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Keith, Thomas

Keith, Thomas
Keith, Thomas
Keith, Thomas
About the Artist
Keith, Thomas
Biography
Thomas Keith, born in the Kincardineshire village of St Cyrus, received his early education in Aberdeen. In 1845 he trained in surgery at Edinburgh University where he was a medical apprentice to Sir James Young Simpson. In 1853 he joined his older brother, George Skene Keith, in general practice in Edinburgh, opening a private infirmary in the 1870's.
His recorded amateur interest in photography dates from 1852, but he produced his earliest dated picture in 1854. The Keith family had known of William Fox Talbot's calotype process, patented in 1841; it had been used by David Octavius Hill in 1843 for a picture of Thomas's father Dr Alexander Keith. Thomas Keith adopted the waxed paper process, on which he gave a paper to the Photographic Society of Scotland in 1856, detailing his use of waxing, iodizing and exposure techniques. Starting the process in the evening after his medical commitments, he would take his exposures before 7.00am or after 4.00 pm, to guarantee a softer light. During his honeymoon in the Braemar area in 1854, he took several treescapes; in the summer of 1855 he concentrated on Edinburgh landmarks and scenes from the immediate vicinity. In 1856 a trip to Iona produced a series of Cathedral images, praised for his use of light and composition, and in the same year the earliest multiple exposure. By 1857 pressure of work from his medical practice brought his photographic career to an end.
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