Our Art / Francis Frith

Francis Frith

Francis Frith

A successful grocer and working in the cutlery business, Frith (1822–1898) discovered his talent and passion for photography later in life, selling his businesses to devote himself entirely to photography. Frith became known for his photographs of the Middle East and many towns in the United Kingdom.

During his travels he noted that tourists were the main collectors of his photographs of Italy, but armchair travellers bought scenes from other parts of the world, "far beyond anything that is in the power of the most accomplished artist to transfer to his canvas." These words express the ambitious goal that Frith set for himself when he departed on his trips to the Middle East. He kept a journal elaborating on the difficulties of photographing while traveling in the hot and dusty conditions of the Middle East. The photographer had to haul at least 300 pounds of equipment, with his chemicals boiling up over the glass in a small, dark tent keeping out the desert dust to capture his relatively pristine images.