Monday, April 06, 2015

Father Browne

Father Frank Browne SJ
Click on any image for a larger version

I have never read any of his religious writings or heard any of his sermons. In fact, I have no interest whatsoever in them.

For me, he is simply a dedicated and pioneering photographer.

He achieved world fame for his photos from the first two legs of the Titanic's maiden voyage. It was only a refusal by his superiors that saved him from the last leg, which would most likely have meant we would have ended up with no photos at all.

Father Browne's room/lab at Emo (1931)

Photography was a passion for him all of his life and the above photo shows his room at the Jesuit house at Emo from 1930 to 1957. He had organised extra power points for his photographic equipment and also special blinds and curtains for his window so that it could be turned into a darkroom within seconds.

"Self under Anaesthetic" (1938)

But the photo above is really the point of my post. The ultimate "selfie". In 1938 he was taken into Vincent's Hospital for an appendectomy. He rigged up his camera in the operating theatre with a time delay on the shutter so that he could take his own photo while being anaesthetised. Now, that takes some beating for its day.

The Father Browne website is here. I have mentioned him before on this blog. And I would like to thank E E O'Donnell SJ and Messenger Publications for the above photos and information. The book is cleverly titled "The Life and Lens of Father Browne" and it is an inspiring read.

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