Statement of aims

In setting up this site it has been my objective to locate the discovery of the negative-positive photographic process within a broad cultural, artistic, scientific and social context. HJP Arnold, in his 1977 biography, gave a comprehensive and authorative account of the life and work of WHF Talbot and the nature and scope of his contribution across a broad range of disciples. Amelunxen, Buckland, Smith and especially Schaaf have, in general, focused concentrated on his photographic activities and links between 1833 and 1860; the latter specifically through a detailed analysis of his relationship with Sir John FW Herschel from 1830 and 1840. Amelunxen, on the other hand, successfully attempted to explore, in depth, the nature and range of Talbot’s European cultural links and the philosophical base upon which he predicated his seminal discovery; whilst Smith explored his relationship with the Scottish and Italian savants
Accordingly I have predicated my approach upon the hypothesis that the most important influences on any one individual at any given point in time, more than their immediate contemporaries and peers, is the deep and complex resource of the immediate cultural past and an individual‘s ability to access and draw upon the broadest and most comprehensive range of ideas, concepts across a range of divergent cultural domains.

I feel that no useful purpose would be served by setting the central focus of this site purely on Talbot's seminal contribution as the discover and inventor of the positive/negative photographic process alone. To this end it is our intention to follow two separate lines enquiry:

A targeted focus: the analysis of texts and documents relating to aspects of photographic vision and the evolution of photography and photographic vision

Upon visual literacy: the perception, comprehension and use images and modes of thought in relation to how we think and learn in terms of images

It is my intention to progressively expand and enlarge this site so that it will be both a study resource and point of reference for the study of photography and the photographic image.

I have taken WHF Talbot as our primary point of reference, born out of our perceived need to better and more fully comprehend the nature and extent of the paradigmatic shift engendered by now near universal dominance within the field of the reprographic arts of digital imaging processes.

We are now within threshold of an era where there will no longer be, to all intents and purposes, any form of system independent origination. What, in effect we are witnessing is the demise of the photographic negative as a physical entity and as the primary storage for visual data. The implication of which, for the future, is difficult or impossible to predict