I not to great with all this blogging stuff so please bare with me,
The following scans are pages taken from the seminal photography book ‘Mongst mines & miners’ – Underground scenes by Flash-light J.c Burrows dated publication 1893. The book was created on a commercial basis and was designed as a training aid for miners, geologists and engineers attending the Camborne school of mining.
That is great, and the images are amazing without the text but what really brought me into the book and made the book come alive was the witty commentary of Burrows on problems such as; the logistics of production and problems with equipment he and his team faced while making plates. These little facts and knowledge on how the photographer was working for me made the book even more special and pulled me further into each image.
Not once does Burrows moan about his task, he merely explains how hard it is to photograph underground by flash light in the late 19th century. It is easy to forget when looking at work of this period how much had to be invented as it had never been done before. Even large proportions of underground painting was rare due to the lack of lighting source, so majority of what had been produced was reinterpreted once on the surface.
The book not only highlights through photography the working of underground mines in Cornwall of the 19 century but part 1 entitled ‘How the camera was used’ puts into context the pioneering movements Burrow’s was making in the field of photography, ultimately making him one of the worlds pioneers in the photography of this nature.