Series of Sun Pictures catalogues, with each volume containing exacting reproduc tions of rare photographs, produced to standards suitable for reference.
Since the 1980s, I have authored the series of Sun Pictures catalogues for Hans P. Kraus, Jr., N.Y., a leading dealer in fine photographs. The inspiration for this series came from his father, the late Hans P. Kraus, the pre-eminent rare books dealer in New York who specialized in incunabula and the history of science. The present publications are intended not as sales catalogues, but rather as reference sources that use original research to define a new areas of scholarly study. In this, they follow the best traditions of the long-established symbiotic relationship between rare book dealers and scholars. At the core of each volume are exacting reproductions of rare photographs, produced to standards suitable for reference.
Typical of this series is Talbot & Photogravure (2003). While William Henry Fox Talbot is best known as the inventor of photography, what is less recognised is that he spent a much larger portion of his life on a related invention, the process of translating photographs into permanent printer’s ink. As an emerging scholar and an MP, Talbot sought to make support for publication a matter of public interest. His initial hopes that photography could promote book illustration were frustrated by the relative impermanence of the silver image. Talbot then turned to printer’s ink, achieving success in his 1852 “photographic engraving” and his improved 1856 “photoglyphic engraving.” By the time of his death in 1877, Talbot had come close to perfecting what soon came to be known as the Talbot-Kliĉ photogravure process. While’s Nature image was captured in the camera, the final rendition was made in time-proven printer’s ink. Talbot was absolutely correct in his direction. In the century that followed, photography was a critical influence on the printed page.