|Dates: ||1818 - 1863|
A chemist and dealer in photographic supplies, Berry was one of the founding members of the Liverpool Photographic Society and would become its secretary. So enthusiastic and dedicated was he that in 1855 the chairman observed that it “had already been called, ‘a Berry Society.’” As a professional photographer and photographic dealer with a specialist laboratory, Berry was admired by his longtime friend Charles Corey for being “in possession of attainments in chemical science of no ordinary character.” Shortly after he had defended the collodion process before the society, Berry was captivated by the simplifications and reliability that Frederick Townshend had brought to the waxed-paper process, writing in 1854, “Such is the certainty of the process that no one ought to have a single failure.” Although none of his photographs are known to have survived, photographers today still owe Berry a special debt, as he was the direct inspiration for one of the longest-running and most influential photographic journals. Frustrated that the Liverpool Photographic Society was rarely noticed in the journal of London’s Photographic Society, Berry, as quoted by Corey, insisted: “We would have a Gazette of our own.” The Liverpool Photographic Journal, established in 1854, quickly grew in influence and in 1860 became the British Journal of Photography. Corey, also an early member of the Liverpool Photographic Society, recalled that Berry “passed his time in painstaking search after truth in the arcana of our art; and his leisure, when he could command any, was fully taken up in visiting and comforting the poor.”
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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