Tag Archives: photography

Lisel Haas

BA&H: MS 2202 ©Lisel Haas

The photographer Lisel Haas (1898-1989) was a Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany. She initially applied to the USA for asylum but was turned down and came to Birmingham in 1938. She stayed until 1962.

BA&H: MS 2202 ©Lisel Haas

In Germany, Haas seems to have specialised in photo-documentary images. The collection of her work in Birmingham Archives & Heritage focuses on a range of themes, particularly urban childhood.

After she came to Birmingham she set up a photographic studio in Moseley, where she began to focus more on studio portraiture.

Appointments to view material held by Birmingham Archives & Heritage can be made via email at: archives.appointments@birmingham.gov.uk or by telephone on 0121 303 2468.

Nick Hedges

This week’s post is written by Alison Hall, PhD student at the University of Birmingham, who is currently researching a series of photographs taken by Nick Hedges for the charity SHELTER .

BA&H: MS 2399, 'Two Girls', Notting Hill, London, 1971 ©Nick Hedges

These photographs were taken between 1969 and 1971 by Nick Hedges (MS 2399). They were commissioned by the housing charity SHELTER and were used in their reports and advertising campaigns. In his role as the charity’s in-house photographer, Hedges attempted to record the terrible housing conditions that existed across the UK in the late 1960s. Many of his photographs were taken in cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, Glasgow and London. SHELTER succeeded in redefining homelessness to include people living in inadequate housing: homelessness was no longer limited to those living on the streets. The photographs reveal the hidden domestic lives of children and their families and were instrumental in changing people’s perception and understanding of homelessness.

Hedges tried to show the positive, as well as the negative, side of homelessness. In the photo above, the girls have been photographed in their one room flat. They are smiling and the room is homely and inviting. However, it is clearly overcrowded (it is possible to see the bed behind the girl on the left).

Appointments to view material held by Birmingham Archives & Heritage can be made via email at: archives.appointments@birmingham.gov.uk or by telephone on 0121 303 2468.

Emma Barton

Emma Barton (1872-1938) was born in Birmingham in 1872. Her parents lived in back-to-back housing in Aston before moving to Camp Hill in 1877. Emma’s father died in 1885; her mother re-married in 1890 to Edgar Birchley, who brought Emma into contact with photography – he had been brought up in a photographic studio run by his parents in Deritend, Birmingham.

BA&H: MS 2396

Birmingham Archives & Heritage owns a selection of Barton’s photographs, which she began taking in the mid-1890s (MS 2396). Throughout her career she focused on portraits, producing these using simple equipment usually taken somewhere within her own home or garden. Her models were her family and friends and she regularly photographed her own children from infancy to young adulthood.

To learn more about Emma Barton and her work see Sunlight and Shadow: The Photographs of Emma Barton 1872-1938, eds. Peter James, Tessa Sidey and John Taylor (Birmingham Libraries & BMAG, 1995)

Benjamin Stone

Birmingham Archives & Heritage holds a vast collection of photographs by Sir Benjamin Stone, many of which feature children. Stone was born in Aston in 1838 and attended King Edward’s School, New Street. He became director of his father’s glass manufacturing business and then a town councillor representing Duddeston Ward from 1869 until 1878. He was Sutton Coldfield’s first mayor from 1886-1890 and was elected Member of Parliament for East Birmingham in 1895, holding the seat until his retirement in 1910. Stone died in 1914.

The following extract comes from www.birmingham.gov.uk/benjaminstone

Stone’s considerable income enabled him to travel extensively in Britain and abroad, at a time when foreign travel was still very much the prerogative of the rich. He was in great demand as a lecturer, and began to collect photographs in order to illustrate his lectures and travel books. Dissatisfied with the quality of many of the commercial prints he purchased, Stone decided to master the art of photography himself, employing two men full-time at his house in Erdington, The Grange, to develop and print his plates. Benjamin Stone was one of the first photographers to switch from wet to dry plates, obviating the need to develop the plates on the spot as soon as they had been exposed.

Appointments to view material held by Birmingham Archives & Heritage can be made via email at: archives.appointments@birmingham.gov.uk or by telephone on 0121 303 2468.