engineering careers  Virtual Reality used to restage 1839 photography show
engineering careers  Virtual Reality used to restage 1839 photography show

Renowned British artist Mat Collishaw is planning to recreate the first photography exhibition, held in 1839 by William Henry Fox Talbot, at Somerset House in an entirely virtual reality space.

Pitched as giving visitors the ability to go back in time to the dawn of photography – Thresholds will run from May until June at Somerset House.

The project was crowd-funded last year on Kickstarter – beating it £20k goal by almost £5,000.

The exhibition will digitally recreate the first photography exhibition. Once a viewer has put on a pair of VR goggles they will be able to walk into this virtual space and view the works on the walls. Exploring the same glass vitrines and equipment that would have been displayed 180 years ago.

The experience will be a fully immersive portal to the past; walk freely throughout a digitally reconstructed room, and touch the bespoke vitrines, fixtures and mouldings; even the heat from a coal fire will be recreated. A soundscape for Thresholds includes the sound of demonstrations of the Chartist protesters who rioted in 1839 on the streets of Birmingham, and who can be glimpsed through the digital windows.

Outside the CGI world, the exhibition will have a physical element. You will be able to touch real objects and feel real sensations that correspond with what they see in the virtual world (including the warmth of a fire or the mouldings on the walls).


The exhibition is due to open next month (18 May – 11 Jun 2017) and in the River Rooms.

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