In 2015 portraits by Dr John Adamson were displayed at the National Museum of Scotland exhibition Photography: A Victorian Sensation. The audience response to these powerful works was such that this book has been produced, the first devoted to placing his work in its historical context and to acquainting a new audience with his work which, for conservation reasons, cannot be displayed all the time.
Dr Adamson (1809-70) was the older brother of the better known Robert Adamson (1821-48), famous for his pioneering photography work with D. O. Hill. John Adamson remained an amateur; his photography had to be fitted in around his busy medical practice in St Andrews.
The photographs are drawn mainly from two extremely early and significant albums, presented to the Museum in the 1940s.
An Appendix has technical information on, for example: camera obscura, lenses, daguerreotype, calotype, the albumen process, and the collodian negative process.
Dr A. D. Morrison-Low was Principal Curator, Historic Scientific Instruments & Photography, National Museums Scotland. With Sara Stevenson she is the author of Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years. David Bruce is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and convenor of the Scottish Society for the History of Photography.