Early Photography Links

I’ll be talking about photography in my Media and History course starting tomorrow and found some links that might be useful for my class (and maybe others as well). First, a link to the George Eastman collection of Lewis Hine’s photography. The Eastman House online archive looks pretty useful, with a nice collection of early photographers including Eugene Atget, Matthew Brady, and a small number of daguerreotypes.

But one other topic I hope to revisit will be the Cottingley Fairy Photographs, which were taken by Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright in 1916-17 and showed fairies and gnoes leaping and playing next to the teenage girls. Their pictures led to a widespread effort to detemine the authenticity of the photographs, and even Sherlock Holmes writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who was an ardent spiritualist and believer in fairies, endorsed the images as genuine. Only in 1983 did Griffiths and Wright acknowldege that the photographs were a hoax.

I wasn’t specifically planning to discuss this story, but given that various permutations of spiritualism have been an ongoing theme in the course, I’m hoping that my students will find it interesting.


  1. Clancy Said,

    February 9, 2006 @ 12:41 am

    Ooooh, neat. I was a photography minor in college, and History of Photography was one of my favorite courses.

  2. Chuck Said,

    February 9, 2006 @ 11:12 am

    I’ve enjoyed the history of photography stuff but wish I’d had more time with it (fifteen weeks for media history is tough). The Library of Congress has a better collection, by far, of daguerreotypes, but I got lazy after mking a few of these links.

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