Prof Larry J. Schaaf is the Director of the William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné - foxtalbot.bodleian.ox.ac.uk- an online resource of the Bodleian Libraries. This is based on his four decades of work on Talbot, the Victorian polymath who was the inventor of negative-positive photography. He is also a consultant on the Bodleian’s newly-acquired Talbot Archive. Schaaf was the 2005 Slade Professor of Fine Art. He is the Founder and Editor of the Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot Project, which makes available fully searchable transcriptions of more than 10,000 Talbot letters online:http://foxtalbot.dmu.ac.uk/.
Prof Schaaf received his PhD in Art History from the University of St Andrews; his thesis was published as Out of the Shadows: Herschel, Talbot & the Invention of Photography (Yale, 1992). He was an active photographer and teacher of photography at The University of Texas at Austin when around 1970 he became intrigued by the riches of the Gernsheim Collection of Photography. The related holdings in the Humanities Research Center of vast portions of Sir John Herschel’s personal archive immersed Schaaf in the world of documentary editing and since that time much of his research has concentrated on materiality and the importance of primary sources in research. He is particularly interested in the so-called prehistory of photography and in the intersections in photography between art and science.
Schaaf has published numerous journal articles and books, several of them award winning and pioneering in their categories. He has lectured widely and has been a consultant on computer applications in the humanities, archival collections and the history of photography.
Much of Schaaf’s work over the past three decades has been as an independent scholar. His office is in Rock House, Baltimore, Maryland USA.