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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Charles Albert Long

Dates:  1828 - ?
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Charles Albert Long
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

In the 1851 census the young Mr. Long described himself as a “Student of Natural Philosophy.” Three years later he had established the fast-emerging London partnership of Bland and Long, which, in a February 21, 1856, advertisement, styled itself as a firm of “Opticians, Mathematical, Philosophical, Photographic & Chemical Instrument Makers, & Operative Chemists.” Long took a particular interest in photography, publishing helpful instructions on the calotype process as well as a handbook, Practical Photography on Glass and Paper. He was an active participant in the Photographic Society in London and in 1856 spoke on paper negative processes, publishing his remarks in the society’s journal that December. Long said he did not want to “raise the old war-cry of paper versus collodion, but . . . to state my conviction, that for most subjects of landscape and allied subjects the paper stands pre-eminent.” He continued, “for subjects where texture, gradations of tint and distance are required, there is nothing . . . to compare with a good picture from a calotype or waxed paper negative,” and pointed out that the original calotype process “has had many votaries . . . some of the most beautiful and charming pictures in our last Exhibition were taken from calotype negatives.” Observing that of all the paper processes “there is none other that has yielded such certain results in the hands of the uninitiated, as that of waxed paper,” Long noted that yet “there is no other process which bears on the face of it so much complication.” His directions were simple and practical, taking into account the materials available and the skills that an amateur might possess. Exactly what happened to Long after his 1856 presentation to the Photographic Society is currently a mystery. In 1885 he reappears again as a photographer in London. For the 1891 census he gave his occupation as electrician, apparently continuing to apply his interest in natural philosophy to an emerging scientific field. Long worked as a photographer in London until at least 1894 and later set himself up in Brighton. No obituary has been traced. 
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
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