#LibraryofCongress; #LOC; #photographicallyillustratedbooks
Washington/Ottawa, May 16 (Canadian-Media): Library of Congress (LOC) provides a well represented collection of an entrée into the development of photographically illustrated books, media reports said.
LOC, reportedly the largest libary in the world, is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington with universal collections not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."
Photographically illustrated books feature actual photographic prints to make more vivid a textual narrative or to tell an entire story.
Before photomechanical processes were invented in the nineteenth century, the only options available to bring qualities of a photo to the illustrations were either by inserting photographs into a book individually or photographs were being developed directly on the pages.
McClees’s Gallery of Photographic Portraits of the Senators, Representatives & Delegates (Washington, D.C.: McClees & Beck, 1859)/Courtesy of Library of Congress
Sam Houston, Texas. Photo by Julian Vannerson, 1859. In McClees’ Gallery of Photographic Portraits of the Senators, Representatives & Delegates/ Courtesy of Library of Congress
It was both labor-intensive to produce and bind multiple copies of the text and illustrations and the real challenge were the photographs as explained by the English photographer Francis Frith explained in his book, Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine (ca. 1862).
“My readers are, perhaps, not aware that the original pictures,” such as that showing tombs in Egypt, “were taken on glass,” said Frith. “[Developed] in a smothering little tent” and “pushing my way backwards, upon my hands and knees, into a damp, slimy rock-tomb… it is truly marvelous that the [photographs] should be presentable at all.”
Francis Frith in Turkish summer costume. Photo illustration in: Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine. London : William MacKenzie, Paternoster Row, [1862?], Supplementary volume, title page/ Courtesy of Library of Congress
Tombs in the southern cemetery, Cairo. Photo by Francis Frith. Photo illustration in Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine, 1857, Supplementary volume/ Courtesy of Library of Congress
Because of these obstacles, photographically illustrated books were more expensive, and some are now exceedingly rare.
A wide variety of topics, picturing everything from ancient ruins to expositions, landscapes, the United States Congress and the American Civil War were explored in these photographically illustrated books.
View of eastern nave. Photo by Claude-Marie Ferrier or Hugh Owen in Reports by the Juries on the Subjects in the Thirty Classes into which the Exhibition was Divided. London: Spicer Brothers, 1852, v. 3, frontispiece. /Courtesy of Library of Congress
In the twentieth century, however, the medium of photobook, utilizing new, economical, photomechanical printing processes evolved.
Photobooks, now are very popular and coffee tables throughout the world are adorned by these, thanks in part to the creativity of publishers and photographers like Frith.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)