Early Photography Projects: Agents and Operations

Names of people documeting the transition between the Olde and New worlds. Sometimes it’s hard for people just waking up to identify images of significance but if you know the source of the images it is helpful to research that particular photographer, usually the same person specializes in the reset and everything in his portfolio is worth looking at, so even if you wouldn’t recognize it at first it will help you pick them out later.

Jessie Tarbox Beals

Human Zoo at the World Fair St Louis 1904, Louisianna Purchase Expo

Matthew Brady

Another thing I have noticed is usually the name on the file wasnt even a real flesh and bone person, they exist on paper just for the purpose of hiding Reset and Repopulation documentation. The most obvious example is Matthew Brady. Brady’s file is the first ‘crisis actor’ file; the file is comprised of headshots of people in costume even titled ‘Actor’ and ‘actress’. Costumes include cowboys, Indians, medieval europe; scenes are generic stock scenes with tens of thousands of entries. Photographed fake Lincoln

Brady has two associates, Timmy O’Sullivan, and Alex Gardner, between the three of them they cover about all of American history; the Civil War, Westward Expansion, Indian Reservations, Abe Lincoln… They also cover individual elements of the infrastructure, out of place artifacts like bridges, tunnels, starforts, dams. Everything from the Old World just goes into a file with Brady, Sullivan or Gardener on the label.

Alex Gardener

Gettysburg Cemetery and Civil War here

Timothy O’Sullivan

Head of Westward Expeditions. link

Felice and Antonio Beato

Felice and Antonio Beato- bio- First photographer in Asia and Egypt, also the step brother of Fenton and he worked in Crimea during the war, shop in Constantinople. Beato images of Indian Revolution in Lucknow. worked in Corfu, the Winged Lion thread.

his photographs of sacred sites and monuments from the Middle East and Mediterranean, which he made during his expedition the following year and which bore the signature “Robertson, Beato & Co.” (where the last word is thought to allude to Antonio). However, the subsequently used signature of “Feli

ce Antonio Beato,” particularly in photographs made in Egypt and East Asia – after Beato began his own practice – has also caused some confusion over the attributions. It was later found that the signature represented the names of both Beato brothers thought to have been involved in their production.

Great wall of china, Japanese Samurai culture

Here is a pdf of his asian stuff but there is a better presentation here

S.V. Albee

S.V. Albee, Pittsburgh railroad ruins of 1877. Albee also photographed the Johnstown Flood in 1889

Bruno Braquehais

Deaf photographer, covered the Paris Commune and toppling of the Column of Vendome. Images didnt surface until 1972 while prepping for the 100 yr centennial celebration. That means they sat on a shelf for a century.

One of the first to do nudes, French Revolution destruction of Paris

Roger Fenton

Roger Fenton covered the Crimean War; this was a wag-the-dog war that was published in the newspapers after the camera was developed.

The Library of Congress purchased 263 of Fenton’s salted paper and albumen prints from his grandniece Frances M. Fenton in 1944, including his most well-known photograph, “Valley of the Shadow of Death.” 

This set of unmounted photographs may be unique in that it appears to reflect an arrangement imposed by Fenton, or the publisher, Thomas Agnew & Sons, and yet is a set of prints that was not issued on the standard mounts sold by the publisher. It is possible that this collection is comprised of a set of prints kept and annotated by Fenton himself.

Images didnt surface til 1944 bc they are not Fentons. His famous Shadow of Death image has been outed as a fake to keep the others in good light.

About the George Grantham Bain Collection

(The pun is Bane, the Bane Collection of fabricated history, jokes on you)

The George Grantham Bain Collection represents the photographic files of one of America’s earliest news picture agencies. The collection richly documents sports events, theater, celebrities, crime, strikes, disasters, political activities including the woman suffrage campaign, conventions and public celebrations. The photographs Bain produced and gathered for distribution through his news service were worldwide in their coverage, but there was a special emphasis on life in New York City. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1900s to the mid-1920s, but scattered images can be found as early as the 1860s and as late as the 1930s.

William H. Rau

It’s called the “New Stone Bridge” bc it is very old.

Propaganda artist for the RR.

He was the official photographer of the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, and of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905. His work is now included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Getty Museum.

In 1874 Rau joined an expedition to Chatham Island in the South Pacific to photograph the Transit of Venus. Rau photographed some of the world’s most remote places while on this expedition.

After returning, Rau joined the Centennial Photographic Company to conduct photographic work for Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition of 1876. After the exposition, he joined his father-in-law’s stereo card studio, which he purchased in 1878. He operated this studio in partnership with his brother, George, until 1880.[3]

In 1881, Rau joined Wilson on an expedition to the Middle East. He photographed numerous sites in Egypt, Palestine, and Damascus, and captured some of the earliest photographs of the ruins of Petra. The expedition spent 45 days in the desert at one point, and Rau recalled being constantly threatened, harassed, and robbed by locals. The expedition ascended Mount Sinai, but was unable to capture any photographs due to poor lighting. So he says but probs he never went.

