Sir Benjamin Stone's Photos Shown Outdoors In Birmingham

By Tara Booth | 17 September 2008
A black and white old photograph of coloured men dressed in traditional clothing standing together for the camera. A man sits in fron with a drum between his legs. Behind the group of men is a hut made with palm tree branches.

(Above) Natives of Senegal (A French Colony), Franco-British Exhibition, 1908. Sir Benjamin Stone Collection: Birmingham Library and Archive Services

Exhibition notice - The Photographs of Sir Benjamin Stone in Centenary Square, Birmingham from September 20 – 31 2008.

Birmingham Central Library is to hold an outdoor exhibition celebrating the photographic work of Conservative MP Sir Benjamin Stone.

‘Knight of the Camera: The Photographs of Sir Benjamin Stone’ will be showcased in the charming Centenary Square available for public viewing from September 20 – 31 2008.

The exhibition will be the first major display of his work in his hometown for almost a century and will present some of his most iconic images with many which have never been shown before.

A graphic design image of what the exhibition space will look like when it starts. There are black boards set up in a central space in the shape of a square, with two rows that lead up to the centre. Grass and trees surround the space.

Exhibition design and production Standard 8 Graphic design Intro Partnership.

The selection of photographs exhibited will be presented in themed sections of: Collected Photographs, Parliament, Travel, Birmingham, Customs and Festivals and White City 1908 representing his diverse photographic skills and fields of interest.

Comments from his Parliamentary Diaries plus remarks of writers of the day will also feature at the exhibition.

The Sir Benjamin Stone Collection, which is housed in Birmingham Central Library, consists of 22,000 photographs, over 600 stereoscopic prints, 2,500 lantern slides, 1,700 glass negatives and more than 100 albums and scrapbooks.

A further 2,000 photographs of MPs, visitors and servants of the Houses of Parliament can be found at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

An old black and white photograph of people standing around a gate. Above the gate is a sign which reads: God save the King.

(Above) The Customs of Corby Pole Fair, May 1902. Barrier against all strangers at the entrance to the village. Sir Benjamin Stone Collection: Birmingham Library and Archive Services.

As a young man, his interest in the sciences and antiquities led him to collect photographs. Frustrated, Stone was unable to find suitable images he desired, so took it upon him to learn the skill, becoming a most ardent amateur photographer in the late 1880s.

Affectionately known to the press, and to many others, as ‘Sir Kodak,’ ‘Sir Snapshot’ and most famously ‘The Knight of the Camera,’ Stone was a household name between 1890 and 1910. He was renowned for his keen and often obsessive activities as an amateur photographer.

He was often the subject of many features in the popular and photographic press, and his activities became a regular feature in Amateur Photographer, profiled in the magazine’s series ‘Photographers I have Met’.

Stone travelled widely in pursuit for his hobby, ending up in countries including Spain, Norway, Japan and Brazil. He also ended up as president of the National Photographic Record Association and of the Birmingham Photographic Society.

In 1911, his amateur career culminated, as he became the official photographer to the coronation of King George V.

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