Francis Frith

Dates1822 - 1898
RolesArtist, Maker, Photographer, Printer
BornChesterfield, Derbyshire, England
DiedReigate, England

Before turning his attention to photography around 1850, Francis Frith was apprenticed to a cutlery firm and worked as a wholesale grocer. With a partner he opened the Frith & Hayward photography studio in Liverpool. In 1856 Frith made an extended trip to Egypt, traveling up the Nile from Cairo to Abu Simbel. He photographed along the entire way, using three different cameras: a stereoscopic one and large format cameras using negatives of 8 by 10 and 16 by 20 inches. Negretti & Zambra, one of the major photographic publishers in Great Britain, published a hundred of Frith's stereo views the following year, and the firm of Thomas Agnew and Sons offered the larger prints.

The success of these images financed Frith's next trip to Palestine, Syria, and Egypt in late 1857. He published these he between 1858 and 1860. In the summer of 1859, Frith returned to Egypt, traveling up the Nile to the Fifth Cataract-farther than any earlier photographer had gone. He returned to Britain and opened his own firm in Reigate, Surrey, near London, to publish his images, as well as the work of other photographers. Frith and Company operated until 1971.