the Venetian-British photographer, Felice Beato (1840-1904), who took beautiful images illustrating the Japanese lifestyle. Most Japanese photographers in the 19th century was more focused on portraits. We are not sure when the first albumen print was made, but surely it must have been during the 1860s. Even so, we notice ambrotypes still being made in the 1880s. The Ambrotype process in the West was displaced by albumen CDVs and cabinent cards in the 1860s. The number of Japanese photographers gradually increased and there were soon many Japanese studios (1870s). Japanese studios gradually replaced the Europeans (1880s). With the development of simple, inexpensive cameras, amateur photography became a popular hobby as was the case in the West.


France and Britain led the world in the development of photograophy. The first commercial process was the Daherreptype (1839). The less expensive Ambrotype followed (mis-1850s). Early photographs (Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes) from those countries, however, are relatively rare, largely because of the strict enforcement pf patent laws. We have many more early photographs from America where enfoircement was virtually non-esistent. This change with the introduction, again, in France, of the ambrotype CDV (mid-1850s), althoigh it did not become popuklsr until a few years later (1859). Thus we see a tidal flow of photographic images for the first time (1860s). The cabinet card, essentially a large CDV, appeared a few years later (mid-1860s). Thec cabinet card was not as popular in Europe as it was in America, but this vried from ciuntry to countrry. While Germany was not a major participant in early photographic reeaech, the indutry quickly spread (1860s). We note many of the first studios in Eastern Europe abnd the Balkans were Germans, although the French were also important. Americca began to play an important role in the photographic industyry ag gradually research, competiung with European companies. Kodak becae an industry leader with the Brownie (1900). Abd photography became more important in Germany during the early-20th century than any other Eiropean countries. Germnan film countries and cnera compsnires became industry leaders. Germany strong chemical industry was a important support for the film industry. Agfa became an early leader in color photography. The German industry, however, was sevely set back by World War II and neverfully recovered as American Kodak snd Japnese Fuji became leaders in the world of film. The move to digital photography was led by America and Japan.

Middle East and North Africa

Photography was invented in Europe (1839). Several European countries and the United States were involved in developing photogtaphy. The Middle East like Asia and Lstinm America wertr not involved. This of course is just one area. The region was a technological black whole. All nodern technology was morted and this continues to be the case even today. Photography was brought to the Middle East by Europeans. The Greeks were important as were the Armenians (who have a European culture) and in North Africa the Italians. We begin to see images from the Middle East and North Afria a few decades later (1860s). The amazing aspect of these early images is there is no indication if modern life abd technology. For all practical purposes the same images could have been taken centuries erlier, if not a millenia earlier. We have only a few Middle-Eastern and North African country pages at this time: Algeria, Egypt, Ottoman Empire, Syria, Persia/Iran, Turkey, and others.



The British colonization of Australia began at about the same time that photography was developed (1839). Acrually the British arrived earlier, but only about the mid-19th century were substantial numbers of Europeans in Australia. Thus the country has an almost complete photographic record of its history, with the exception of course of the aboriginal population. HBC has no images from the mid-19th century, but has noted some interesting images from itinerate profesional photographers. Before the development of the Kodak Brownie in 1900, amateur photographs were nor common. Such itinerate professional photographers operated in other countries as well, serving rural populations which could not easily get to photographic studios in towns. HBC finds some of these photogtaphs interesting. Some are taken in rough surroundings. Similar portraits in America usually had the house, however primative, as the background. Not only are the backgrounds distinctive, but the boys are often emacualetly attired in the latest fashions--in sharp contrast to the rough surroundings. Boys in similar American portraits were rarely photographed individually. For many such rural families, a family portrait was a major expense and they could not afford individual portraits of each family member. The Australian boys despite their rough surroundings look like they come from prosperous families. The American families photographed by itinerate photograhers, while they dressed up for the portraits, rarely wore the elegant attire shown in some of the Australian portraits. One HBC reader reports that one of these itinerate photographers was someone quite well known in Australia. HBC does not. however, yet know his name. The Australian National Library has a wonderful collection of these portraits.

Photographic Paper

We can often tell where an image comes from, if it is not specified, by assesing the image. Items such as cars, home styles, clothes, land mnarks, ethnicity all provide valuable clues. Another helpful indicator is the brabd of photographic paper. This is erspecially useful in Europe. Maby compoanies, even small countries, had companies manufacturing photographic paper. It was not always printed on the back, but in many cases it was. Of course where the image was printed is noit necesarily wjhere the phoytoigraoh was taken, but often they were. It is this one more useful indicator. Here we will list the paper manufscturers aling with any information we have been able to acquire about them.


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Created: 5:21 AM 1/2/2008
Last updated: 7:58 PM 5/14/2024