The photographers who lumbered their unwieldy equipment around Deal and Walmer, in an effort to make a living, had no idea the history they would be recording or how their work would be collected, published and lingered over in the centuries to come. They were recording history and have provided future generations with pictorial evidence of life in the days of their grandparents, great grandparents and even great, great grandparents. We have much to thank them for.
Initially, the photographs were portraits of people, taken in a studio setting, the carte de visite. The popularity of these little ‘calling- card sized photographs, developed by a Frenchman at the end of the 1850’s, soon spread throughout Europe and America. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were both fascinated by the art of photography and filled their homes with photographs of themselves and their children. There is no doubt that their enthusiasm helped to promote the magic of the camera.
Throughout the 1860’s it was the height of fashion for people to exchange these little ‘Carte de Visite’ portraits of themselves. By the 1870’s the portraits became more creative and were larger and now the photographers, in increasing numbers, began to work outside of their studios recording the world around them.
There were several notable photographers who recorded both the people and the landscape of Deal and Walmer such as, William Ramell, George Brown, William Sawyer,William H Franklin and his son Henry Franklin