Capturing the Light

The Birth of Photography, a True Story of Genius and Rivalry

By Roger Watson; Helen Rappaport
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250009708, 306pp.)

Publication Date: November 26, 2013

List Price: $27.99*
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Description

An intimate look at the journeys of two men—a gentleman scientist and a visionary artist—as they struggled to capture the world around them, and in the process invented modern photography

During the 1830s, in an atmosphere of  intense scientific enquiry fostered by the industrial revolution, two quite different men—one in France, one in England—developed  their own dramatically different photographic processes in total ignorance of each other's work. These two lone geniuses—Henry Fox Talbot in the seclusion of his English country estate at Lacock Abbey and Louis Daguerre in the heart of post-revolutionary Paris—through diligence, disappointment and sheer hard work overcame extraordinary odds to achieve the one thing man had for centuries been trying to do—to solve the ancient puzzle of how to capture the light and in so doing make nature 'paint its own portrait'.  With the creation of their two radically different processes—the Daguerreotype and the Talbotype—these two giants of early photography  changed the world and how we see it.

Drawing on a wide range of original, contemporary sources and featuring plates in colour, sepia and black and white, many of them rare or previously unseen, Capturing the Light by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport charts an extraordinary  tale of genius, rivalry and human resourcefulness in the quest to produce the world's first photograph.




About the Author
ROGER WATSON is a world authority on the early history of photography. He is the co-author of "Capturing the Light" and is currently the Curator of the Fox Talbot Museum at Lacock Abbey and an occasional lecturer at DeMontfort University in Leicester.

Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women's history. Her books include "A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy" and "The Last Days of the Romanovs". She lives in Oxford.
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