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Sharing the History of Photography is my Passion.

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This project's funding goal was not reached on May 27, 2013.

Alan Griffiths
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Alan Griffiths

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About this project

Pitch from Alan

Do you love photography? 

Do you want to improve your understanding and enjoyment of photographs?

Want to help create the best website on the History of Photography?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Passion, Enthusiasm and Community

My personal passion is to learn the History of Photography and share what I’ve learned. As you’re about to see, that has grown into Luminous-Lint. This Kickstarter project is to expand and build on all we’ve already achieved.

The Story Begins With A Personal History…..

About 10 years ago, I decided to learn the History of Photography. I had always been interested in it, but never had the time to do so properly. I created Luminous-Lint to share the huge amount of material I’ve collected and created.

Many thousands of you have watched this project evolve over the past decade. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of you personally, and look forward to meeting more of you who share my enthusiasm for the History of Photography. A great many collectors, curators, estates of photographers, gallery owners and dealers around the world receive the Newsletters, which are all online, and have shared material – both for the website and from it.


(Click here if you would like to be emailed the Newsletter)

The richness and depth of Luminous-Lint as a resource is astounding and this Kickstarter project will take us to the next level. I’m excited about it and here is where you can join in.

A Brief Overview of Luminous-Lint

  • Luminous-Lint currently has more than 10 million page views a year (yes, you read correctly: more than 10 million). 
  • It is a free, vast and expanding non-commercial resource on all aspects of the History of Photography. 
  • It already includes more than 1,000 Themes, 700 online exhibitions and 7,000 photographers. 
  • It has been created with contributions from more than 2,300 institutions, galleries, dealers and individuals.
  • It includes many images that can be found nowhere else, as they come from private collections around the world. 

Luminous-Lint is well-respected and has a well-proven track record - thanks to you all.

Take a look at the current website to see how far we have come:


There are over 1,000 themes so this is only an indication.


... and these are just the top of a very large iceberg. To get a sense of the scope of the project take a look at the Contents page. This project will concentrate on the Themes (and not the Geographical Regions or Techniques which will be covered later).

In the most recent Luminous-Lint Newsletter (February 2013) I announced that each Theme is starting to be filled out with examples from the most significant institutional and private collections around the world and this is rolling along with over 50,000 images added so far.

So to prepare the next phase of Luminous-Lint I'm asking for $50,000. It sounds like a lot but we have around 5,000 Facebook friends, every significant photography gallery and dealer in the world besides masses of collectors and enthusiasts. We can do this as a community.

This Kickstarter project is to enrich the content on Luminous-Lint and continue to provide it free of charge to benefit us all.

If we educate ourselves and make friends along the way so much the better.

Project Goals

As I've mentioned, there are currently over 1,000 Themes on Luminous-Lint . During this project I plan to:

1. Ensure that we have representative photographs for each Theme.

2. Ensure that the 700 online exhibitions are linked to each Theme.

3. Integrate video materials where appropriate.

Within each Theme I will be developing texts, footnotes, reading lists, visual indexes, preparing additional online exhibitions where there are gaps. Where specialized texts are required experts (such as yourself) will be asked to assist. By the end of this project the structure of the Themes will be greatly improved and ready for the next step.

How You Can Help

With Kickstarter it is all or nothing - either we make the $50,000 goal or we get nothing. With your support we - as a community - can make Luminous-Lint an outstanding free, and international, resource.

Your pledges are essential so help where you can.

If you have expertise on a specific area and are able to carry out research, improve the graphic design, add programming skills, provide examples from your collection or those of your institution, or can prepare content or share pieces you have already written please get in touch. Luminous-Lint is a collaborative project.

