In 1998, the discovery in a private archive of a long-abandoned group of folios of large-scale nineteenth century photographs led to the recognition of a new name in the pantheon of British pioneers of the art of photography in the formative years of the 1850s. The name was that of William, 2nd Earl of Craven. Previously unknown to photographic historians, Craven's work was unique, covering an extraordinary range of experimentation in the developing techniques of the art, and in his treatment of mood and subject matter, which revealed a profound knowledge of and relationship with the traditions of painting. Through a member of the newly formed Photographic Society, Craven rarely exhibited, preferring to develop his ideas in the privacy of his estate, Ashdown Park, some forty miles west of London. The selection of masterworks, published in book form here for the first time, is set in a narrative of Craven's life and times.
After art school and school of photography, serendipity led Noel Chanan into a thirty-five year career as a documentary film-maker, commencing with four years at the BBC, then, from 1966, as a freelance director and editor. Over the years his output included a number of films on the history of photography in Granada Television's Camera series, and film biographies of contemporary photographers including Bert Hardy, George Rodger, and David Goldblatt, as well as occasional writings on photography. Since the late 1990's Chanan has returned full time to photography, as a consultant, writer and photographer.