In Field and Fen, Kodak No. 1 and Spirit Photographs

Yet more photographic treasures spill forth for you today, this time from the coffers of the National Media Museum, the first British institution to join The Commons on Flickr.

Despite my own British heritage, I’d never heard of a “fen” before seeing the lovely photogravures in ‘Pictures From Life in Field and Fen‘, a portfolio from Peter Henry Emerson. Published in 1887, the museum has also published the pages of the book itself in an additional set.

'The Poacher' 'A Winter's Morning'

stringset_1 In 1888, George Eastman introduced the world’s first “point and shoot” camera, the Kodak No. 1. Loaded with a roll of film enough for one hundred photographs, the photographer would turn a key on the camera to wind the film on. Once the roll was finished, the whole camera would be returned to Kodak for processing. (See camerapedia entry.) This collection contains snapshots taken with a Kodak No. 1—and without a viewfinder— circa 1890.

Woman in a rowing boat

And last, but certainly not least is a small set of unbelievably curious Spirit Photographs taken around 1920, by a British medium named William Hope, “unearthed in a Lancashire second-hand and antiquarian bookshop by one of the Museum’s curators.”

Three people with two spiritsMan surrounded by signs of spirit presenceCouple with a young female spirit

In other Commons news, an industrious chap called Paul Hagon has built a great “Then and Now” mashup using geotagged Commons photos from the Powerhouse Museum and Google’s street view so you can see what Sydney used to look like. Here’s a link to Paul’s proof of concept – just click on a picture on the left side to see what it looks like today!