|Dates: ||1838 - 1916|
A group of waxed-paper “views in the village of Willian, Hertfordshire” was shown by a “W. Brook” in the 1861 exhibition of the Photographic Society in London. Since no individual can be linked to this record, a slight typographical error can be suspected, and William Brooks emerges as the most likely candidate. The details of Brooks’s early life are contradictory, but we know that he was born in Kent and that he was an engineer’s pattern maker by 1861. In 1916 the British Journal Photographic Almanac recalled that in “his early twenties Brooks had become a competent plein-air photographer.” In the 1860s Brooks took up stereo photography in Penzance, first as an amateur but soon as a professional; by the time of the 1871 census he was listing himself as a “landscape photographer.” By 1875 Brooks had established himself in London as a photographer and photographic inventor, becoming vice president of the South London Photographic Society. He continued to lecture on photography at the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society until 1882 and died in Reigate, Surrey.
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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