Richard Walter Deverell Welford was born at Newcastle upon Tyne on September 1, 1857. The eldest son of Richard and Jemima Deverell Welford inherited his father's talent for writing. He elected to combine his two favorite interests - journalism and the new sport of cycling in his magazine Cycling, which he published and edited from 1878 until 1882. He also published the pioneering text Wheel man's Yearbook in 1881. Dogged by poor health, Mr. Welford moved to London where he studied photography and later became an editor of the Photography journal. Meanwhile, he also founded and edited Photographic Review, The Practical & Junior Photographer, and the short-lived Photographic Life, which he later unsuccessfully resurrected as Cycle & Camera.
Despite their lack of financial success, Mr. Welford was dedicated to using the print medium to promote the art and science of photography. He also wrote a technical manual on the hand camera and collaborated with cycle manufacturer and publisher Henry Sturney on a photographic encyclopedia and a text on optical lanterns. Mr. Welford expresses his preference for hand cameras and lantern slides in an 1893 editorial, in which he declared, "I am desirous of obtaining studies of life and character in all parts of the world." He maintained that the hand camera provided an unobtrusive and natural record of everyday street life, noting, "The hand-camera worker troubles no one, he merely waits his opportunity, and when it comes seizes it, then passes on without anyone being the wiser." He applied his knowledge to the manufacturing of a lightweight and moderately priced camera known as "The Welford 'No. 1 Hand Camera." Mr. Welford also supervised the production of "Easy Cloud Negatives," which were made-to-order glass negatives that enabled photographers to add clouds to their sky prints. His "Straight-edge Vignette" is an opaque band plate or film that applies combination printing to achieve blocking or shading in nature photographs.
Mr. Welford married Jean Agnes Morgan (1855-1949) in 1880, and together they shared three daughters and a mutual love of photography. "Jeanie" Welford became an award-wiinning photojournalist in her own right, and her topographic images were frequently featured in her husband's publications. Unfortunately, Mr. Welford continued being plagued by ill health, which severely compromised his once active lifestyle. Nevertheless, he was a staff member of Kinematograph Weekly until the end of World War I and also penned several screenplays during his prolonged convalescences. Sixty-one-year-old Walter D. Welford died at his London home in July 1919.
1893 American Journal of Photography, Vol. XIV (Philadelphia: Thomas H. McCollin & Company), p. 41.
2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), pp. 1484-1485.
2007 The Haunted Gallery: Painting, Photography, Film c. 1900 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), p. 113.
1900 The Photogram, Vol. VII (London: Dawbarn & Ward, Ltd.), pp. 94, 267.
1894 The Photographic Times and American Photographer, Vol. XXV (New York: The Photographic Times Publishing Association), p. 77.
1984 W. D. Welford Photojournalist (URL: http://www.salisburycameraclub.org.uk/welford1.htm).
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