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Image showing photographers on a Birmingham Photographic Society outing

Records of Birmingham Photographic Society

The first Birmingham Photographic Society was founded in October 1856. Membership was universally available to men and women. Members of the society contributed greatly to the advance in photographic knowledge and techniques and were responsible for many important advances in photographic processes.

Meetings consisted of technical talks, showcases of new methods and advances in photography, critiques on ongoing and new processes, discussions around developing and printing methods and information on events and exhibitions where members could showcase work. It also provided a social and networking opportunity. Sir Benjamin Stone and William Jerome Harrison advocated the formation of a special group to undertake Record and Survey Photography resulting in the formation, in 1889, of the Warwickshire Photographic Survey. Survey photography played an important role within the work of the Society, and laid the foundations for the national Photographic Record Association established by Stone in 1897.

In 1905 the society started producing a regular journal consisting of a list of members, articles on photography, events, exhibitions and outings and general information relating to the society.

In 1986 the BPS merged with Hall Green Photographic Society to form Birmingham and Hall Green Photographic Society.

The Collection consists of photographs from c1850 to 1980 including work by Charles Pumphrey, P.T Deakin, J.C Batkin, M. O. Dell, William Archer Clarke, Harold Baker, Bernard Moore, F. M. Sutcliffe, J. Cruwys Richards, E.A Beirman, Sir Benjamin Stone and Roy Thornton amongst others.

The collection is stored under the reference MS 2507. Material in the collection includes daguerrotypes, collodion positives, albumen prints, stereographs, carbon, gum platinum, bromoil and gelatin silver prints, lantern slides, annual reports, exhibition catalogues, minute books, medals and other ephemera. The department also holds a collection of the Society's Annual Reports, Exhibition Catalogues and Journals.

Enquires to view this material should be made through Archives and Collections.

Image reference

Photographers on a Birmingham Photographic Society outing: MS 2507/4/3/1/1.