Ruskin's daguerreotypes

The Frenchman. Venice. The Grand Canal. The Casa d'Oro Under Restoration, 1845. Quarter-plate daguerreotype.

In 2006 a set of daguerreotypes which it was believed were once owned by, and in the main taken by, the 19th Century critic John Ruskin were sold at auction. Those images have now been published in a book and their provenance confirmed.

The pictures were taken in Italy, France and Switzerland around 1850. There are several of Venice, and what are believed to be the the earliest surviving photographs of the Alps.

Collectors Ken and Jenny Jacobson have spent years preserving the pictures which were purchased from the Cumbrian auction house Penrith Farmers' & Kidd's PLC for £75,000, from an original estimate of just £80.

Mr Jacobson described the find of the 188 previously unknown pictures as the most exciting of their career.

"We feel that the quality and unorthodox style of many of Ruskin's daguerreotypes will come as a major surprise to both photographic historians and those in the field of Ruskin scholarship.

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Halfway point in 24-year photo project


Every February the latest set of pictures from a 24-year-long series are exhibited in London and this year's set marks the halfway point.

The 24 photographers are each assigned an hour of the first day of the year in which to record an aspect of their lives. The original 24 met while studying at Central St Martin's in London and though they have gone their separate ways the project continues to unite them and their photography.

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Window-Shopping Through the Iron Curtain

Krakow, Poland, 1988, Three loaves of bread. Photograph by © David Hlynsky

Towards the end of the 1980s, the political map of the world began to change with the collapse of the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe and the battle of East v West seemingly over.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall saw thousands pour across the border from East Germany into the West, no doubt struck by the brash lights and shops full of just about everything you could dream of.

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Coast to coast across the US

American landscape

When photographer Charles Fox unexpectedly found himself heading to the US with his original plans in tatters, he decided to make the most of the opportunity and set out to travel coast to coast in that time honoured tradition of the photographic road trip.

Starting on the west coast, he spent five weeks making the journey. Sometimes he would linger in a particular state, at other times just pass through, the landscape little more than a blur through the window as he laid down the miles.

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At the pump

A worker prepares to fill a car at a gas station close to Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro

It is said that the world runs on oil, but according to some estimates there is only enough to last another 40 or so years. Others point out that there are plenty of other reserves yet to be exploited, and as technology improves we will be able to dig deeper and in more hostile locations, though there are of course environmental concerns with this.

Whatever the truth of it, the petrol pump can be found the world over. The process of filling up the family car, moped, lorry or whatever mode of transport you are using is much the same, and one likely to be with us for some time yet.

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Taking the plunge

A swimmer at Tooting Bec Lido

On a bright yet cold winter's day I can think of many things to do, and throwing myself into cold water is not one of them. Yet, around the globe there seems to be no end of volunteers to attempt this, and at the weekend about 650 swimmers of all ages and abilities took part in the sixth UK Cold Water Swimming Championships, at Tooting Bec Lido, in south London.

The challenge to competitors was to swim nearly 30m across the width of the Lido in water at about 3C. Photographer Nina Sologubenko went along to record the event and was drawn to the moment just before the swimmers took to the water.

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Picture power: Tear gas at Kenyan primary school

School children from the Lang'ata road primary school scramble up a bridge

Earlier this week, scenes of schoolchildren running away from tear gas fired by police in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, sparked condemnation and even a hashtag, #OccupyPlayGround.

Pupils at Lang'ata school were protesting at the loss of their playground. They had returned after a two-week teachers' strike to find it fenced off by a private developer. Agence France Press photographer Tony Karumba was on hand to record the demonstration and here he recalls the event.

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Instagram: The 'homeless' chief executive

Wheels of an aeroplane

Cillin Perera travels a lot. As the chief executive of a couple of companies, he is constantly moving from one place to another and, like many others, has turned to photography to record his journeys and keep in touch with family and friends.

He began taking pictures on his phone and rediscovered his love of photography, something he had not done since his days at Harvard in the late 1990s.

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Picture power: A sea of flashes

Helen Mirren arrives at the Weinstein Netflix after party

When film stars hit the red carpet you can be sure their every step will be captured on camera and the recent Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood were no exception. Reuters photographer Patrick Fallon was on hand to capture this picture of British actress Helen Mirren and here he talks about the story behind it.

I like this picture not only because it captures the essence of the scene on the carpet, the sea of flashes, but also because it was a little long-shot victory for me. Helen Mirren didn't walk the entire red carpet and only stopped at about the first photo position. I still had to take a picture though and this worked out nicely as I am always looking to create something different from the pack.

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Picture Power: Race for the cross

Bulgarians dive into the icy waters in Sofia as part of Epiphany Day celebrations

At the start of each year, the picture wires are always full of various events around the world marking the calendar change. One event held in Bulgaria each year to mark Epiphany was captured by Agence France Presse photographer Dimitar Dilkoff. Here, he offers his thoughts on the image.

"I've been shooting Epiphany celebrations in Bulgaria since 1993 with very few exceptions and I almost always shoot the plunge at this lake in Sofia.

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