This shop uses cookies and other technologies to operate the shopping basket and improve the usability of the Wild Places Publishing website. Continued use of this site indicates your acceptance of our privacy and cookies policy, and our terms and conditions. We do not set advertising cookies. For more information about cookies see our FAQ.

To Photograph Darkness
  • To Photograph Darkness
  • Free bookmark with your book order
  • Delivery included

To Photograph Darkness (second-hand)


The history and development of underground and flash photography, by Chris Howes

EU customers must read the notes under the Non-UK Orders tab before ordering

Post to
Select from the options above

This item is in stock and you may place your order.

  • Secure payment Secure payment
  • Prices include delivery Prices include delivery
  • We reuse packing materials We reuse packing materials

Secure payment


Prices include delivery


We reuse packing materials


To Photograph Darkness

This is a second-hand copy

From the dustjacket

To Photograph Darkness traces the history of underground photography, and the techniques used, from the first pictures taken in the catacombs beneath Paris to the pyramids of Egypt, from American caves to Cornish tin mines, and underground locations throughout the world.

The opening chapters are concerned with the earliest experiments to record images without the aid of the sun in the 1860s. Innovative photographers have since used limelight, Bengal fire, arc lights, and even magnesium mixed with gunpowder to make the first crude flashpowder as well as specially designed electronic flashguns and powder burners giving a searing 2m flame. The story is continued to underwater and cine photography and the techniques used in cave photography today.

To Photograph Darkness is a fascinating and highly readable account of the use of artificial light and the difficulties the first underground photographers had to overcome - explosions, the boredom of models who would wander away half-way through a long exposure, falling rocks, fumes and dampness, and the superstitions and disbelief with which their results were often confronted. Ten years in the writing, it is the only book of its kind and is based on primary sources of information throughout. The extensive use of quotations retains the immediacy of the challenge that both amateur and professional cameramen had to overcome.

The book is illustrated with 160 engravings, line drawings and photographs, many of which have never been published before. If your interest is the underground world of caves and mines, or the development of artificial light and photographic history, To Photograph Darkness contains something of relevance and interest for you. Fully referenced and indexed, it can also be used to identify and track down rare photographs and photographers worldwide. This volume is a major research resource and the authoritative book on the subject.

For the companion title: Images Below


VAT is not charged on UK publications. Orders to the EU are posted without tax paid: you are responsible for VAT and any other charges on delivery. We will be unable to refund you if you refuse delivery, do not collect your order or the charges are not paid.

Product Details

Data sheet

17.5cm x 25.5cm
New or used:
Book: second-hand
160 b&w illustrations
Publication date:
Detailed condition:
Almost as new, other than presentation inscription on title page
Stock no:
Southern Illinois University Press also published this title in the USA, under the SUI imprint with an ISBN of 0-8093-1622-6; the book is identical, other than that the dedication was omitted
Chris Howes

Non-UK orders

If stock is available for all post destinations, selecting any set of options will allow you to place your order immediately.

If stock is limited, for example with a single copy of a second-hand book, it will be assigned to UK stock. If you require posting to an address outside the UK, selecting your options may not allow an order to be placed, even though stock is available. If this is the case, please contact us to enable the options you require.

Please see our FAQs relating to deliveries, and the Delivery page linked from the bottom of each page, before placing your order if time is an important element for your order.


We regret that due to the volatility of Royal Mail postage charges, we have been forced to remove the option for two-year subscriptions. We have also been forced to remove the option for economy mail to the EU, given indications that Royal Mail intends to remove this service.

All international mail is now being despatched in paper wrapping using Royal Mail customs and address labels mandated by them. We also regret this means we can no longer indicate the last issue of your subscription on the mailing sheet or supply a reminder to renew with the final edition. Please track your own subscription ending or check with us at any time. Subscriptions begun since September 2021 have a comment added in your account (under the tab for the order) which records the final issue to be supplied.


On 1 July 2021 the EU removed all exemptions for tax and customs duty on low value items posted from the UK to the EU, meaning that although VAT is 0% on books and magazines in the UK, it is charged within the EU and the VAT (potentially plus a handling fee) now apply to all orders to the EU.

Ideally, the VAT should be paid at the point of posting, but doing so requires registration with an agent to handle the payments, and this is incredibly expensive and not financially viable. To be clear, all small publishers in the UK are in the same position and we are unable to post any items to the EU with VAT or other duties paid.

Ordering any item from Wild Places, including a Descent subscription, requires that you accept responsibility of paying the VAT and any other local charges on delivery.

To be clear: Wild Places will NOT cover any charges levied by your country; it is your responsibility to accept these when placing an order.

We apologise for the situation, but it is outside our control. We will maintain a link from the left-hand column on the home page with the latest updates. If you are an existing subscriber to Descent and have not replied yet to our enquiries concerning your deliveries, please make contact.

NOTE: Subscribers in Norway or Switzerland (which are outside the EU) should place your order on the Subscription International page or contact us first.


No customer reviews for the moment.

Write your review

To Photograph Darkness (second-hand)

The history and development of underground and flash photography, by Chris Howes

EU customers must read the notes under the Non-UK Orders tab before ordering

Write your review

16 other products in the same category:

Reference: CDD

Classic Darksite Diving

A guide to dive sites in caves and mines throughout Britain and Europe, by Martyn Farr Use the Updates tab to check for new access information before undertaking any dive

Price £27.50
Select from the options above

Reference: NC

Northern Caves

Northern Caves by Sam Allshorn and Paul SwireEU customers please read the notes under the Non-UK Orders tab before ordering

Price £33.00
Select from the options above

Reference: LA

The Last Adventure

Alan Thomas' collection of cave diving stories of exploration, published under the Ina Books imprint.

Price £6.00
Select from the options above

Reference: Bedside

A Bedside Book for Older Cavers

Cavers ... Folk with attitude. At least, any that are over seventy years old have attitude (of the good sort!), says John Gillett as he maintains a positive approach to life.

Price £9.75
Select from the options above

Reference: AU

Adventures Underground

A journey of exploration through the caves of the Yorkshire Dales, by Dave Haigh and John Cordingley. WINNER OF THE 2017 TRATMAN AWARD

Price £24.95
Out of Stock

Reference: Subterranea


Subterranea by Chris Fitch is subtitled 'Discovering the earth's extraordinary hidden depths'.EU customers please read the notes under the Non-UK Orders tab

Price £25.00
Select from the options above