“THE FOREMOST PUBLICATION OF ITS KIND IN THIS COUNTRY”
(PHOTOGRAPHY) WILSON, Edward L., editor. The Philadelphia Photographer. Volume X, January 1873 to December 1873, Nos. 109-120. Philadelphia: Benerman & Wilson, 1873. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter black morocco, raised bands. $1500.
Original 12 monthly issues of the premiere 19th-century photography journal, Numbers 109-120 (January–December, 1873), bound in one volume, with 13 original albumen plates mounted on heavy card stock, numerous in-text illustrations, and articles featuring renowned photographers such as William Bell of the Wheeler Expedition and renowned daguerreotype photographer Albert Sands Southworth.
Reflecting the nation's growing passion for photography, Philadelphia formed a photographic society in 1864, accompanied by its own publication, an "outstanding independent journal… the Philadelphia Photographer, with Edward L. Wilson as editor. Through the efforts of Wilson this journal achieved an outstanding place in the photographic literature of the times. For many years it was the foremost publication of its kind in this country" (Taft, 205). Each issue is highlighted by a fine mounted frontispiece photograph, showcasing the work of accomplished commercial and landscape photographers, including the first publication in this journal of two striking plates printed in the heliotype process invented by Ernest Edwards. In addition, one issue has as its frontispiece an original albumen portrait of Benjamin French, whose company imported Voigtlander lenses, and another of photochemist Herman Vogel, the German scientist who "discovered that by dipping a plate in a colorant, it became sensitive to the color absorbed," a finding that ultimately led to the production of panchromatic film and "was to have important repercussions for the image itself" (Frizot, 234). The journal contains, as well, numerous articles by Vogel, an account from photographer William Bell, reporting from the Wheeler Expedition in Colorado on "Photography in the Grand Gulch of the Colorado River," and numerous talks given by Albert Sands Southworth at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the National Photographic Association. Southworth, one of the finest daguerreotype photographers of his time, also invented a device permitting the exposure of eight card negatives on a single plate, leading to the innovation of the card photograph, such as that represented in the albumen frontispiece for October (No. 118). The journal additionally features items on printing processes, retouching, developments in cameras, lenses and lighting, and includes the extensive September issue (No. 117), which offers comprehensive coverage of the National Photographic Association's annual meeting. With four pages of advertisements at rear of No. 120 (December).
Text and images quite clean and fresh, only lightest scattered spotting without affecting images; slight edge-wear and soiling to covers of a near-fine collection of rare early American photography.