Taking a little side step from the theme of my last post.
The first half of the slideshow shows the layout of the book, while the second half shows enlarged images of the original plates.
I recently found in the archive avery rare and original print of the book ‘Mongst mines and Miners – Underground scenes by flash-light. The book is the creation of J.C. Burrow, printed in 1893. It is possibly the earliest photo book of its kind documenting the working of Miners, other small works had been produced by this time, series of plates in varying types of mines with limited success due to the nature of the environment and technology available, but mine owners had realised photography was the ideal tool to help deliver commercial expansion . Burrows had documented other mines and mining appliances previously but the sole purpose for this new work was to provide illustrated guides to methods of working underground. These were for educational use at the Camborne Mining school.
The idea was suggested to Burrow by Mr.W. Thomas, the secretary of the Mining Association and Institute of Cornwall as a way for Burrow to expand his knowledge of the subject. In the preface Burrow thanks Thomas for his never ending support and for his text to explain in detail the views made by Burrows, but it is the final paragraph of the preface that is so honest, to the point and a frame of mind I think most photographers I know have been in.
…The many difficulties experienced in carrying out the work will be sufficient apology for the incompleteness of the series, or the lack of systematic arrangement in the order of the views. It is a rather disheartening experience to find the results of a whole days work with an energetic band of helpers are not ‘printable’, but such experience was mine on more than one occasion. The work, however is so full of interest, and its performance so productive of welcome enlightenment on many critical points, that I have no intention of allowing it to remain where it is. I hope that at no distant date, the present attempt may be followed by another and more successful one.
Camborne, November, 1893.
Out of over 100 plates made were but only 24 considered printable by Burrows. (Hopefully I can find some copies of the out takes). The honesty and witt that continues in Part 1 of the book ‘How the camera was used’. Burrow explains his use of photographic equipment and materials, the drafting of locals to act as assistants in production and the comical problems encountered while trying to make photographs using flash underground in 1893.
But you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow for that.