Alfred Barber was taking daguerreotypes in Southampton in 1847. Even though he only worked briefly in the town, he passed through the port on his way to and from the Channel Islands in the early 1840s. At this time John F Goddard was taking daguerreotypes in Southampton. Daguerreotypes were expensive to produce, and to buy, so early portrait photographers had to actively seek clients who could afford to buy their work. Consequently they stayed in each place for a relatively short time before moving on to look for new customers.
Having paid an enormous sum for a license, Barber set up a daguerreotype studio in Nottingham in 1841. Barber must have been struggling to pay the licence fee as in 1843 the business failed. The owner of the sole rights to use the daguerreotype process in the UK, (Richard Beard), sued Barber over his failure to pay the last instalments on the license. He also took legal action to stop Barber using the process.
Barber was forced to close the Nottingham studio, but undeterred he set off for the Channel Islands where the patent restrictions to take daguerreotypes were not so strictly applied. There was a busy summer tourist trade from Southampton to the Channel Islands, and a significant ex pat population. Because he did not have to cover the exorbitant patent fees, he could charge less and so was able to make a reasonable living.
In 1846 Barber was taking portraits in Winchester. The following year he and John Goddard opened a studio in Southampton together at 48 Above Bar. Barber then returned to Winchester, and settled in Bristol in later years, where he died in 1884.
Sources: Turley, R V. (2001).Isle of Wight Photographers 1840-1940. Southampton:University of Southampton Libraries
Photohistory-sussex.co.uk. (2017). Sussex PhotoHistory. [online] Available at: http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/