'"Caney" The Clown', 1877
© NMeM / Royal Photographic Society / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate produced using the Woodburytype process of a street performer mending a chair in the street, taken from 'Street Life in London' (London, 1877) written by Adolphe Smith with photography by Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921). The aim of this book was stated as 'to bring before the public some account of the present condition of the London street folk, and to supply a series of faithful pictures of the people themselves'. It is one of the first examples of photography used as social documentary.