Unfinished Timeline of Documentary Photography

Digital Darkroom

Phillip Delamotte (1822-89)

fine artist who used photography as a tool to document important events.

i.e. the disassembly of the crystal palace in –

CALOTYPE invented (1841, invented by William Henry

Francis Firth- travel photography(1822-1898)

commissioned by London Stereoscope and Photographic Co

Roger Fenton (1819-69)

documented the crimean war

photographed authentic representations of war.

Thomas Agnew (print publisher) sponsored Fenton, British government agreed to release photographs. The public saw the narrative of war between the british and the russians. Dead bodies were rarely seen.


documented the american civil war

employed a team to cover the war, 7000 photographs taken. “The Brady Photographers”.

1865- War ended in america and government werent sure to buy Brady’s collection because the public were sick of the event.

Tim O’ Sullivan (1840-42)

ex-Brady photographer

covered geographical locations as another form of documentary photography. From Nevada to the Rockies, Panama to New Mexico, Sullivan documented mountains and scenic canyons.

William Jackson (1843-1942)

During the 1860s to the early 1870s, people trekked with packhorses around the west. Jackson, who freelanced and documented the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, followed his work and continued on to Wyoming and the Yellowstone region. His influential photographs of the scenic Yellowstone influenced the bill in 1872 in making Yellow the first US National Park


John Barnado- British

used photogrphy in 1870 to capture the lives of London’s underprivilege and homeless. He photographed boys who arrived and left the Barnado homes (orphanage?) The publicity his photographs got raised awareness and funds to pay for food and clothing

john thomson

Street Life, London- book

published by social reformers like Thomson and Adolphe Smith

Produced 36 photographs showing London’s various specimens of the poor.

photographs were unsentimental, detached.


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