“I do not claim to have perfected an art but to have commenced one, the limits of which it is not possible at present exactly to ascertain.”
William Henry Fox Talbot, by John Moffat of Edinburgh, May 1864.
William Henry Fox Talbot (11 February 1800 – 17 September 1877) was an English scientist, inventor and photography pioneer who invented the salted paper and calotype processes, precursors to photographic processes of the later 19th and 20th centuries. His work, in the 1840s on photomechanical reproduction, led to the creation of the photoglyphic engraving process, the precursor to photogravure. He was the holder of a controversial patent that affected the early development of commercial photography in Britain. He was also a noted photographer who contributed to the development of photography as an artistic medium. He published The Pencil of Nature (1844–46), which was illustrated with original salted paper prints from his calotype negatives, and made some important early photographs of Oxford, Paris, Reading, and York.
The Pencil of Nature
Cover of The Pencil of Nature, 1844
The book detailed Talbot’s development of the calotype process and included 24 calotype prints, each one pasted in by hand, illustrating some of the possible applications of the new technology. Since photography was still very much a novelty and many people remained unfamiliar with the concept, Talbot felt compelled to insert the following notice into his book:
“The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone, without any aid whatever from the artist’s pencil. They are the sun-pictures themselves, and not, as some persons have imagined, engravings in imitation.”
The cover page for The Pencil of Nature clashed designs, which was characteristic of the Victorian era, with styles inspired by baroque, Celtic, and medieval elements. Its symmetrical design, letterforms, and intricate carpet pages are similar to and a pastiche of the Book of Kells.
The Pencil of Nature was published and sold one section at a time, without any binding (as with many books of the time, purchasers were expected to have it bound themselves once all the installments had been released). Talbot planned a large number of installments; however, the book was not a commercial success and he was forced to terminate the project after completing only six.
Charles Nègre (9 May 1820 – 16 January 1880) was a pioneering photographer, born in Grasse, France. He studied under the painters Paul Delaroche, Ingres and Drolling before establishing his own studio at 21 Quai Bourbon on the Île Saint-Louis, Paris.
Delaroche encouraged the use of photography as research for painting; Nègre started with the daguerreotype process before moving on to calotypes. His “Chimney-Sweeps Walking”, an albumen print taken on the Quai Bourbon in 1851, may have been a staged study for a painting, but is nevertheless considered important to photographic history for its being an early instance of an interest in capturing movement and freezing it forever in one moment.
The interesting shapes in his 1852 photograph of buildings in Grasse have caused it to be seen as a precursor to art photography. In 1859, he was commissioned by Empress Eugénie to photograph the newly established Imperial Asylum in the Bois de Vincennes, a hospital for disabled workingmen.
He used both albumen and salt print, and was known also as a skilled printer of photographs, using a gravure method of his own development. A plan commissioned by Napoleon III to print photographs of sculpture never came to fruition, and in 1861 Nègre retired to Nice, where he made views and portraits for holiday makers. He died in Grasse in 1880.
A Knocker-upper, was a profession in Britain and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution, when alarm clocks were neither cheap nor reliable, and to as late as the beginning of the 1920s. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.
The knocker-up used a baton or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. At least one of them used a pea-shooter. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were sure that the client had been awoken.
Would also use a ‘snuffer outer’ as a tool to rouse the sleeping. This implement was used to put out gas lamps which were lit at dusk and then needed to be extinguished at dawn.
There were large numbers of people carrying out the job, especially in larger industrial towns such as Manchester. Generally the job was done by elderly men and women but sometimes police constables supplemented their pay by performing the task during early morning patrols.
Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française and he laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale.
Portrait (detail)of Charles Perrault by Philippe Lallemand, 1672
In 1695, when he was 67, Perrault lost his position as secretary and decided to dedicate himself to his children. In 1697 he published Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals, subtitled Tales of Mother Goose . This “Mother Goose” has never been identified as a person, but used to refer to popular and rural storytelling traditions in proverbial phrases of the time. These tales, based on French popular tradition, were very popular in sophisticated court circles. Its publication made him suddenly very widely known and he is often credited as the founder of the modern fairy tale genre.
