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Father Browne - Photographer on the Titanic

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Titanic enthusiasts have many reasons to thank Father Frank Browne. Not only him, but his superior who summoned him back to his duties rather than permitting him to complete Titanic’s voyage. During his short time on board Titanic, the 32 year old Jesuit priest captured some of the most enduring and iconic images of the ship, images upon which our modern-day knowledge of the interior of Titanic and the atmosphere on board are based. Father Browne’s recall to base saved this invaluable Titanic photographic collection from a watery grave.

Father Browne was so much more than an amateur snapper. The composition of his pictures is on a par with RJ Welch, the official photographer for Harland and Wolff who chronicled Titanic’s early life during construction in Belfast. The fact that he has captured real people going about their business on board ship, and that the majority of those people were dead a few days later gives huge resonance to the photographs he took during those few days.

He knew the value of what he had captured. In the Spring of 1913 he contacted the White Star Line’s advertising department to seek permission to use photographs and further materials in his lectures on Titanic. The reply he received is astonishing. “We shall be glad to obtain photographs of the illustrations to which you allude in the Olympic booklet but shall appreciate it if in any lectures you deliver you will abstain from any reference to the Titanic as you will easily understand we do not wish the memory of this calamity to be perpetuated.” As it transpired, a good story could not be kept down and Father Browne’s pictures were central to its telling over the last century.

Watch our video to find out about Father Browne and his amazing collection of Titanic photographs, taken onboard Titanic in 1912

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User Comments 13

Did the one who told Fr. Browne to get off of the ship ever say why he told him to do that? I think that would be an interesting story as well...
Kathy 10 March 2012
What a wonderful clip. The photos are so emotive!
Delyth Morgan 17 February 2012
Very good film and super pics. Anythingon this ship always brings tears.
Jeri 17 February 2012
Thank you all so very much for sharing Fr. Browne's pictures as well as the last minutes of that beautiful liner!!
Kathy Dunn 17 February 2012
I feel as though I am a part of The Titanic
Bernadette 30 December 2011
I feel as though I am a part of The Titanic
Bernadette 30 December 2011
Looking at the pictures is just awesome! I love everything about the Titanic. To think that some of the people and children in the pictures may have perished. The pictures of the people in the Titanic deaths section is so sad it brings a lump to your throat. When you sit looking at them, surrounded by your family and your children, you realise how precious they are. Make the most of it, life's too short. I think it's thanks to Father Frank that he has captured them, and those moments in time will live on!
Caz Hannan 25 August 2011
Wow. It's amazing that there was a lady that looked so much like Kate Winslet and role she played as Rose. Almost eerie. Same goes for the picture of Jack.
Sherry 24 August 2011
I am in tears. Thank you Father Browne.
Tom Noir 24 August 2011
Always enjoy learning all about the Titanic. Thank you.
patti mcdaniel 24 August 2011
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