Anna Atkins

British 🇬🇧 1799 - 1871

Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was an English botanist and photographer, recognized for being one of the first people to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. Having lost her mother early in life, Anna was raised by her father, a scientist, which allowed her unique access to scientific education and circles. She learned about photographic processes directly from William Henry Fox Talbot and Sir John Herschel. Atkins employed cyanotype, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print, to document botanical specimens, particularly algae, contributing significantly to the fields of botany and photography.

Anna Atkins's "Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions" (1843) is considered the first book to be illustrated with photographic images, marking a groundbreaking moment in the use of photography for scientific documentation and artistic expression.