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HomeContents > People > Photographers > James How

Dates:  1821 - 1872
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for James How
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

How was known to generations of photographers as the manager of George Knight & Sons, an important London supplier of cameras and photographic materials. On his death he was remembered by the Photographic News “for his connection with photography as an early calotypist” and by the British Journal of Photography for his “method of producing negatives by the waxed-paper process — a process which he simplified to a very great extent, and by which he produced many fine photographs.” How had originally presented his techniques before the Chemical Discussion Society in London, but his influence spread much further when his papers were printed in Notes and Queries in 1853 and in the Chemist in 1854. In the first, he suggested the use of a hot iron to get the wax to penetrate the paper fibers. In the second, How revealed his method of immersing, rather than floating the paper on the sensitizing solution. How is not known to have participated in the major exhibitions, but he was an active participant in the South London Photographic Society and undoubtedly showed his work informally. How died unexpectedly from a fast-growing tumor. 
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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