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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Peter MacOwen

Dates:  1831 - ?
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Peter MacOwen
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

In the first of two communications published in Photographic Notes in 1860, MacOwen (misspelled MacOwan) noted that “the peculiar sin of photographers is, working in a blind rule-of-thumb style, without any attempt at logical sequence in their doings.” He proposed a “Paper Magazine,” for which he was willing to serve as secretary, “in which each correspondent may tell his quarterly tale of success or failure.” This would result in “reflection and consecutive experiment substituted for isolated trials.” MacOwen wrote from the laboratory of Huddersfield College, but his actual photographic experience may have been limited; encouraged by the editor, in his second communication he confessed that “photography being to me a sort of romance of chemistry, a relief from the daily routine of demonstration and analysis, I am less of a picture producer than of an experimentalist.” The clearly talented MacOwen was soon named professor of chemistry and physics at London University. 
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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