Albert Smith

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A crowd outside Albert Smith's Broad Street shop
Albert Smith's family in 1893
The photographer Albert Smith

Albert Smith is the best known and probably the most prolific of Jersey's early photographers, although a significant number of pictures attributed to him, and particularly those used for his postcards, were taken not by him, but by employees or by Ernest Baudoux, whose business he acquired when he arrived in Jersey from London.

Early career

Originally from Liverpool, Albert Smith had worked at a studio in Waterloo. He started in business in Jersey in 1892 from premises at 59 New Street, which he maintained until 1931. He also had outlets at 13 Beresford Street and 45 Bath Street from 1899 to 1907, but he closed these and opened an outlet at 3 Broad Street, which also continued to operate until 1931.

Thousands of his images survive as glass plate negatives and subjects include studio portraits and portraits of cattle. Many of his views were sold as postcards. He and his staff not only worked on commissions, but also captured many scenes of island life and events of historical importance. Nearly 2000 of his images can be seen on line in the photographic archive of la Société Jersiaise, out of a total of nearly 3,300 held in the archive.

Among these are undoubtedly many not taken by Smith. Not only, as mentioned above, are there images acquired from Ernest Baudoux, and others taken by employees of Smith, but some are also dated after he closed his business in 1931. It is not clear whether he continued to take photographs after that date, which are included in the Société Jersiaise collection, and private collections, or whether they were taken by staff. There is little doubt that they have been correctly attributed either to Smith or a (former) employee, because there are photographs, bearing his signature logo, taken at the Battle of Flowers in the mid-1930s and at the opening of Jersey Airport in 1937.

The Albert Smith business's photographs were taken to sell and, in addition to those in negative format in the Société Jersiaise collection, many thousands of prints remain in circulation, notably in two collections in South Africa and the United States, to which Jerripedia has been given access.

Book

Smith published a book in about 1910 of 102 Views of Jersey and the Channel Islands, which includes pictures of early Battles of Flowers, and a selection of pictures of Guernsey. Among other advertisements in the book is one for his own series of Hartmann's coloured Jersey postcards.

Smith was in partnership for a short time with Thomas Henry Billinghurst and also with Victor Vandycke.

Gallery

This gallery of photographs shows the extreme diversity of Albert Smith's work. Although all of these photographs may not have been taken by him personally, they are all attributed to his business. Many are overtly commercial, but others constitute a fascinating documentary of life in Jersey in the late 19th and early 20th century. Although an early advertisement promoted portrait photography in clients' homes, Smith, unlike many of his contemporaries in Jersey was not predominantly a portraitist. He preferred to work out of doors, photographing groups on carriage and charabanc outings. This gallery only contains a limited selection of the hundreds of Smith photographs to be found throughout the site.

A typically posed Smith photograph of a carriage outing

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