Born in 1850 in Needham, Massachusetts, Francis Blake spent his formative years as a scientist on the United States Coast Survey and Darien Exploring Expedition from 1866 to 1874. After this valuable experience, Blake began to experiment with early telephone technology, heating systems, and perhaps most telling, photography. He purchased his first camera in 1884, and soon after that he began to take a wide range of stop-action images of trains, pigeons, horses, and other subjects. Blake spent the next three decades taking thousands of photographs in this vein, and he was primarily concerned with the technical and scientific challenges of photography, rather than any artistic elements. On this website, the Massachusetts Historical Society offers up a nice selection of some of his work, including a host of portraits, high-speed photographs of horses, and shots of his estate, Keewaydin. It's a nice collection, and it's one that will intrigue persons with an interest in the history of art and the scientific uses of photography.
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