||David R. Godine Pub.
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Addressing a meeting of the British Association in April 1891, the veteran traveler and photographer John L A Thomson gave a ringing declaration of faith in the importance of photography as a recorder of history's onward march. Looking hack on the great figures of history, he bemoaned the lack of accurate images of their features and the world in which they lived. But at last technology had caught up with the great feats of the human spirit, and at tin-high noon of Victorian endeavor photography was on hand to bear witness to the inexorable surge of achievement: 'We are now making history, and the sun picture supplies a means of passing down a record of what we are, and what we have achieved in this nineteenth century of our progress.' The art and science of photography was half a century old when Thomson made these remarks and the industrial nations of the world were climbing towards a peak of maritime and economic expansion. In the minds of men like Thomson, the camera's impartial eye, guided and controlled by the skill and discrimination of the photographer, would serve to document this growth, the industries and triumphs, the men of mark and a civilizing mission to the world at large.