This Project Will Help Publicize Other Projects As Well

The best documentary and photojournalism projects deserve to be seen and Luminous-Lint will do what it can to spread to world of other Kickstarter, Daylight, Aftermath, and projects. It will also seek the finest work from awards such as the Lucie Awards, W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, SOROS Foundation, and Photobooks on etc to highlight the finest series. This does not imply endorsement by these laudable projects rather that I feel great examples and case studies deserve to be seen as widely as possible.  Luminous-Lint can assist with connecting them with the wider history and give them a context. I’ll work with the photographers to ensure this happens and keep you informed about how it is proceeding.

What - You Can Do More?

If you see the opportunities that Luminous-Lint is creating for education and scholarship and are able to do more to support then please contact me at There are a number of innovative and far-reaching projects that can be discussed.

You may want to sponsor a topic that you feel should be improved or included. If you are an expert in a particular Theme let me know and help out where you can – if not suggest a curator or photo-historian who might be able to assist.

Special Edition Print

I hope you will make a pledge as there are some great rewards including a photographic print that fine art photographer Paul Biddle has graciously created for this project. Thanks Paul.

Here is an A/P of the print...

The Luminous Isle of Lint
The Luminous Isle of Lint

All sorts of references to photography in this photograph.

This print will be a significant part of the History of Photography as it will be the first print issued by Luminous-Lint and the first ever issued to support a crowdfunding project on the History of Photography. Don`t miss this opportunity as it will only be available during this project. Who knows what it will be worth in a few years....

All prints and their ownership will be logged on Luminous-Lint.

If you are a collector of photography this is the only opportunity to obtain this print.

For galleries and dealers if you are pledging at the print level many thanks and I'd be grateful if you would let me know right away so you get a bit of additional publicity.

One Final Word... That Special Edition Print...

Did I mention that the special edition print will be significant print in the History of Photography and possibly worth gazillions in the future? Don't say later on that I didn't tell you personally about it !!!

Wrapping Up

Thanks for taking a look at this project and I hope that you will join in.

Best as always,


p.s. Thanks to all of you who have shared your photographs, knowledge and friendship along the way as Luminous-Lint has evolved.

As I always say...


Risks and challenges

Well I could be hit by a meteor or run over by a bus. Life is full of risks but apart from that I’ve got a pretty good idea about the programming we need as I’ve programmed the website so far and it rarely has an issue. I might take up surfing (not with my body) or lose interest in photography (unlikely). I’m doing this because I love the subject, have made many friends along the way and want to see how far we can go together.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • Luminous-Lint is a non-commercial resource for exploring the History of Photography in unexpected ways. It is a vast patchwork that allows you to understand at your own pace and to travel the routes less travelled.

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  • Contrary to popular opinion it is just me - Alan Griffiths. Having said that, and as you probably know, well over two thousand people around the world have assisted with it in so many ways. Luminous-Lint is like a flexing community of collectors, photo-historians, curators and friends who see possibilities of sharing knowledge. Thanks to all of you who have joined in so many ways. It is a pleasure to know you.

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  • Most photography sites are visual eye candy and little more – they fail to keep even the most basic cataloguing data that would be required by a serious researcher. At the heart of Luminous-lint the information is stored in similar ways to the photography department at a leading museum such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum or George Eastman House. Luminous-Lint doesn’t need preservation, conservation or exhibition history information but all the basic material is kept as this allows researchers to go back to the original item if necessary.

    Blogs can be fantastic but tend to be short-lived and they lack decent ways of telling complex histories as they are essentially archives of articles. Luminous-Lint is far richer than this as it links images, photographers, references, visual indexes and online exhibitions together.

    There are some outstanding examples of projects that show how art information can be well structured.

    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

    Google Art Project

    Both are vast projects based on millions of dollars of research and technology, years of effort and large dedicated teams. These projects cover art as a whole with Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History covering the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art while the Google Art Project covers around 150 museums. Luminous-Lint concentrates on photography and is an overview brought together from 2,300 collections from around the world. It is this rich content that makes it a unique resource.

