One of Germany's earliest photographers, Hermann Krone, was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) on September 14, 1827. At age 16, he became his lithographer father's apprentice, and became interested in photographic processes, recognizing the commercial value of image reproductions. Young Mr. Krone produced the first known German calotypes and daguerreotype while continuing his studies in philosophy and natural sciences at the University of Breslau. He reportedly makes the first daguerreotype of a meteor at Breslau Observatory in 1848, although this claim has been seriously disputed because it would have required at least a 20-minute exposure.
Mr. Krone's educational pursuits led him to Dresden, where he studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. A few years after receiving his degree in art, he opened photography studios in Dresden and in Leipzig. Although clearly interested in the commercial value in photography, he was also a scientist interested in developing more efficient technical processes. At his Institute for Photographic Portraiture and Teaching in Dresden, Mr. Krone became one of the earliest practitioners of the wet collodion process. In 1853, he produced the first known landscape photographs of “Saxonian and Bohemian Switzerland. The following year, he married Clementine Blochmann, and the couple later became the parents of four children.
By 1855, Mr. Krone was experimenting with collodion dry plate photography, and that same year was an authorized agent of photographic lenses at Rathenow's Optical Industrial Institute. Always seeking to maximize profits, Mr. Krone began developing various color processes, experimented with different types of light sources, and developed his own process of transferring carbon prints. Mr. Krone founded the Photographic Society of Dresden, and that same year opened "Hermann Krone's Art Publishing House". In 1870, Mr. Krone's considerable efforts in promoting photography were officially recognized when he was appointed to Dresden's Royal Polytechnic, and he subsequently became professor of photography at the Dresden Technical University, eager to share scientific his knowledge with enthusiastic student photographers. Mr. Krone believed photographic excellence required both scientific training and practical experience. During this time, he also established various copying methods and letterpress printing techniques.
When he wasn't capturing the beauty of the German countryside, Mr. Krone was traveling the world, which included an astronomical expedition to New Zealand to photograph Venus passing over the sun, and treks to Australia and India. His interest in landscape photography led to experiments in artificial lighting to improve image quality. After the death of Mr. Krone's wife in 1897, he briefly shifted his focus to poetry, and published four books between 1899 and 1902. He was in great demand as a lecturer in his later years, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dresden's Technical College. Eighty-nine-year-old Hermann Krone died near Dresden on September 17, 1916. Although he is primarily remembered for his "quintessentially Saxon" landscape photography, amassing more than 800 archived images, Mr. Krone deserves equal recognition for his improvements in composition, print reproduction, lighting manipulation, and color photography.
2015 Breslau Photographs by Hermann Krone (URL: http://www.wratislavia.net/krone.htm).
2012 Catchers of the Light, Vol. I by Stefan Hughes (Mountain View, CA: Google Books), p. 464.
2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), p. 1295.
2017 Hermann Krone and His Work (URL: https://www.iapp.de/krone/timeline/English/Extra/Krone.htm).
2006 Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination edited by Joan M. Schwartz & James R. Ryan (London: I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.), pp. 135-136.
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