Francis Frith

(1822—1898) photographer and businessman

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(1822–98), English photographer who made his photographic reputation with images from his journeys to Egypt and Palestine between 1856 and 1860. Prior to this, however, he was a successful businessman who, becoming increasingly attracted to photography, helped to found the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. By 1855 he had sold his grocery and printing businesses in order to devote his time to photography. On returning to Britain, he married and moved to Brightlands in Reigate. From this base he embarked on his most ambitious photographic project, the documentary coverage of Britain, which would be his lasting legacy. The photographic company he established in 1859, Francis Frith & Co., sold British views for illustration and as stereographs published by Negretti & Zambra; it continued as a family business until 1960. The firm was one of the first suppliers of mass-market photography in Britain. In his later years, Frith distanced himself somewhat from the day-to-day running of the company, devoting much of his time to publishing books and essays on his Quaker faith and evangelical Christianity.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.

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