”His views of Philae and Luxor are as good as anything Walker Evans did in California a hundred years later.” Who was Cecil Beaton talking about? Photographer Francis Frith.
“Francis Frith (31 October 1822 – 25 February 1898) was an English photographer of the Middle East, as well as photographing numerous towns in the United Kingdom. Frith was born at Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in 1822 to a Quaker family. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. Frith sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography.
From 1856 to 1860 Frith made three photographic expeditions to Egypt and Palestine. His work appeared in books published by the London firms of James S. Virtue and William Mackenzie between 1858 and 1865, and as stereographs published by Negretti and Zambra in 1862.
In 1859, Frith established F. Frith and Company at Reigate in Surrey, which produced and distributed photographs and stereographs for albums and book illustrations. The company also made international travel views from Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Japan, China, and India, as well as an extensive body of work in Great Britain in the late nineteenth-century. One of the first mass-producers of photographs in England, F. Frith and Co. closed in 1960. Frith died in Cannes, France in 1898.”