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Category: Photography, United Kingdom

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John Thomson’s Illustrations of China and Its People, 1873-1874 John Thomson (1837-1921), a pioneering Scottish geographer and traveler, was the first known photographer to document the people and landscape of China for publication and dissemination to the Western world. Between 1868 and 1872, he traveled over 6,500 kilometers with his cumbersome camera and equipment, darkroom and chemicals capturing all aspects of Chinese life. The photographs in these four volumes show the many sides of China: sweeping landscapes, royalty and ruling classes, merchants and economic activity, everyday life, and the faces of men, women, and children. Thomson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of a tobacco spinner and seller.

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922 reads

Florida Photograph Album Collection Florida's lush scenery and tropical environment provided much visual interest for travelers and settlers at the turn of the twentieth century. The Florida Photograph Album Collection contains photographs of scenic Florida from St. Augustine to Key West, dated primarily from the late 1800s to the 1920s. Some photographs feature Caribbean locations, from the personal collection of individuals and families, including Mark F. Boyd, Florence M. Fran?ois, and Samuel J. and Louis J. Butram.

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732 reads

This collection is part of the Glasgow Digital Library and is maintained by the Centre for Digital Library Research at the University of Strathclyde . The resource was developed as part of the Resources for Learning project funded by the New Opportunities Fund digitisation programme. Further resources and 70,000 objects can be found on the RLS site .

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1,599 read

Edinburgh-born John Thomson (1837-1921) was one of the great names of early photography. His photographic legacy is one of astonishing quality and depth.

Thomson's images of China and South-East Asia brought the land, culture, and people of the Far East alive for the 'armchair travellers' of Victorian Britain.

He was one of the pioneers of photojournalism, using his camera to record life on London's streets in the 1870s. As a society photographer he also captured the rich and famous in the years before the First World War.

These pages present a brief introduction to Thomson's work, with examples drawn from the National Library of Scotland's collections.

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859 reads

The Kirk Papers is a collection of photographs and papers belonging to East Africa pioneer Sir John Kirk. It was acquired for the National Library of Scotland in 1998/1999 with the help of a grant of £55,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Though not as well-known as his friend and fellow-explorer David Livingstone, Kirk was a trail-blazer of empire in East Africa and a man of eminence in his day. Born in Barry, Angus, in 1832, Kirk qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University and then volunteered for medical service in the Crimea. An accomplished botanist, zoologist and diplomat, he was also a talented photographer. This is evident from the collection of over 250 photographs, many of them stunning.

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887 reads

These two albums of the Edinburgh Calotype Club, the first photographic club in the world, are among the earliest photograph albums in the world ever assembled. They contain over 300 images by a group of pioneering Scottish photographers working in Edinburgh and St. Andrews.

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999 reads