Frontispiece of the only known copy of the first English edition, 1729 (Houghton Library)
Some of his popular stories, particularly Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty, are still commonly told similar to the way Perrault had written them, while others have been revised over the years. For example, some versions of Sleeping Beauty published today are based partially on a Brothers Grimm tale, Little Briar Rose, a modified version of the Perrault story, but the Disney version is quite true to the original Perrault tale.
Old, Old Fairy Tales: "Cinderella". She lost her slipper as she ran from the castle...
Sleeping Beauty is shown a spindle by the old woman.
Little Red Riding Hood
Perrault had written Little Red Riding Hood as a warning to readers about men preying on young girls walking through the forest. He concludes his fairy tale with a moral, cautioning women and young girls about the dangers of trusting men. He states, “Watch out if you haven’t learned that tame wolves/ Are the most dangerous of all”. Perrault warns the readers about the manipulation and false appearances some men portray: “I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!” Indeed, the girl gets into bed with the wolf and is devoured. There is no happy ending as in most current versions of the story.
Little Red Riding Hood is one of the central characters in the Broadway musical Into the Woods (1987) with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others. The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel”), their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.
In a white lace universe, three inventors create machine which are both pretty and useful. Unfortunately people do not understand them…
“ Les Trois Inventeurs” (“The Three Inventors”) is a beautiful 1980 papercut animation film about a family of inventors that build amazing machines but are misunderstood by others. It’s the story of an encounter between the soaring joy of creativity and the destructive nature of fear.
The film was directed and animated by Michel Ocelot a French writer,designer,storyboard artist and director of animated films.
His œuvre is characterised by having worked in a variety of animation techniques, typically employing a different medium for each new project, but almost exclusively within the genres of fairy tales and fairy tale fantasy. Some, are loose adaptations of existing folk tales, others are original stories constructed from the “building blocks” of such tales. He describes the process as “I play with balls that innumerable jugglers have already used for countless centuries. These balls, passed down from hand to hand, are not new. But today I’m the one doing the juggling.
I’m copying a paragraph from his bio ( website ) that i like a lot:
“My inspiration comes from my own life, from things I like and dislike —just like everybody else. One way to embark on a new story is to read some of that universal treasure-trove, traditional fairy tales. Whatever the story, whether inspired by an old legend or invented by me, I give it the form of a fairy-tale. This is the language that comes naturally to me. It enables me to do two things: to create something pleasing, beautiful, while at the same time passing on a clear message, without being hampered and weighed down by the obstacles of realism.”
Working for the Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration, Lange’s images brought the plight of the poor and forgotten—particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers—to public attention.Distributed free to newspapers across the country, Lange’s poignant images became icons of the era.
One of Lange’s most recognized works is Migrant Mother . The woman in the photograph is Florence Owens Thompson. In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:
“I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet.I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions.I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction.I did not ask her name or her history.She told me her age, that she was thirty-two.She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed.She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food.There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me.There was a sort of equality about it. “
Lange took seven photos that day, in the course of ten minutes. The last being the famous Migrant Mother .These are the six other photos:
The images were made using a Graflex camera. The original negatives are 4×5″ film. It is not possible to determine on the basis of the negative numbers (which were assigned later at the Resettlement Administration) the order in which the photographs were taken. Extended captions and supplementary textual files relating to this series in the FSA Written Records have not been found.
After Lange returned home, she told the editor of a San Francisco newspaper about conditions at the camp and provided him with two of her photographs.The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included the images.In response, the government rushed aid to the camp to prevent starvation.
The woman in the famous Migrant Mother after many years, 1979
Florence Thompson (seated) with three of her daughters, (from L. to R.) Katherine, Ruby, and Norma, in 1979—43 years after Migrant Mother