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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Frank Haes

Dates:  1833 - 1916
Active:  Great Britain

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Frank Haes
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Haes was a native of London but spent some of his youth in Australia. In fragmentary “photographic recollections” (first published by the British Journal of Photography to accompany his obituary), Haes recalled: “My first attempts in the black art began when I was not more than eleven years old, with the calotype process for copying leaves, etc., but I soon wanted a camera, and having never seen one, tried to make it with pasteboard and the field-glass of a shilling telescope.” About 1852 he acquired a proper French camera, taking collodion positives “of no merit. After flirting with the Daguerreotype, about 1855 I was so pleased with the waxed paper process that I worked hard at it.” Haes was then living in Blackheath and practicing as a photographer, showing waxed-paper views of English architecture in the 1855 and 1856 exhibitions of the Photographic Society in London. He then returned to Australia for two years, submitting seven waxed-paper views from there to the 1858 Photographic Society exhibition. Haes also teamed up with Arthur James Melhuish to devise a roller mechanism for the camera; joining up ten or twelve sensitized sheets of waxed paper as large as 12 x 15 inches, he was able to stock a whole day’s shooting in his camera. Haes made a reputation in photographic circles for his photographs of zoo animals and, as secretary and treasurer of the Jewish Historical Society, he was often called upon to photograph historical objects. Haes was also one of the first photographic collectors. In the 1890s, his Fridays were spent at the Islington Cattle Market, looking for photographic artifacts. Perhaps it was to feed his collecting habit that Haes took an active interest in the stock market. 
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. 
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