Richard Leach Maddox (4 August 1816 – 11 May 1902) was an English photographer and physician who invented lightweight gelatin negative plates for photography in 1871.
Richard Leach Maddox was born at Bath, England, on 4 August 1816.
Long before his discovery of the dry gelatin photographic emulsion, Maddox was prominent in what was called photomicrography - photographing minute organisms under the microscope. The eminent photomicrographer of the day, Lionel S. Beale, included as a frontispiece images made by Maddox in his manual 'How to work with the Microscope'
Maddox freely gave his discovery to the world, saying (to W.J. Harrison, in a letter of 1887) that "[I had] no thought of bringing the subject into notice until it had been lifted from the cradle". Maddox, at the initial stage of invention, could probably produce only 'lantern slides' contact-copied from his microscope plates, the slow speed being impracticable for camera lens images.
It was these origins that led to the miniaturization and adaptability of photographic emulsions, and consequently paved the way for social and action photography and cinematography.