Edgar Lee

Edgar G Lee

Photographs, mostly of Tyneside street life in the early 1890s, taken with hand-held cameras.

Edgar Lee was a respected Tyneside photographer and lantern slide maker, with a professional studio in Newcastle’s Eldon Square. We know he made his own hand-held cameras, using them in conjunction with the fast exposure dry plates that had been patented by the Tyneside inventor Joseph Swan.

The renowned Hexham photographer John Pattison Gibson promoted Edgar Lee’s work, advertising his lantern slides for sale as CHILD LIFE IN THE SLUMS and STREET LIFE, INSTANTANEOUS. Fast exposure plates and hand-held cameras were offering photographers an immediacy in capturing the moment, laying the technological ground for the development of documentary in the C20th. In the late C19th the North East of England was at the heart of taking these things forward.

All images: public domain

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