Street Life in London. With Permanent Photographic Illustrations Taken from Life Expressly for this Publication
Thomson, John, and Adolphe Smith
Price: 17,500.00 USD
London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1877. First edition. Complete with 37 Woodburytype photographs mounted to 36 leaves. , 100 pp. 1 vols. 4to. The first edition of this pioneering use of photography for sociological study. The Scotsman Thomson (1837-1921) spent the decade 1862-1872 traveling in and producing some of the finest early photographic images of the Far East. After resettling in Britain, he joined forces with Adolphe Smith to produce this "important monthly publication ... which pioneered the genre of photojournalism, combining hard-hitting, albeit posed, street photography, with documentary-style prose" (ODNB). It was originally published in monthly parts. A second, much abridged issue (with only 21 photos) appeared three years later, bound from incomplete remainder sheets. Subjects include a convicts' home, "Caney" the Clown, Covent Garden flower women, flying dustmen, London cabmen, London nomades, street doctors, seller of shell-fish, street fruit trade, workers on the "silent highway" etc. First edition. Half blue calf and marbled boards, spine gilt, morocco label. Slight lean, some marginal thumbsoiling, repaired tear above imprint on title page, small blemish to 2 or 3 images but photos generally fine.