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Go See: Photographer Magnus Jackson (1831-1891) – the beauty of the collodion negative

Slaughter House, Perth © Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council

A few decades ago wet-plate collodion might have been considered an obsolete Victorian process. With the increased prevalence of digital photography has come a resurgence of interest in film and early wet-process methods of image capture including collodion – and this new exhibition by Perth Museum & Art Gallery in Scotland 11th November 2017 – 3rd March 2018 is a must see for anyone interested in the photo process. …with a special evening of talks on the 17th – detailed below.
An innovative exhibition displaying images by local Victorian photographer Magnus Jackson in negative form to celebrate the negative to positive photographic process that was the basis of photography for about 160 years. The exhibition will feature a projected silhouette of Magnus talking in his own words about the challenges of wet plate collodion photography. Alongside Magnus’s work there will be a chance to see work by contemporary collodionists including Alex Boyd, widely regarded as one of the rising stars of contemporary Scottish photography.

Lily at Freeland Estate ©Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council

From slaughterhouse to mansion house Jackson has left Perth with an extraordinary legacy of Victorian life captured through his camera lens onto a thin film of collodion on glass.
Jackson travelled to London in the early 1850s and took lessons in wet-plate collodion photography. After three years he returned to Perth and set up his own business as a photographer working from a wooden studio in Marshall Place. By 1884 business had greatly increased and he was able to commission the building of handsome new premises at 62 Princes Street. When his health began to fail about three years prior to his death, his sons, Thomas and Magnus junior ran their father’s business. They traded as T & M Jackson from 1891.  By 1893 only Magnus junior was working and he continued until about 1898, when the Jackson family photography business in Perth finally folded. In his lifetime Jackson was very well known all over the country as a first-rate landscape photographer. In 1884, he was awarded a medal at the International Forestry Exhibition, Edinburgh, for photographs of trees.
Jackson played a very active role in public affairs, and in 1878 he was elected to the Town Council. His wide-ranging interests and authority are reflected in the broad scope of this remarkable body of work.


Above: Laura Dowie, Project Officer- Collections Review preparing a negative for the show © Paul Adair/Perth Museum & Art Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council

•Paul Adair Collections Officer Culture Perth and Kinross who sent PAN the exhibition news tells us – ‘There is a reception and private view to celebrate the opening of the exhibition at the Gallery Friday 17 November 19.00 – 21.00 – open to PAN readers but you must RSVP as numbers will be limited’.  –

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