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  • It is far too large and there are single themes that could provide sufficient material for multiple photography books. Another point is why would you do it? The content improves in hundreds of ways each day so the Internet is the ideal place. I suppose you could print it out if you could afford limitless print cartridges and have the time to print out hundreds of thousands of pages of material but I wouldn’t recommend it – after all we are trying to protect the environment.

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  • YES – when I started Luminous-Lint around ten years ago I thought that there might be a way to support it with advertising and thanks to all of you who experimented. Getting sufficient funds proved difficult and I decided to finance it myself and that’s what I’ve done.

    Luminous-Lint dwarves most institutional websites as it deals with over 2,300 institutions, estates, photographers and private collectors. Luminous-Lint it is not about a single collection or a single exhibition but it is about bringing together material from around the world and continually improving for the benefit of all. I always said that it should not be a subscription website as that discourages those without the cash to pay and I feel advertising can compromise a website. So your support is needed.

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  • Educators, curators, photo-historians, photographers, collectors, auction houses, connoisseurs, art historians, students and those interested in improving themselves by understanding society through photography. Whilst some of us are privileged with access to many hundreds of volumes on the history of photography most are not and do not have access to school, university or public libraries with high quality source materials. Certainly the vast online libraries such as GoogleBooks, the HathiTrust and others have improved access for out-of-copyright material but understanding the best routes to go through the millions of books and articles requires thought and that is where Luminous-Lint comes in.

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  • Yes– At times I need to concentrate on improving the connections between pieces within Luminous-Lint and this means that hundreds if not thousands of changes take place each day. You might not notice them but there are changes both large and small all the time. During these periods I’m not necessarily adding in new photographers or exhibitions but trying to working out better ways of using the existing content.

    If you are specialist on a particular theme or photographer in the first instance let me know.

    If you have essays, articles, interviews, ephemera or perhaps a portrait of a photographer then let me know.

    If you control the rights or estate to a photographers let me know. I frequently get requests from researchers for publishers and magazines and I like to forward them on when I can.

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  • I feel that working collaboratively it is possible to create non-commercial resources for the benefit of all. The scale of Luminous-Lint means that the data should go to an institution or private foundation with the resources to use it well. There is a vast amount of content that is available nowhere else on the Internet and that requires preservation. The public face of Luminous-Lint is only a fraction of the overall project. So if you work at an institution that might be interested in hosting Luminous-Lint let me know.

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  • Why am I not on Luminous-Lint?

    Luminous-Lint is not an inclusive project but rather seeks examples of photographic styles and approaches. I see material that amazes me at times but that does not mean everything can or should be included. It is highly selective as it needs to cover the whole history of photography and what I’m looking for changes over time.

    Can I help out in another way?

    YES – How about donating a print which can be given as a pledge to somebody else who is supporting Luminous-Lint? Send me an email ( so we can discuss it and thanks for participating.

    Can I submit a portfolio to Luminous-Lint?

    NO – At present I’m working on improving the overall structure of the website. In the future there will be calls for portfolios on specific themes but not at the moment.

    Will making a pledge improve my chances of being included on Luminous-Lint?

    NO - It might mean that somewhere buried in my sub-conscientious your name is recalled but it won't influence my decision. If you keep doing great work I’ll notice it as I search for information.

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  • Many of you I’ve met personally and you already know what I’m trying to do. Help out with a pledge if you can as that is most helpful but also consider where your knowledge, the photographers and estates you represent, and your collectors might assist. There are gaps in Luminous-Lint that you will spot and if you do and you can supply scans of photographs, artist’s statements or a clear explanation of a theme join up. We can all learn from each other.

    I've added a special $5000 pledge for five of the Special Edition Prints and I'm sure you'll understand the historical significance of those. Contact me directly if you have other ideas for distributing the prints. Every dollar raised will be used to support Luminous-Lint and therefore our community of collectors and enthusiasts.