 In 1885 he set up his own studio in Philadelphia. In 1886, Rau made the first of several trips to Europe, photographing sites in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy. In 1889, he accompanied a tour of Mexico.

Rau became the railroad’s official photographer in 1895. He spent a significant portion of the 1890s doing photographic work for both the Lehigh and the Pennsylvania Railroad, and published collections of his railroad photos in 1892 and 1900. The railroads are the military intelligence embodiment.

Rau gradually fell into obscurity. He died at his home in Philadelphia on November 19, 1920.

Rau’s photographs span a wide range of topics in places around the world. Cities photographed by Rau include New York City, Paris, Moscow, Cairo, Tokyo, Naples, Nablus, St. Pierre, Martinique, Butte, Montana, and his native Philadelphia. Individuals who posed for portraits for Rau include Theodore Roosevelt, Admiral George Dewey, poet Edwin Markham, Apache chief Geronimo, and Sioux chiefs Luke Little Hawk and Lone Elk. Rau’s panoramic subjects include Niagara Falls and Hemlock Lake, and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo in New York and Easton in Pennsylvania.

First gen Meme Maker. He has a few sets like this with captions, this was “Did You Ring, Sir?”
McKinley’s inaugration. Mckinnly was killed at the Temple of Music at the Buffalo World fair
Dewey Arch in Manhattan. Featured in a dedicated article about arches
Fake Boer War in South Africa
Fake Hawaiians. These people look thrilled to be a part. Parial history of hamaii in my South America Post.
Strawbridge and Clothier Department Store on Market Street in Philadelphia. The elk statues are for a Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks convention in town.

images at getty

William H Bell

Medical photographer for the War Dept, captured images of battlefields and amputations. He also is said to have been in the battle of Gettysburg and Antietum.

Bell joined the Wheeler Expedition of the Westward Expansion. Later the survey expedition to Patagonia and Brazil.

With his son-in-law W Rau he worked the Philly Centennial and sold the studio to Rau afterward. Bell’s work was exhibited at the Vienna Universal Exposition and the Louisville Industrial Exposition in 1873, and at the Centennial Exposition in 1876, he traveled to Europe in 1892 to photograph paintings for the Columbia World’s Fair.

Alphonse Liebert

More ruins of Paris, both of the Paris Commune and from the Franco-Prussian War.

He was one of the few photographers to remain in Paris during the Commune; documenting the buildings destroyed during the Bloody Week, and the barricades built by the Communards. In addition, he was the only one to photograph the ruins in the inner suburbs, caused by Prussian bombardments. In 1872, he published these pictures in a double album called Les ruines de Paris et de ses environs. 1870 – 1871. Cent photographies.

In 1873, he became a member of the Société française de photographie. In 1897, together with his son, Georges, he founded “A. Liébert et Cie”, devoted to the manufacture and distribution of silver celluloid photographic paper. Their company declared bankruptcy in 1906.[4] He died in 1913, and was interred at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.

Adolphe Block

Another photographer that hit the destruction of Paris during the Commune.

Thomas Martin Easterly 

(October 3, 1809 – March 12, 1882) was a 19th-century American daguerreotypist and photographer. One of the more prominent and well-known daguerreotypists in the Midwest United States during the 1850s, his studio became one of the first permanent art galleries in Missouri.

After his death, his wife sold most of his personal collection to John Scholton, another noted St. Louis photographer. The Scholton family eventually donated the plates to the Missouri Historical Society where they remained for nearly a century before being rediscovered during the 1980s by art scholars studying pre-American Civil War photography.

Did Merriweather Lewis, from Lewis and Clark and the first instantaneous image of lightning bolt. The Mounds of Moundville Indian fame, Bearded Lady of P.T. Barnum.

This picture caption says “Easterly with unknown male” It looks like the same person to me. except the eyebrows

Emil Boehl

A St. Louis photographer who primarily focused his camera on St. Louis streets, buildings, and locales. Born in Calvoerde, Germany, in 1839, Boehl immigrated to St. Louis in 1854. After serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, Boehl returned to St. Louis in 1864 and opened a photography studio with Lawrence Koenig that spring. With Koenig focusing on portraiture, Boehl became one of the most prolific St. Louis scenic photographers active in the latter half of the 19th Century. The Boehl/Koenig partnership lasted until 1897. Boehl retired from photography in 1919 and died later that year on the 12th of December. The Emil Boehl Collection consists of three series. The collection contains images dating from 1850 to ca. 1906. The collection’s archival materials include photographic prints and negatives. According to historians Peter E. Palmquist and Thomas R. Kailbourn, Boehl’s career was from 1864 to 1919, and he was known to sell prints of Thomas Easterly’s daguerreotypes. In light of those facts, some dates in the Boehl Collection may be labelled incorrectly and/or some images may not be Boehl’s.

