By the turn of the twentieth century the studio movement had grown in strength and photography turned into a viable career. Documentary photography became increasingly important and the snapshot camera made photography available to a wide variety of people. The family album became a means of preserving memories and an outlet for creativity and experimentation.
Photographers were intensely curious about the fabric of British life and recorded everything from country gardens to folk rituals. The public continued to demand pictures of circus performers or film stars and the mass-production of postcards circulated images of famous people, historical buildings, landscapes as well as local events.
From 1914 to 1918, photographers, both amateur and professional, documented the First World War at home and abroad. A sense of nationhood was damaged and the camera recorded these immense changes, firmly establishing itself as a witness, memorialist and a social critic. Women also continued to be a major force: making portraits, documentary photography and – as the Suffragette movement gathered pace – propaganda.
Artists and Archives
Brown, Barnes and Bell, Liverpool
Alvin Langdon Coburn
The Draycott Galleries
Sassoon Family Album
Sir (John) Benjamin Stone