The ‘Catchers’ series of stories like Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales are about the lives of ordinary people told against a common ‘backdrop’, his was a Pilgrimage and here it is Astrophotography; but both were of adventure, adversity and triumph - only the ‘Catchers Tales’ are true and based entirely on fact.
The ‘Catchers Tales’, each feature a single story taken and expanded upon from the book the ‘Catchers of the Light’. This book tells of the men and women who first photographed the heavens. Their lives are ones full of adventure, adversity and triumph - which would test the abilities of even the best author or screenwriter to recreate as a work of fiction. Sadly their names are largely unknown and all but forgotten - confined now to the closed pages of history. Through the ‘Catchers Tales’ you are about to read, they come alive once again.
To date three 'Catchers Tales' are available:
'The Collodion Chemist of Hertford' - Frederick Scott Archer
The tale of Frederick Scott Archer the ‘Collodion Man from Hertford’ is one of injustice, hardship, poverty, an early death and the ultimate insult of total obscurity. His only crime was to give freely to the world an invention which dominated Photography for over three decades; which made others vast fortunes, saved his Government millions of pounds, enabled astronomers to capture stars the eye could not see, and brought his ‘Art’ within the reach of the ordinary man. Today his name is known to none except a few aficionados of Photography. Even historians did him no favours - not even being able to get right - when and where he was born; or bothering finding out who his parents were; and failing miserably to accurately document his life and work. The year 2014 marks the real two hundredth anniversary of his birth - let him be remembered once more as one of the truly great Pioneers of Photography.
'God's Astronomer' - Pietro Angelo Secchi - Jesuit Priest
The tale of ’God’s Astronomer’ - Father Pietro Angelo Secchi is the story of a young boy born to humble parents who like today’s Pope Francis I grew up to become a Jesuit priest. Throughout his life he had to struggle with his conscience and his faith. As an astronomer and Director of the Observatory of the Collegio Romano, he clearly saw an imperfect ‘Kingdom’ of Heaven’ with dark lines emanating from the stars and spots on the sun; but all too aware that similar radical ideas had brought other scientists into conflict with the church he loved with disastrous consequences. Would he suffer the same fate as Galileo did over two centuries before - forced to recant his beliefs to the world and to God.
'The Leviathan Lord of Birr Castle' - William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse
The tale of William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse of Birr Castle, Ireland is that of a real ‘Downton Abbey’. Born into an ancient line and charged with the preservation of his family’s wealth and lands he married a rich English heiress at first for her money, but which eventually turned to love. Out of the great sadness borne from the loss of nine of their thirteen children, in infancy, the couple cared for all who depended upon them. During the Irish Potato famine of the 1840s, the couple did all they could to prevent starvation amongst their tenant workers; and yet, William Parsons found the time to build a Great Telescope known as the ‘Leviathan of Parsonstown’, which he used ‘to afford us some insight into the construction of the material universe’.
First Biography Ever Published on the Pioneer Photographer, Frederick Scott Archer, inventor of the Wet Collodion Process.
iBook edition of the Collodion Chemist from Hertford, available from Apple iTunes Store.
First Published Biography of the Jesuit Priest and Astronomer, Pietro Angelo Secchi.
iBook edition of God's Astronomer & Jesuit Priest, available from Apple iTunes Store.
First Published Biography of the great telescope builder, William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse and his wife, the photographer, Mary Field of Heaton Hall, Yorkshire.
iBook edition of the Leviathan Lord of Birr Castle, available from Apple iTunes Store.