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British Journal of Photography Almanac Annual Summary of Photographic Inventions and Events in Photographic History/1893

From George Eastman House : Notes On Photographs

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Edited by J. Traill Taylor

One feature of the last year is the constant increase in the number of photographic societies and clubs. The taking of negatives and making of prints therefrom, coupled with the really reasonable rates at which apparatus can now be obtained, proves a strong incentive to many, all over the world, to become photographers; and when a few such are found in any locality, the formation of an association naturally follows. To those who reside in this country, affiliation with the Photographic Society of Great Britain provides the means for securing pabulum for their meetings of a nature somewhat higher than is to be expected from individual local effort, especially when such is unbacked by experience. Affiliation costs little, but is worth much.

Closely allied to the foregoing is the number of exhibitions taking place all over the country. These, in so far as allowing members to see the work of each other, serve a good purpose, but a drawback to many of them lies in the fact of their being taken advantage of by pot-hunters from far and wide, eager to increase the number of their medals.

In the optics of photography, the Concentric lens, patented a few years since by Dr. Schroeder and Mr. Stuart, has this year been manufactured and issued commercially by Messrs. Ross & Co. Having already been described, any description of it may now be waived. Its characteristic is perfect flatness of field when employed with a suitable working aperture. The tele-photographic lens of J. H. Dallmeyer, too, is one the phases of optical advance during the present year. Its advantages have been demonstrated so successfully as to establish its value in securing direct enlarged view of distant scenes. Like the telescope, its employment is limited only by the clearness of the atmosphere.

The addition of several new substances to our developing resources has undoubtedly increased the photographer’s formulary to advantage, the principal one among them, amidol, being by common consent the most formidable rival which pyrogallol has so far had to encounter, and this, notwithstanding that the younger reagent has hardly yet passed out of the experimental stare of use.

Further improvements in the platinotype process have enabled Mr. W. Willis to provide a paper upon which the image is developable at a normal temperature, thus removing at a stroke hot development and its attendant inconveniences. The new cold-bath process appears to be still further popularising the process. During the year the affiliation scheme of the Photographic Society of Great Britain has been launched with a fair degree of success, some thirty societies having given in their adhesion to it; and proposals for the foundation of a Photo-Technological Institute has been brought before the Society. Up to the present time, however, no practical step has been taken in connexion with the latter. Reference to the Society provides us with the opportunity of recording the retirement form its presidency of Mr. James Glaisher, F.R.S., who after a long term of years passed in ably serving the best interest in the Society, ahs been succeeded by Captain Abney.

Considerable attention has been devoted by dry-plate makers to the provision of gelatine plates resisting the phenomenon of halation. It is difficult thus early to ascertain any measure of results therefrom; but it may be taken as axiomatic that the use of backed plates to prevent the same defect is increasing.

Among the more prominent amateurs or professionals on whose heads death has been laid since our last ALMANAC was issued are Mr. Edward Viles, who some years ago was well known as a contributor to this ALMANAC and this JOURNAL. His interest in photography lay largely in the direction of it s optics, and he possessed a very fine collection of optical instruments. He died of typhoid fever on December 8. Mr. William Notman, of Montreal, died November 25. He acquired great distinction in America, and businesses bearing his name are established in Boston, Halifax (N.S.), and New York. He was born in Paisley, Scotland.

On February 12 Mr. Edward Cocking died from a fit of apoplexy. Mr. Cocking was before the photographic public for a long course of years. In 1867 he became Hon. Secretary of the original South London Society, and contributed various papers, mainly having reference to the art aspect of the science. It is well known that Mr. Cocking, up till a recent period, was Assistant Secretary of the Photographic Society of Great Britain, a position he occupied for fifteen years, and every one connected with that body can bear testimony to the efficiency of his services during its annual; exhibitions. He was educated at Sount Kensington as an artist, and was a frequent and, indeed, regular contributor to the pages of THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY and those of the ALAMANAC.

Mr. A. Vandyke, an eminent Liverpool professional photographer, died on March 31, while about the same time there passed away J. S. Stas, the eminent Belgian chemist, whose researches into the properties of the haloid silver salts were put to practical advantage by the late Dr. Van Nonckhoven, and other emulsion makers years ago.