History of photography
From the outset, photography served the press. Within weeks after
the French government’s announcement of the process in 1839,
magazines were publishing woodcuts or lithographs with the byline
“from a daguerreotype.” In fact, the two earliest illustrated
weeklies—The Illustrated London News, which started in May 1842, and
L’Illustration, based in Paris from its first issue in March
1843—owe their origin to the same cultural forces that made possible
the invention of photography. Early reproductions generally carried
little of the conviction of the original photograph, however.
Photography as an adjunct of war reportage began when Roger
Fenton sailed from London to the Crimea to photograph the war
between England, Russia, and Turkey in 1855. He was sent to provide
visual evidence to counter the caustic written reports dispatched by
William Russell, war correspondent for The Times of London,
criticizing military mismanagement and the inadequate, unsanitary
living conditions of the soldiers. Despite the difficulties of
developing wet-collodion plates with impure water, in high
temperatures, and under enemy fire, during his four-month stay
Fenton produced 360 photographs, the first large-scale camera
documentation of a war. Crimean War imagery was also captured by
British photographer James Robertson, who later traveled to India
with an associate, Felice Beato, to record the aftermath of the
Indian Mutiny of 1857–58.
When the Civil War broke out in the United States, Mathew B.
Brady, a New York City daguerreotypist and portraitist, conceived
the bold plan of making a photographic record of the hostilities.
When told the government could not finance such an undertaking, he
invested his own savings in the project, expecting to recover his
outlay by selling thousands of prints. Brady and his crew of about
20 photographers—among them Alexander Gardner and Timothy H.
O’Sullivan, who both left his employ in the midst of
hostilities—produced an amazing record of the battlefield. At his
New York gallery, Brady showed pictures of the dead at Antietam. The
New York Times reported on October 20, 1862:
Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the
terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought
bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has
done something very like it.…It seems somewhat singular that the
same sun that looked down on the faces of the slain, blistering
them, blotting out from the bodies all semblance to humanity, and
hastening corruption, should have thus caught their features upon
canvas, and given them perpetuity for ever. But so it is.
Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, intermittent
conflicts in Asia and Africa arising from imperialist ambitions were
documented by photographers working for news media and for companies
that manufactured stereographs. For the most part, war images were
accepted as truthful depictions of painful events. However, after
images of the Communard uprising in Paris in 1871 were shown to have
been doctored, the veracity of such camera documentation no longer
could be taken for granted.
Regular use of photographs in magazines began with the perfection
of the halftone process, which allowed the camera image to be
printed at the same time as the type and thereby reduced the cost of
reproduction. The first newspaper halftone in the United States
appeared in 1888, and shortly thereafter newspapers turned to
photography for reporting topical events, making the profession of
newspaper illustrator obsolete. Although technical advances improved
reproduction quality, apart from impressive examples of combat
photography, the subjects and styles of early journalistic
photography were generally unimaginative and dull.
Roger Fenton, (born 1819, Heywood, near Rochdale, Lancashire,
England—died August 8, 1869, London), English photographer best
known for his pictures of the Crimean War, which were the first
extensive photographic documents of a war.
Fenton studied painting and then law. Following a trip in 1851 to
Paris, where he probably visited with the photographer Gustave Le
Gray, he returned to England and was inspired to pursue photography.
In the winter of 1855 his governmental connections as the founder
(1853) and first honorary secretary of the Royal Photographic
Society helped him gain an appointment as official photographer of
the Crimean War. Fenton and his assistant, Marcus Sparling, arrived
on the ship Hecla and set up their darkroom in a wagon. Using the
wet-collodion photographic process of the times, they took
approximately 360 photographs of the war. As an agent of the
government, however, Fenton portrayed only the “acceptable” parts of
the conflict. Even the disastrous charge of the Light Brigade—so
movingly recounted by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem of the same
name—was depicted as glorious. Although little of the real action or
agony of war was shown, the images were nevertheless the first to
depict the more mundane aspects of modern warfare.
Upon Fenton’s return to England, his war images were successfully
exhibited in London and Paris, and wood engravings of the
particularly notable photographs were printed in the Illustrated
London News. Fenton continued to photograph architecture and
landscapes until 1862, when he retired from photography and returned
to practicing law.
