If I could time travel I’d return to the Victorian era and watch invention, creativity and great thinking happen in real time. I’d have to disguise myself as a wealthy Victorian gentleman, of course. I would need this privileged position to watch the likes of Joseph Wilson Swan in action.

Swan, born in Sunderland in 1828 grew up to be a physicist, chemist and is most famous for his invention, the incandescent light bulb. He also sported a most impressive beard.


His considerable photographic achievements have been overlooked…until now. The inaugural Newcastle Photography Festival takes place in October and is subtitled ‘A Celebration of Photography inspired by Joseph Wilson Swan and his Adventures with Carbon, Collodion and Light.’ Swan is the inspiration behind the festival packed with workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions of alternative photographic processes including wet plate.

This Tuesday (May 27th) marked the centenary of Swan’s death and descendants er, descended on Newcastle. Read about their visit here http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/descendants-light-bulb-inventor-joseph-7177759
and check out the festival website http://newphotofest.com/ and here’s an article about wet plate in Newcastle http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/photographer-uses-victorian-camera-capture-7146851