The Shroud on the Glacier du Rhône by Klaus Thymann and Simon Norfolk
Every so often I republish here texts which have been earlier seen elsewhere. This is mainly to make some attempt to group my stuff in one place. What follows is an introduction to a moving group of pictures on the death of a glacier in Switzerland. It is a version of the text which appeared online in Granta in April of 2020, republished with thanks to Granta for allowing it.
Victor Albert Prout. Pangbourne, Before 1862. Courtesy Hulton Archive.
A few months ago I had again the pleasure of spending a day at the Hulton archive in West London, the former Hulton Picture Library, long since a part of Getty Images. There I was introduced by Sarah McDonald, the curator of the archive, to a series, unfamiliar to me, of panoramic views of the Thames by Victor Albert Prout, a photographer I’d heard of but only barely. A single picture from the Thames series is reproduced in the first volume of Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s the Photobook: A History[i], for example. I’d seen that and vaguely remembered having done so and it was easy to find again. But I liked the pictures in the Hulton Archive very much and kept them both in mind and on my iPhone. So I was pleased recently when the British Photographic History blog carried a small announcement that Joan Osmond, a direct descendant of Victor Prout, had produced a biographic volume[ii] which would shed more light on the little-known author of this fine series of pictures. Continue reading →