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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Robert Mather Sawyer

Dates:  1828 - 1889
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for John Robert Mather Sawyer
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

The Norwich Photographic Society, founded in 1854, was one of the first and among the most active of the early associations of photographers. It attracted early photographers like Sawyer, a surgical instrument maker. Starting his photographic work in 1853, Sawyer became one of the few carte-de-visite photographers to actively seek quality rather than low cost. In the society’s 1856 exhibition, Sawyer displayed collodion portraits and three waxed-paper architectural views. By 1869, Sawyer, who was concerned by the lack of permanence in photography, had taken up collotype. In 1871 he moved to London and joined the Photographic Society, publishing frequently in its Transactions. Sawyer’s contemporaries remembered him not so much for his original research as for being an “earnest and indefatigable worker” who delighted in adapting photographic science to practical use. In recognition of his dedication, he was named the director of the Autotype Company, the premier publisher of photographs in permanent ink. 
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. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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