Hermann Wilhelm Vogel

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Hermann Wilhelm Vogel, with his signature
Born March 26, 1834(1834-03-26)
Dobrilugk, Kingdom of Prussia
Died December 17, 1898(1898-12-17) (aged 64)
London, UK

Hermann Wilhelm Vogel (1834 – 1898) was a German chemist and photographer who discovered dye sensitization (1873), a pivotal contribution to the progress of photography. He was an influential teaching for photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whose classes and laboratory practice he attended at the Charlottenburg Polytechnic (Berlin) between 1882 and 1886.

Vogel’s work in photochemistry was well known in the 1880s. His discovery of "optical" or "color" sensitizers resulted in the introduction of orthochromatic film, which was sensitive to all colors, except the notoriously problematic red end of the spectrum.

Vogel studied at the Royal Industrial Institute of Berlin, earning his PhD in 1863. Vogel's thesis, which was published in Poggendorffs Annalen had the title: Über das Verhalten des Chlorsilbers, Bromsilbers und Iodsilbers im Licht und die Theorie der Photographie (Reactions of Silver Chloride, Silver Bromide and Silver Iodide with Light and the Theory of Photography). This marked the beginning of his research in the photographic process.

From 1860 until 1865, he was an assistant in the mineralogical museum of the University of Berlin, and from 1884 was director of the photo-technical laboratory of the Technical Institute there. From 1864 he was a professor at Berlin's Technische Hochschule (from 1879, the Technical University of Berlin), where he introduced photography as a field of study.

Vogel participated in at least two photographic expeditions to Egypt and Italy and he founded the periodical Photographische Mittheilungen in 1864 and served as its publisher until his death.


  • Vogel's thesis, 1863.
  • Lehrbuch der Photographie, Berlin, 1878.
  • Die chemischen Wirkungen des Lichts und die Photographie, Leipzig, 1883.
  • "The Chemistry of Light and Photography", in Their Application to Art, Science, and Industry, New York: D. Appleton, 1889.