My collection of photohistory and photographica covers the period before the second world war, by when nearly all of the evolution of (non-digital) photography we use today was completed. By then there were good photographic materials in monochrome, and the beginnings of modern colour systems for both prints and transparencies. Cameras ranged from enormous, through sizes still common today (120, 35mm) down to subminiatures like the Minox. Rangefinder, twin-lens and single-lens reflex, stereo, and panorama had all been tried, and the basic layout of the modern 35mm SLR was established. Cameras with built-in light meters were on the market. Cheap box cameras to bring photography to everyone had been available for many years, together with the necessary processing services. Instant photography was available on every popular beach in the summer, albeit often wanting in quality. Still to come were, of course, some important refinements - auto exposure control, autofocus, good wide-angle and zoom lenses, faster film.
There is a strong family history thread running through this too. My grandfather, Ernest Marriage, was a keen photographer, sometimes doing it professionally. He wrote many articles and two books on photography, being a pioneer in telephotography around the turn of the century. My father Tony Marriage worked for Kodak all his career, in the research laboratory in Wealdstone. My interest is as a keen amateur and collector, my daughter-in-law Anna Marriage is a professional photographer in Cambridge ... so the story continues.
The collection is still growing, and I am always interested to hear of interesting new items.
So, if you have anything either to sell or to discuss/research, especially in the following areas, please email me:
Books on photographic technique - pre-1900
Books on photographers, especially landscape, architectural and abstract subjects - pre-1940
Photographs in the same subject areas pre-1914, especially the older processes such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, woodburytypes
Books illustrated with actual photographs (as opposed to half-tone reproductions)
Good early albums of photographs - e.g. topographical, industrial history particularly if well annotated
Cameras and other photographic gear - pre-1940
Always happy to help with research, or just talk to like-minded collectors! I am the editor of Photographica World, the magazine of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain. It is the largest circulation English-language photo-history magazine in the world, and just celebrated its 25th anniversary. If you have an article to publish, contact me, maybe we can help.
A recent research project was The History of the 35mm Twin-Lens Reflex. This has not been researched before as a connected topic, though many of the individual cameras are well known. The material is now well-developed, and I have given two lectures. Formal publication was in 2005, in Photographica World.
I have researched, and am still collecting, the works of Japanese photographer Hanbeh Mizuno. He invented and operated a process for making photographic prints in (real) gold on traditional Japanese/Chinese lacquer. The first publication on this was in Photographica World in November 2007; since then, more prints have come to light.
I regularly give talks to photographers, camera collectors and general audiences, on aspects of photographic history. Contact me if you are interested for your group.
Browse the Index of the Photographic Journal Section B, 1945-1952 - (Scientific and Technical Photography)