William Henry Fox Talbot and the Promise of Photography



ISBN: 9780880390606 Category:

Dan Leers


A handsome primer on the work of William Henry Fox Talbot.

This beautiful, small format publication serves as a primer on the work of William Henry Fox Talbot, a true interdisciplinary innovator who drew on his knowledge of art history, botany, chemistry and optics to become one of the inventors of photography in 1839. Talbot’s ‘photogenic drawings’ (photograms), calotypes and salted paper prints are some of the first ever examples of images captured on paper. Accompanying an exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh opening in November 2017, this book brings together approximately 30 photographs by Talbot that demonstrate his wide ranging interests, including nature, still life, portraiture, architecture and landscape. Approximately one quarter of the featured images have been unpublished since Talbot’s time. Through thematic groupings elucidated by noted Talbot scholar Larry Schaaf, the book reveals the photographer’s early striving to test the boundaries of his medium at a historic moment when art and science intersected. With its luminous reproductions of Talbot’s fragile works, this publication demonstrates that, in its earliest days, photography required a form of magic making and innovation that continues to inspire people today.

Additional information

Weight 622 g
Dimensions 22 x 25.3 cm
Publisher name Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.
Publication date 1 January 2018
Number of pages 96
Format Hardback
Contributors Text by Dan Leers
Dimensions 22 x 25.3 cm
Weight 622 g


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Dan Leers is Curator of Photography at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Professor Larry J. Schaaf is the Director of the William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné - foxtalbot.bodleian.ox.ac.uk - an online resource of the Bodleian Libraries.