You are here: Home > Photo Essay Selection > Introduction
< Select Another Essay Introduction Next Screen >

In the footsteps of Henry Taunt

Reproduced by permission of Oxfordshire County CouncilOne of Henry Taunt's greatest interests and most prolific photographic subjects, was the River Thames. Apart from selling individual views from his studio in Broad Street, Oxford, he also offered a range of albums of pictures. He also produced the first photographically illustrated pocket guide to the River Thames. Early editions in the 1860s covered only the upper part of the river, but by 1875, the fifth edition had covered from Thames Head spring to the Houses of Parliament in London.

Technologically, this was a very complex task. Henry Taunt would row his skiff complete with a light tight tent, to each location since the wet collodian process required plates to be prepared, exposed and processed while the emulsion was still damp. Each small picture would have to be printed (remember this was before electricity was in use!) and pasted into position in the guide book.

To mark the millennium, two digital photographers, Jeff Robins and Graham Diprose decided to follow in Taunt's footsteps and visit each of the 96 'tripod spots' featured in the 1875 'Illustrated Map of the Thames' (5th edition). They also used the latest technology available and were using the very latest Lightphase digital camera back on a Hasselblad camera, with a pioneering portable system running into a Sony Vaio laptop. Probably the highest resolution series of digital landscape images taken in the last millennium! The pairs of images produce a remarkable insight into the vision of Henry Taunt and the River Thames 125 years later.

Story author: Graham Diprose

Next Screen
< Select Another Essay   Next Screen >