Which Was the First Book Ever Published With Photographs?

Which Was the First Book Ever Published With Photographs?

Which Was the First Book Ever Published With Photographs?

by November 22, 2012 0 comments

Go back a few centuries and you’ll find books that were plain text right from the cover page to the end. So, all that books had were strings of alphabets making up words. Of course avid readers didn’t have any problems with that. But, text wasn’t all that readers were hoping for. To make things more interesting, in 1844 the first photographically illustrated book was released called ‘The Pencil of Nature’.

First Book with photographsWritten by Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature was published in 6 installments. It precisely detailed the Calotype (an early photographic process) and included 24 calotype prints. Unbelievably, every print was pasted by hand rightly illustrating applications of the calotype technology. The concept of photography then was a new one and not too many were familiar with it. Therefore, Talbot felt the need to clearly state that all the images in the book were the result of light alone and were in no ways aided by an artist’s pencil.

The Pencil of Nature includes photos of architectural monuments, still-life, close-ups and facsimiles of text and sketches. Every print was accompanied by a brief description of the scene and the type of photographic process that was actually used to capture the image.

As the concept being a new one, Talbot, in his book, had to largely stress upon photography aspects that seem to be very obvious today, for instance, ‘obtaining a photo of a single figure takes longer compared to capturing groups of figures.

Though Talbot did succeed in rightly illustrating the calotype technology in brief, it wasn’t complete. However, he did express in his book the intention to complete the process in future, but unfortunately he could not do so.

Talbot was definitely not the best author around, but he surely did manage to change the way books were printed. Thanks to his immense contribution in the world of photography. The books that were once stuffed with plain text were later being printed with images supplementing the text, thereby making them more interesting for the readers. Of course the images then were black and white. However, you now have books filled with colourful lively images right from the front cover to the back. You wouldn’t have got that, had Talbot not been out with his amazing work ‘The Pencil of Nature’.


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