Catchers of the Light Books


"This book is truly a magnum opus, a labour of love, and a great work of scholarship. It is authoritative, detailed, thorough, superbly illustrated, well referenced, and all-encompassing. There is no nook or cranny of the history of astronomical photography or its proponents that has not been investigated, noted, and embellished with a relevant image. It is worth every single cent of its price. It is an essential addition to every astronomy library. Anyone with even a vague interest in the development of astrophysics will need to have this book to hand; it is a vital and reliable starting place for any historical research into the last two centuries of astronomical endeavour." Professor David W. Hughes, 'Observatory' magazine, February 2015. Read Full Review Here:

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Life and work of the early pioneers of photography: Louis Daguerre, Nicephore Niepce, William Henry Fox Talbot, Frederick Scott Archer and Richard Leach Maddox; and the photographic processes and technologies used in Astrophotography.
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I.2 Frederick Scott Archer
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I.2 Frederick Scott Archer
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Frederick Scott Archer (1814-1857) was a great pioneer whose invention of the wet collodion process, published in 1851 revolutionized the Science of Photography; but who nevertheless died largely unrecognized and in virtual poverty. It was his process which brought photography within the reach of the ordinary man, and also enabled astronomers to capture images of the heavens only hinted at by the earlier Daguerreotypes.
This chapter contains a great deal of new and unpublished information on the life and work of this almost forgotten pioneer. For the very first time his true date and place of birth are revealed, along with a copy of his baptismal record. To put the record straight, he was not born in 1813 at Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire as every other biography states.


Document profile:

Number of Pages: 28

Number of Photographs/Illustrations: 24

Number of Snippet Panels: 11

Number of Notes/References: 51




In writing this eBiook I received help, advice, guidance, information and criticism from many people, without whom I could not even have begun to write it.


Firstly, I would like to thank Sean MacKenna for pointing me in the right direction of Hertford, by finding FSA’s Grave and to the members of the ‘Collodion Collective’ and especially Carl Radford, John Brewer and Quinn Jacobson for restoring the Archer family headstone.


Peter Charnock has my eternal gratitude for providing me with a copy of FSA’s baptism record (containing his true date and place of birth) and for much other valuable information on FSA and his ancestors.


Thanks also to Gordon E. Goody for providing me with much valuable information on the fate of FSA’s three daughters.


The staff of the Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies Office, have been a great source of encouragement, despite my many enquiries, and have been unfailing in their help. I would like to acknowledge the great help received from Marcel Safier, in my research on FSA, which has led to what is in effect, despite its small size, the first detailed and accurate account of his like and work.


Also to Professor Larry J. Schaaf for encouraging me to go ahead and write a biography of a this neglected Victorian photographic pioneer and for persuading me that FSA should only stand near to if not next to William Henry Fox Talbot!


Lastly my appreciation goes out to Mark and France Scully Osterman, whose efforts to bring to the world’s attention the great contribution FSA made in 1851 to the advancement of Photography were instrumental in beginning my research on FSA.


The Author would also like to thank: the Hertford Museum, Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies Office, the Royal Astronomical Society of London, Sean MacKenna, the ‘Collodion Collective’ the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the  British Library for the use of the following items: text extracts from original sources, genealogical information, photographs, maps, drawings and illustrations included in this eBook.


I.2 Frederick Scott Archer
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The 'Catchers of the Light' eBooks on the History of Astrophotography can NOW be read on Windows PCs & Androids, Apple Macs and iPads. 

Our Customers can use ANY or ALL of the following THREE different formats to read the 'Catchers of the Light':

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The free unencrypted introduction to the 'Catchers of the Light' - History of Astrophotography can also be read on any PC, Mac iPad or Kindle with pdf reader software installed. When purchasing the complete 'Catchers of the Light', customers will be provided with Access/Download Instructions for ALL of the above THREE versions of the eBook.

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Frederick Scott Archer, the sculptor turned chemist who introduced the wet collodion photographic process in 1851.

Dr. Stefan Hughes began his career as a professional astronomer, gaining a 1st Class Honours degree in Astronomy from the University of Leicester in 1974 and his PhD four years later on the 'Resonance Orbits of Artificial Satellites due to Lunisolar Perturbations', which was published as a series of papers in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. After graduating he became a Research fellow in Astronomy, followed by a spell as a lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Queen Mary College, London. Then came a ten year long career as an IT Consultant. In 'mid life' he spent several years retraining as a Genealogist, Record Agent and Architectural Historian, which he practiced for a number of years before moving to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where for the past ten years he has been imaging the heavens, as well as researching and writing the 'Catchers of the Light' - A History of Astrophotography.

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