Saturday, July 24, 2010

William de Wiveleslie Abney...technical photographer

William de Wiveleslie Abney
July 24th, 1843 to December 3rd, 1920


Abney was born in Derby, England, the son of Edward Abney (1811-1892) vicar of St Alkmund's Derby. He attended Rossall School, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and joined the Royal Engineers in 1861, with whom he served in India for several years. Thereafter, and to further his knowledge in photography, he became a chemical assistant at the Chatham School of Military Engineering.

Abney was a pioneer of several technical aspects of photography. His father had been an early photographic experimenter and friend of Richard Keene an early Derby photographer. Keene became a close friend of William and his brother Charles Edward Abney (1850-1914). Both Abney sons subsequently became founder members of the Derby Photographic Society in June 1884. His endeavors in the chemistry of photography produced useful photographic products and also developments in astronomy. He wrote many books on photography that were considered standard texts at the time, although he was doubtful that his improvements would have a great impact on the subject.

Abney investigated the blackening of a negative to incidental light. In 1874, Abney developed a dry photographic emulsion, which replaced "wet" emulsions. He used this emulsion in an Egyptian expedition to photograph the transit of Venus across the sun. In 1880, he introduced hydroquinone. Abney also introduced new and useful types of photographic paper, including in 1882 a formula for gelatin silver chloride paper.

Abney conducted early research into the field of spectroscopy, developing a red-sensitive emulsion which was used for the infrared spectra of organic molecules. He was also a pioneer in photographing the infrared solar spectrum (1887), as well as researching sunlight in the medium of the atmosphere.

He became assistant secretary to the Board of Education in 1899 and advisor to that body in 1903.

Abney invented the "Topographic Abney Level", a combined clinometer and spirit level, used by surveyors to measure slopes and angles.

He died in Folkestone, England.

A Treatise On Photography


Colour Measurement and Mixture

ISBN-10: 1151454044
ISBN-13: 978-1151454041

Colour Vision

ISBN-10: 1151346675
ISBN-13: 978-1151346674

Colour Vision, Being the Tyndall Lectures Delivered in 1894 at the Royal Institution

ISBN-10: 115198812X
ISBN-13: 978-1151988126

Evening Talks at the Camera Club on the Action of Light in Photography

ISBN-10: 1152505130
ISBN-13: 978-1152505131

Photography With Emulsions

ISBN-10: 1112506950
ISBN-13: 978-1112506956

Science Lectures at South Kensington

ISBN-10: 1154180905
ISBN-13: 978-1154180909

Textbooks of Science Photography


The Barnet Book of Photography; A Collection of Practical Articles

ISBN-10: 1150980850
ISBN-13: 978-1150980855

Or, some of his [and co-authored] books online...

A Treatise on Photography

Cantor Lectures on Photography and the Spectroscope

Colour Measurement and Mixture

Colour Vision: Being the Tyndall Lectures Delivered in 1894 at the Royal Institution

Evening Talks at the Camera Club on the Action of Light in Photography

Instruction in photography

Photography with Emulsions: A Treatise on the Theory and Practical Working of the Collodion and Gelatine Emulsion Processes

Platinotype: Its Preparation and Manipulation

Researches in Colour Vision and the Trichromatic Theory

Science Lectures at South Kensington

The Art and Practice of Silver Printing

The Chemical Effect of the Spectrum

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