Series 1: Large Photographic Prints Series 1 contains photographic prints measuring 11 inches by 14 inches or larger. The majority of the photographs are matte-framed. Some of the images are dated, with the dates ranging from 1850 to 1900.

Series 2: 1904 World’s Fair Series 2 contains photographic prints of the 1904 World’s Fair, more formally known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. All of the images depict architectural content such as the various Palaces (e.g.: Palace of Electricity, Palace of Varied Industry, etc.), U.S. state buildings (e.g.: Missouri and Alaska), foreign nation buildings (e.g.: Brazil, Germany, and Japan), the U.S. Government Building, the Sunken Garden, Grand Basin, and Festival Hall. Two overview shots of the Fair are also included. The prints measure less than 10 inches by 10 inches.

Series 3: St. Louis Streets, Buildings, and Landmarks Series 3 contains photographic prints and film negatives depicting St. Louis streetscapes, buildings, and landmarks. The series starts with street views arranged alphabetically by street (e.g.: Chestnut, Locust), continues with depictions of individual buildings arranged by building name (e.g.: Mercantile Library, Wainwright), and then ends with categorical folders (e.g.: hotel exteriors, residences, rooftop views) arranged alphabetically. The prints measure less than 10 inches by 10 inches. Some photos are dated, ranging from the 1870s to the early 1900s.

Palmquist, Peter E., and Thomas R. Kailbourn. Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: a Biographical Dictionary, 1839-1865. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP

Willy Nicky Jennings

William Nicholson Jennings has first photo of lightning. Easterly has first claim, in 1847, but there is no image, just the cover of the album with the title on it. Jennings was declared official photographer of WW1. Also was on the Titanic manifest but missed the boat. Worked at Wanamakers, the postmaster general and Philly World Fair organizer. Later was a Propaganda artist for the Erie Railroad. First photographer to do aerial and panoramic images of Philly and work with balloons. Johnstown flood. Worked freelance for Harpers Weekly and Frank Leslie.

Repository, bio

Jennings was a son of wealthy Mill owners from the UK that emigrated to U.S. to work for the World Fair/RR company. His lightening shot was recorded on 8/1, Aces and Eights, the shot was in international headlines and was published in Scientific American and Popular Science. The project was on the list of the Association for the Advancement of Science, 1857. Jennings made the shots one year after arc streetlights were installed. Thats the opening we are looking for, he used artifical means to get his lightning shots. He said he was able to get the same bolt on two cameras at the same time. Thats fast reflexes. His schtick was part psychological mindfuck,  his script for one lantern slide presentation set the scene with “the close of a hot sultry day, when you are returning home with limp collar and dropping spirits” and you notice a “bank of dense curdling clouds” with “evidence of great internal strife.” Sounding like an agent of the National Park Service.

Images were part of a broader meteorological project, put together by Weather Makers and ultimately under control of Dept of Agriculture. The meteorological people were also with the North and South Polar expeditions. His images were displayed at the Chicago World Fair in ’93.

Eadweard Muybridge

San Francisco during the later 1800’s. Eddie is the one that got the famous Cliff House. He also got the series of horse gallops that proved all legs are up at the same time. He also got Nob Hill, central to the Great Strike of 1877.

Involved in a media frenzy murder trial of his wifes’ lovers. He was on call in South America. Check for S.A. image files. The murder trial was mock drama, He was acquitted.

Spent most of his later career at the University of Pennsylvania developing motion pictures [Link to bio]


  1. Hi. Good job. It always puzzled me that in the US (and Europe) there were thousands of photographers, hundreds of photo studios, thousands of cameras, including dozens of professionals, but NO ONE took pictures of such San Francisco 1906, nor of the great fire of Chicago, but hundreds or thousands of photos of Civil War dung did the faces of new york criminals (mainly children?!) in hd quality do and it survived?


    1. sorry, I’m translating via google translator. The point is that in cities where there were dozens of photo plants, no one took good photos of events….


      1. nope, nody ever took pics of the events bc the events were so long ago. In many cases all the photographic record contains is sketches provided by hoaxsters at Harpers Weekly or Frank Leslies. the funny part is they have photographs of the sketch artist drawing the action but no photos of the action itself. lol. most of the civil war record is like that, see the article about gettysburg


    2. The point is that in cities where there were dozens of photo plants, no one took good photos of events…. sorry for translate (via google)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is going to be a good thread. The more attn I gave it the more important a research tool I found it to be. Photographers bounce around and cover different things you wouldnt normally come across. Ive noticed this about architects as well and other trades Im betting. The tricky part is organizing everything. Thats been the most challenging part to my project here, Making the information easily available to the Seeker. Thank you for your participation. If youre active in SH share some of my papers and ask them for input, I can make you a mod here if you want to help. I really would like someone to label and file all the images for a pintrist profile. I dont have time but it would make a good resource and bring traffic to the site. Thanks


    3. There was about 10 methods of early photography, some had very hi-def. Society has went backward in photography tech


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