Friday, August 26, 2016

The Invention of Photography

Having just returned from a business trip, and two 10 hour international flights, I thought I would let readers of this blog into a little secret, get the podcasts from 'In Our Time', to make long haul business travel tolerable.

Wiki will tell you that In Our Time (IOT) is a live BBC radio discussion series exploring the history of ideas, presented by Melvyn Bragg (The Lord Bragg, of Wigton in the County of Cumbria) since 15 October 1998. It is one of BBC Radio 4's most successful discussion programmes, acknowledged to have "transformed the landscape for serious ideas at peak listening time".

As of 7 July 2016, 727 episodes have been aired and the series attracts a weekly audience exceeding two million listeners: me being one of them!

In the latest episode Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of photography in the 1830s, when techniques for 'drawing with light' evolved to the stage where, in 1839, both Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot made claims for its invention. These followed the development of the camera obscura, and experiments by such as Thomas Wedgwood and Nicéphore Niépce, and led to rapid changes in the 1840s as more people captured images with the daguerreotype and calotype. These new techniques changed the aesthetics of the age and, before long, inspired claims that painting was now dead.

Those joining Melvyn Bragg in this episode were:
  • Simon Schaffer: Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge 
  • Elizabeth Edwards: Emeritus Professor of Photographic History at De Montfort University 
  • Alison Morrison-Low: Research Associate at National Museums Scotland
If you don't know about IOT, you may be interested in scanning the archive of podcasts.

Personally I think IOT is one of, if not, the best podcasts that the BBC offer.

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