From the work of a pioneering photographer of the present day, to one of the very first female practitioners of photography as a medium. Anna Atkins (1799-1871) trained as a botanist and first became interested in the possibilities of photography as a means of recording plant specimens for scientific reference. In doing so she became one of the very first women photographers of all time. She learned the principles of how to make a light-sensitive images from her correspondence with photography’s inventor William Henry Fox Talbot, and perfected the cyanotype method of photogenic drawing invented by a family friend Sir John Herschel.
We showed a few glorious examples of her work, including the peculiarly modern forms of Achrostium Simplex included here, in 2010 in ‘A Little Bit of Magic Realised ‘ (a title taken from Fox Talbot’s 1839 description of his own newly invented medium) an exhibition which paired works by Atkins and Fox Talbot with two present day ‘camera-less’ photographers Susan Derges and Garry Fabian Miller.