De Montfort University has created an extensive corpus of digital resources for researchers of 19th century photography working from primary materials such as exhibition catalogues and letters. Access to primary resources is essential for future progress in photographic history. However these resources are often ephemeral, fragile, widely dispersed, poorly documented and difficult to access, although of enormous scope. These on-line resources have been developed specifically to facilitate research in the history of photography.
Photographs, Colonial Legacy and Museums in Contemporary European Culture (PhotoCLEC)
PhotoCLEC explores the different ways in which photographs from the colonial past have been used by museums, as spaces of public history, to communicate and interpret the colonial past in a postcolonial and multicultural Europe.
Photographs are probably the most ubiquitous and far reaching records of the colonial past. They trace the experiences of a vast range of people touched by European colonial expansion and domination, both colonised and colonialisers.
How is this record understood in public histories? What is its role in the way contemporary European cultures configure their pasts for the benefit of their futures?
Intended for curators, heritage managers, teachers and students, this web resource has been built in response to the concerns of curators, debates about difficult histories in museums, the role of photographs in the museum space, and especially key questions about the representation of the colonial past in museums as vectors of public history. The resource offers a unique comparative character that is the result of a collaborative research project, led by DMU, in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Norway, all of which have very different colonial histories and post-colonial engagements.
Photographic Exhibitions in Britain 1839-1865
This is a research database containing individual records for over 20 000 photographic exhibits drawn from forty exhibition catalogues published between 1839 - 1865.
The ephemeral checklists and catalogues that form the basis of this publication are rare and of limited access in the United Kingdom itself, and all the more scarce outside that country. By providing a single source that records the work exhibited by British and foreign photographers during the formative years of the development of the medium.
The resource was created by Professor Emeritus Roger Taylor and originally published under the same title in book form by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2002.
Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society 1870-1915
This is a research database of over 45000 records from the annual exhibition catalogues of the Photographic Society, London, published between 1870 and 1915.
The resource contains: detailed records of all the exhibits, plus information about exhibitors, judges, hanging and selecting committee members, photographs and companies; reproductions of all the catalogue pages; all the pictures of the photographs that were printed in the catalogues, plus some contemporary illustrations from the annual publication Photograms of the Year; reviews of the exhibitions from the annual publication Photograms of the Year; tools for refining, printing and exporting your search results.
Roger Fenton's Letters from the Crimea
This website publishes faithful transcripts of letters sent by Roger Fenton to family and friends during his "Photographic Trip to the Crimea" in 1855.
The English photographer Roger Fenton (1819-69) was one of the most influential and important practitioners of the mid-19th century, exhibiting more widely and prolifically than any other of the period. Although best known to the public for his photographs from the Crimean War, his landscape and architectural studies were highly regarded and often referred to by critics as points of reference to which all other photographers should aspire.
The resource was created in a collaborative project initiated by De Montfort University, using the two surviving letter books in the collections of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center and The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, now the National Media Museum. This is the first occasion that all twenty five letters have been published in full.
The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot
The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot Project has prepared a comprehensive edition of the nearly 10,000 letters to and from Talbot (1800-1877), the Wiltshire polymath best known for his invention of photography. Draft transcriptions of nearly all the letters were posted by September 2003 and these are now being further annotated and edited.
The conception and editorial foundations of the project took place at the University of Glasgow between 1999 and 2004. Additional development and hosting is now undertaken by Knowledge Media Design, De Montfort University. The Correspondence editor is Professor Larry Schaaf.