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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Alfred Brothers

Dates:  1826 - 1912
Active:  Great Britain
 
  

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Alfred Brothers
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

 
  
The son of a chemist, the eight-year-old Brothers was so captivated by the appearance of Halley’s Comet that astronomy remained a fascination throughout his life. Discovering photography when he was sixteen, he made his own photographic paper. Brothers followed a somewhat uncertain path after that, working in a bookseller’s shop and then as a railroad surveyor and an insurance agent. In 1855 he moved to Manchester, a city rife with amateur photographers, and joined the photographic society. Brothers purchased a photographic studio and by the 1861 census was listing himself as a “photographic artist.” Between 1856 and 1865 he participated in many major photographic exhibitions, showing wet collodion, and was well known as the inventor of a magnesium ribbon for photographic lighting. Brothers applied photography to many different scientific undertakings, and his Photography: Its History, Processes, Apparatus, and Materials, first published in 1892, enjoyed wide popularity. None of his early paper negative photographs are known to have survived, but in 1898 Brothers wrote to Charles Henry Talbot, the inventor’s son, proudly noting that he owned photographs signed, “From Nature, 1844, H. F. T.” 
  
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
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Portraits 
  
If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful. 
  
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