The Pioneering Photographic Work of Hercule Florence: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Pioneering Photographic Work of Hercule Florence

1st Edition

By Boris Kossoy


212 pages | 45 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138204669
pub: 2017-12-15
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This book delivers an in-depth analysis of Hercule Florence, who is virtually unknown despite being among the world’s photographic pioneers. Based on the texts of various manuscripts, letters, diaries, notes, and advertisements, this book answers numerous questions surrounding Florence’s work, including the materials, methods, and techniques he employed and why it took more than a century for his discovery to come to light. Kossoy’s groundbreaking research establishes Florence’s use of "photographie" to describe the product of his experiments, half a decade before Sir John Herschel recommended "photography" to Henry Fox Talbot. This book aims to change the fact that despite its cultural and historical importance, Florence’s photographic breakthrough remains largely unknown in the English-speaking world.

Table of Contents



Part I: The Brazil of Hercule Florence

1. Brazil at the beginning of the 19th century

2. The inventor’s youth

3. His arrival to Brazil

4. The Langsdorff Expedition

5. Vila de São Carlos

6. First researches and discoveries

7. Campinas’ first typography. The periodical O Paulista

8. From the pictorial representation to the Salle Obscure

9. Hercule Florence’s other activities after 1839

Part II: Photography

10. Rediscovering the world

11. Europe in the 18th century

Knowledge in optics: the camera obscura

The contribution of chemistry

12. The multiple inventions of Photography

13. The announcement in Brazil of Daguerre’s discovery

14. References to Florence’s Discovery by various authors

15. References registered by Florence about his discovery

Part III: Replication and Confirmation of Florence’s Discovery

16. Critical examination of the sources: Methodology

17. Written sources

Description of the physical characteristics and content of the diaries

Analysis of the texts related to photography included in the diaries

First notes

The use of the câmera obscura. Sensitizing paper with silver nitrate

"Printing" by means of sunlight

Preparing the matrix or "negative" preparation. Materials and techniques

Sensitizing surfaces. Chemical substances. Materials and techniques

Printing plates

Searching for a fixing agent. Experimentations with urine. The use of ammonia. Other references.

International primacy in the use of the term photographie

18. Iconographic Sources

Physical characteristics and content of the sources. Description and analysis.

19. Other Sources

20. Florence’s statements to the Brazilian press

21. Chemical confirmation of Hercule Florence’s experiments



Hercule Florence’s Notes Related to Photography

Livre d’annotations et de premiers matériaux

2ème livre de premiers matériaux

L’ami des arts livré à lui-même

3ème livre de premiers matériaux

L’inventeur au Brésil – Correspondance et pièces scientifiques


About the Author

Boris Kossoy is Professor in the School of Communication and Arts at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

About the Series

Routledge History of Photography

This new series will publish research monographs and edited collections focusing on the history and theory of photography. These original, scholarly books may take an art historical, visual studies, or material studies approach. Interdisciplinary books are encouraged.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies