Spirit Photography in the Early Twentieth Century
Spirit photography was moving out of the studio and into the séance room with the advent of flash photography. But photographers like William Hope were still bringing clients into his studio for a spirit portrait session. Hope’s career as a spirit photographer began after photographing a friend for a portrait session. The resulting photograph showed a spirit had intruded in their photo session. His ability to channel the spirits drew quite a bit of attention. He amassed a following of fellow spiritualists called the Crewe Circle and declared himself their leader. After all, he could prove his ability to capture spirits. Despite claims of fraud and trickery, Hope’s spirit photography allowed people to connect with departed loved ones, a particularly poignant market after so much loss in World War I and the influenza epidemic.