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Faraday and photography

An online exhibition looking at the life and work of Michael Faraday with particular emphasis on his work as a lecturer, his travels in Europe, his correspondence with artists and his interest in photography.

As a chemist, Faraday was interested in the new art of photography and corresponded with scientists on the subject. He was also photographed an extraordinary number of times. The photographs of Faraday held in the Archives include a very early example of a calotype (an early photographic process where the image is produced on paper treated with silver iodide and allowed to develop in sunlight) and a telephotograph.

Calotype photograph of Michael Faraday and wife Sarah c.1840-50

Above, Michael Faraday and wife Sarah, early calotype photograph c.1840-50.

Michael Faraday telephotograph printed from a negative 1925 over a telephone circuit


Michael Faraday, head and shoulders portrait, mounted on card. With inscription reading "Michael Faraday. This telephotograph was printed from the untouched negative received 18 July 1925 at New York City from Chicago over a telephone circuit 931 miles in length. the time required for transmission was 7 ½ minutes. John J Carty. Vice-president, American Telephone and Telegraphic Co. 195 Broadway, New York City.

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