A History of Photography
From its beginnings till the 1920s


Robert Leggat MA, M.Ed., Ph.D., FRPS, FRSA

Robert Leggat first began photography at the age of eight. He still remembers the excitement when his first pictures emerged - only two out of twelve - and still finds it exciting when a print begins to appear in the developing dish!

He trained as a teacher at Westminster College, Oxford, and it was there that he became increasingly interested in the potential of photography in education, both as a subject in its own right, and as a tool for teachers and pupils. In 1969 he moved into higher education, training and providing in-service provision for teachers. In 1992 he left his post as Head of Educational Technology to become involved in CD-ROMs and in work connected with the Internet.

His book "Photography in school: a guide for teachers", published by Argus Press, was well received in the teaching profession, and inspired him to become involved in examinations in photography. He was an examiner for "O" and "A" level photography for a number of years, and served on the moderating committees of the Associated Examining Board (AEB), then the only organisation offering examinations in photography for school pupils. More recently he was intimately involved in setting up the City & Guilds "9231" photography scheme, intended specifically for non-professional photographers who wish to improve their technique.

He joined the Royal Photographic Society in the early seventies, where he received much encouragement and support from the then Secretary of the Society, Kenneth Warr, Hon. FRPS. He admits that at first he had little interest in the history of photography. "Loads of boring equipment and faded pictures" he concluded. That was, until 1975, when he attended a lecture given by Professor Margaret Harker. This kindled his enthusiasm, and he has since spent many hours browsing through the extensive collection held by the Royal Photographic Society.

Dr. Leggat has always had a commitment to encouraging photography amongst young people. He was Hon. Education Officer of the Royal Photographic Society for ten years, served on the Society's Council for some fifteen, and on its Executive for four. He was also former Chairman of the Society's Committee which receives and evaluates applications for Associateship and Fellowship in the Photography in Education category.

A long-serving supporter of the Royal Photographic Society, he would encourage anyone with an interest in photography to become a member.

T.B. 1999

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© Robert Leggat, 2000