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  • If you can make a pledge that would be wonderful as every dollar helps to improve the History of Photography. Also think about how texts, interviews, essays and reviews you have written can be reused. You may have knowledge on an obscure photographer or particular theme that would be useful to include. All work is credited and linked back. By sharing we can all help each other to understand overall patterns.

    In the future we will be seeking specialists on specific countries and regions and if you would like to participate in that part of Luminous-Lint fantastic.

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  • FACT- CHECKING - If you have time and you are interested in a particular topic it would be helpful if you could go through a theme or biography to ensure that it is as accurate as possible. It might be that you can write biographies of photographers or have already done so. Get in touch and let me know.

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  • We live in a time when public-funding for the arts is being reduced and lovers of the arts need to help out where we can. At the top end of photography collecting there is a small group of connoisseurs who are supported by the auction houses and the finest galleries and dealers around the world. If you are in this community and see the potential of philanthropy to improve education on the History of Photography – a subject we are all passionate about get in touch.

    What you are seeing on Luminous-Lint is just the start and there are some exciting and innovative projects in planning. Thanks for your interest –

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5 USD

    Hey snapshots for all - Receive exclusive updates about the project + Hall of Fame - Supporters page

    Estimated delivery
    13 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    Real photo-postcards rule - Postcard signed by Alan + Hall of Fame - Supporters page

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    32 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    Like buying a photography book - Postcard signed by Alan + Coffee mug + Hall of Fame - Supporters page

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    24 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    Wow thanks - Postcard signed by Alan + Tote bag + Hall of Fame - Supporters page

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    16 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250 USD

    Thanks for supporting resources for all - Postcard signed by Alan + Tote bag + Hall of Fame - Supporters page + You can select the theme that you would like your name included on. + I will personally call you to thank you and discuss Luminous-Lint

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    Thanks for sharing my vision of what is possible - Postcard signed by Alan + Totebag + Hall of Fame - Supporters page
    You can select the theme that you would like your name included on. + I will personally call you to thank you and discuss Luminous-Lint +
    1 limited edition print - “I Helped Build the History of Photography – Luminous-Lint” (medium)

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    0 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    We can all work together to do extraordinary things – it is up to us to make the world better. Thanks for participating. - Hall of Fame - Supporters page + You can select the theme that you would like your name included on. + I will personally call you to thank you and discuss Luminous-Lint + Come and stay with us for a day in Nova Scotia (I’d recommend summer or fall for this one and you’ll need to get to Nova Scotia) + If you are in the Los Angeles area perhaps we can get together for a meal (need to be flexible on schedules for this one as I’m only there a few times a year.) + 1 limited edition print - “I Helped Build the History of Photography – Luminous-Lint”. (large)

    I’ll come and give a workshop (need expenses for this one)

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250 USD

    Everything at the $1000 pledge amount.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500 USD

    Everything at the $1000 pledge amount.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    +++ This pledge is only available for galleries and photography dealers. +++ Thanks for appreciating all that Luminous-Lint has done to promote photography to connoisseurs – we have come a long way in providing information to encourage the community over the last ten years. This pledge reward is my grateful thanks. - 5 limited edition prints - “I Helped Build the History of Photography – Luminous-Lint”.

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    0 backers
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    You are passionate about photography and I probably know you or have heard of you if you are pledging at this level. This pledge is for philanthropists with a long-term vision who want to encourage education and awareness of the significance of photography. You may want to share information from your own collections more widely by integrating them into the History of Photography. This has implications for your collection, estate, gallery or foundation and I’ll be happy to discuss the cultural, educational and financial benefits with you in detail. Sharing makes the world a better place. You will be actively involved in the future direction of Luminous-Lint. The funds will be used to support Luminous-Lint and where appropriate fund specialists to write on topics that you find fascinating and you will be involved in selecting the specialists. I’ll work with you on this. - 1 limited edition print - “I Helped Build the History of Photography – Luminous-Lint”.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers

Funding period

- (30 days)