Karnak - Temple of Amon 1857

Francis Frith (also spelled Frances Frith) (October 31, 1822 – February 25, 1898) was an English photographer of the Middle East and many towns in the United Kingdom. Frith was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, attending the Quaker schools at Ackworth and Quaker Camp Hill in Birmingham (ca. 1828–1838), before he started in the cutlery business. Leaving in 1850 to start a photographic studio known as Frith & Hayward in Liverpool. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. Frith sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography. He journeyed to the Middle East on three occasions, the first of which was a trip to Egypt in 1856 with very large cameras (16″ x 20″). He used the collodion process, a major technical achievement in hot and dusty conditions. When he had finished his travels in the Middle East in 1859, he opened the firm of Francis Frith & Co. in Reigate, Surrey, as the world’s first specialist photographic publisher. In 1860, he married Mary Ann Rosling (sister of Alfred Rosling, the first treasurer of the Photographic Society) and embarked upon a colossal project—to photograph every town and village in the United Kingdom; in particular, notable historical or interesting sights. Initially he took the photographs himself, but as success came, he hired people to help him and set about establishing his postcard company, a firm that became one of the largest photographic studios in the world. Within a few years, over two thousand shops throughout the United Kingdom were selling his postcards.

Object Details

Karnak – Temple of Amon 1857

Francis Frith

1857

Photographs

Luxor

Albumen print

20.8 x 15.8 cm

The New York Public Library

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