Photography Masters

Biography: 19th Century photographer Gustave Le Gray

Biography: 19th Century photographer Gustave Le Gray

Gustave Le Gray (1820 – 1884) has been called “the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century” because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and “the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture making.” He was an early pioneer of High-Dynamic range photography and contributed to…
Biography: 19th Century photographer Heinrich Kühn

Biography: 19th Century photographer Heinrich Kühn

Heinrich Kühn (1866 – 1944) was an Austrian–German photographer and photography pioneer. Kühn is regarded one of the forefathers of fine art photography, the movement that helped photography to establish itself as an art on its own. His photographs closely resemble impressionist paintings, with their frequent use of soft lighting and focus. Kühn was part of the pictorialist photographic movement.…
Biography: 19th Century photographer Hugues Krafft

Biography: 19th Century photographer Hugues Krafft

Hugues Krafft (1853 – 1935) was a born in Paris. He travelled around the world, and visited Japan in 1882–1883. He left numerous quality photographs of the period. He was among the first to use instantaneous photography in Japan (he used a Zeiss camera with gelatine-silver bromide plates, a process which became widely available in 1880), which allowed him to…
Biography: 19th Century photographer Benjamin W. Kilburn

Biography: 19th Century photographer Benjamin W. Kilburn

Benjamin Kilburn (1827 – 1909) was an American photographer and stereoscopic view publisher famous for his landscape images of the nascent American and Canadian state, provincial, and national parks and his visual record of the great migrations at the end of the nineteenth century. Kilburn Brothers stereoviews date from about 1865. Published sources attribute their stereographs before 1876 solely to…
Biography: 19th Century daguerreotypist Jules Itier

Biography: 19th Century daguerreotypist Jules Itier

Jules Alphonse Eugène Itier (1802–1877) French customs inspector and amateur daguerreotypist. Between 1842 and 1843 he traveled to Senegal, Guadeloupe and India, where he took a number of early daguerreotypes. In December 1843, Itier was sent to accompany Théodore de Lagrené on his journey to China, where he been dispatched by Louis Philippe to conclude a commercial treaty. In China,…
Biography: 19th Century photographer Lai Afong

Biography: 19th Century photographer Lai Afong

Lai Afong (1839 – 1890) was a Chinese photographer who established Afong Studio, one of the early photographic studios in Hong Kong. His studio was active from 1859 to around the 1940s. The business was probably taken over by his son in the 1890s. Subject matters ranged from portraits and social life pictures to cityscapes and landscapes. Lai’s work and…
Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Alexander Hesler

Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Alexander Hesler

Alexander Hesler (1823–1895) was an American photographer active in the U.S. state of Illinois. He is best known for photographing, in 1858 and 1860, definitive iconic images of the beardless Abraham Lincoln. He was active in the 1850s and early 1860s, learned daguerrotype and ambrotype photography; however, in company with many of his fellow craftspeople, he was trained in glass…
Biography: 19th Century photographer Frank Jay Haynes

Biography: 19th Century photographer Frank Jay Haynes

Frank Jay Haynes (1853 – 1921), known as F. Jay, was a professional photographer who played a major role in documenting through photographs the settlement and early history of the great Northwest. Shortly after his move to Moorhead, Minnesota in 1876 F. Jay began doing photographic work for elements of the Northern Pacific Railway as the railway expanded operations west.…
Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Georg Emil Hansen

Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Georg Emil Hansen

Georg Emil Hansen (1833–1891) was one of Denmark’s pioneering photographers in the second half of the 19th century. He had his own studio in Copenhagen and later became a successful court photographer. Hansen learnt the art of daguerreotyping from his father C.C. Hansen who had begun to produce daguerreotypes in 1849. After studying photography in Germany, in 1854 he helped…
Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Jeremiah Gurney

Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Jeremiah Gurney

Jeremiah Gurney (1812 – 1895), was an American daguerreotype photographer operating in New York. Gurney worked in the jewelry trade in Little Falls, New York, but soon moved his business to New York City and shortly after turned to photography, having been instructed and inspired by Samuel Morse. He was one of the pioneering practitioners of the daguerreotype process, opening…
Biography: 19th Century photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

Biography: 19th Century photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804 – 1892) was a French photographer and draughtsman who was active in the Middle East. His daguerreotypes are the earliest surviving photographs of Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Remarkably, his photographs were only discovered in the 1920s in a storeroom of his estate and then only became known eighty years later. Girault de Prangey…
Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri

Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri

André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri (1819 – 1889) was a French photographer who started his photographic career as a daguerreotypist but gained greater fame for patenting his version of the carte de visite, a small photographic image which was mounted on a card. Disdéri, a brilliant showman, made this system of mass-production portraiture world famous. Photographs had previously served as calling cards, but…
Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Robert Cornelius

Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Robert Cornelius

Robert Cornelius (1809 – 1893) was an American pioneer of photography and a lamp manufacturer. Cornelius attended private school as a youth, taking a particular interest in chemistry. In 1831, he began working for his father, specializing in silver plating and metal polishing. He became so well renowned for his work that shortly after the daguerrotype was invented, Cornelius was…
Biography: 19th Century photographer John Carbutt

Biography: 19th Century photographer John Carbutt

John Carbutt (1832-1905) was the first person to use celluloid for photographic film. Carbutt founded the Keystone Dry Plate Works in 1879 and was the first to develop sheets of celluloid coated with photographic emulsion for making celluloid film in 1888. Carbutt sliced thin plates from a rigid celluloid block, and then coated them with a silver gelatin emulsion to…
Biography: 19th Century Pioneer of Underwater photography – Louis Boutan

Biography: 19th Century Pioneer of Underwater photography – Louis Boutan

Louis Boutan (1859 – 1934) was a French pioneer in the field of underwater photography. In 1880, he was named deputy head assigned to organize the French exhibit at the Melbourne International Exhibition (1880). He stayed in Australia for 18 months, travelling the continent and identifying new animal species. In 1886, Boutan was named maître de conférences at the University…
Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Robert Jefferson Bingham

Biography: 19th Century Portrait photographer Robert Jefferson Bingham

Robert Jefferson Bingham (1824 – 1870) was an English pioneer photographer, mainly active in France, making portraits and reproductions of paintings. He is one of the first photographers to use and write about the collodion process, which he claimed to have invented. In 1847, he published a new edition of Photogenic manipulation, containing the theory and plain instructions in the…
Biography: 19th Century Pioneer German Women photographer Emilie Bieber

Biography: 19th Century Pioneer German Women photographer Emilie Bieber

Emilie Bieber (1810–1884) was a pioneering German photographer who opened a studio in Hamburg as early as 1852. On 16 September 1852, Bieber opened a daguerrotype studio at 26, Großen Bäckerstraße in Hamburg at a time when photography was practiced almost exclusively by men. As a result, she was one of the very first women to become a professional photographer…
Biography: 19th Century photographer of Snowflakes – Wilson Bentley

Biography: 19th Century photographer of Snowflakes – Wilson Bentley

Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley (1865 – 1931) is one of the first known photographers of snowflakes. He perfected a process of catching flakes on black velvet in such a way that their images could be captured before they either melted or sublimated. He first became interested in snow crystals as a teenager on his family farm. He tried to draw what…
Biography: 19th Century Landscape photographer William Bell

Biography: 19th Century Landscape photographer William Bell

William H. Bell (1830 – 1910) was an English-born American photographer known for his photographs of western landscapes taken as part of the Wheeler expedition in 1872. In his later years, he wrote articles on the dry plate process and other techniques for various photography journals. His career spanning six decades, Bell worked in nearly every major early photographic process,…