Wikipedia entry
Francis Frith (also spelled Frances Frith, 7 October 1822 – 25 February 1898) was an English photographer and businessman. Francis Frith & Co., the company he founded in 1860 with the initial goal of photographing every town and village in England, quickly became the largest photographic publishers in the world and eventually amassed a collection of 330,000 negatives covering over 7,000 population centres across Great Britain and Ireland. Frith was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, attending Quaker schools at Ackworth and Quaker Camp Hill in Birmingham (c. 1828–1838), before he started in the cutlery business. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1843, recuperating over the next two years. In 1850 he started a photographic studio in Liverpool, known as Frith & Hayward. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. Frith sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography. He journeyed to the Middle East on three occasions between 1856 and 1860, taking with him three glass plate cameras, the largest of which measured 16" x 20". He used the collodion process, a major technical achievement in hot and dusty conditions.
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Getty record
Frith opened a studio "Frith & Hayward" in Liverpool in 1850. In 1856, Frith embarked on his first of three commercial expeditions to photograph Egypt, the Nile, Pyramids, the Sphinx of Giza, Karnak, Luxor and Thebes. The second expedition was to Egypt, Syria, and Palestine from 1857 to 1858, and in 1859, Frith embarked upon the third expedition, traveling 1,500 miles up the Nile photographing monuments. In 1859, Frith returned to England and opened "F. Frith and Company" at Reigate in Surrey, where he produced books, portfolios of Germany, Tyrol, Switzerland, Italy, Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal, along with stereoscopic cards. Frith began to photograph Britain and its monuments in 1864. Frith is considered the first mass-producer and distributor of photographic images in England. Frith was associated with the Liverpool Photographic Society and the Architectural Photographic Association.
British, English
Artist, Agency, Publisher, Photographer
Francis Frith
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License


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  • Photography at MoMA: 1840–1920 Hardcover, 376 pages

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