Marcus Sparling seated on Roger Fenton's photographic van,
Portraits on Paper: Collodion - Albumen
For commercial portraitists,
Frederick Scott Archer's invention of the collodion negative seemed
at first to solve all problems. The glass plate made possible both
sharp definition and easy duplication of numbers of prints on paper
from one negative, while the awkward chemical procedures that the
wet-plate process entailed were minimized in a studio setting.
Collodion opened up an era of commercial expansion, attracting to
the profession many pho-tographers who resorted to all manner of
inducements to entice sitters—among them elegantly appointed
studios; likenesses to be printed on porcelain, fabric, and other
unusual substances, as well as on paper; or set into jewelry;
photosculpture; and the most popular caprice of them all—the
But before public acceptance of
paper portraiture was established, photographers were occupied for a
number of years with a half-way process, in which the collodion
glass negative was used to create a one-of-a-kind image that was
less costly than the daguerreotype. While both Talbot and Archer had
been aware that a bleached or underexposed glass negative could be
converted to a positive by backing the glass with opaque material
(paper or fabric) or varnish, the patent for this anomaly was taken
out by an American, James Ambrose Cutting, in 1854. Called
ambrotypes in the United States and collodion positives in Great
Britain, these glass images were made in the same size as
daguerreotypes and were similarly treated— hand-colored, framed
behind glass, and housed in a slim case. In an unusual cultural lag,
Japanese photographers adopted and used this technique until the
turn of the century, long after it had been discarded in Europe and
the United States. Framed in traditional kiriwood boxes, the
portraits were commissioned by Japanese sitters rather than intended
for sale to foreign visitors.
Unknown Photographer (American). Untitled Portrait, c. 1858.
Ambrotype with backing partially removed to show positive and
Gemsheim Collection, Humanities Research Center, University of
By the mid-1850s, when this process
was supplanting the metal image in Europe (though not yet in the
United States), the case-making industry was expanding. The earliest
daguerreotypes had been enclosed in cases of papier mache or wood
covered with embossed paper or leather and usually were lined with
silk, in Europe and velvet in the United States, when they were not
encased in lockets, brooches, and watchcases. In 1854, the "union"
case was introduced. Made in the United States of a mixture of
sawdust and shellac, these early thermoplastic holders were exported
globally, eventually becoming available in a choice of about 800
different molded designs.
The tintype, even less expensive
than the ambrotype (to which it was technically similar), was
patented in 1856 by an American professor at Kenyon College in Ohio.
Like die daguerreotype, it was a one-of-a-kind image on a varnished
metal plate (iron instead of silvered copper) that had been coated
with black lacquer and sensitized collodion. Dull gray in tone
without the sheen of the mirrorlike daguerreotype, the tintype was
both lightweight and cheap, making it an ideal form for travelers
and Civil War soldiers, many of whom were pictured in their
encampments by roving photographers with wagon darkrooms.
The combination of a negative on
glass coated with sensitized collodion and a print on paper coated
with sensitized albumen—the collodion/albumen process— made
commercial portraiture possible on a previously undreamed-of scale,
despite the fact that the prints themselves were subject to fading
and discoloration. From the 1850s until the 1880s, studios in the
major capitals of the world invested in ever-more elegant and
unusual furnishings in order to attract a well-paying clientele. As
the display of status through attire and props grew more prominent,
the goal of revealing character became secondary, and portraits
often seemed merely to be topographies of face and body, "dull,
dead, unfeeling, inauspicious," as expressed in the words of the
The skillful handling of pose,
lighting, props, and decor visible in the works of the highly
regarded European portraitists Franz Hanfstaengl, Antoine Samuel
Adam-Salomon, and Camille Silvy became models for emulation.
Hanfstaengl, already renowned as a lithographer, opened a
photographic art studio in Munich in 1853. He soon won acclaim
internationally for the tasteful poses, modulated lighting, and
exceptional richness of his prints on toned albumen paper, as
exemplified by Man with Hat.
FRANZ HANFSTAENGL. Man with Hat, 1857. Salt print.
Agfa-Gevaert Foto-Historama, Cologne, Germany.
Hanfstaengl's earlier work—exhibited at the 1855 Exposition
Universelle in Paris, where it was criticized for extensive
retouching on the negative—is believed to have inspired Adam-Salomon
to change his profession from sculptor to photographer. The poses
(modeled on antique sculpture) preferred by Adam-Salomon and his
penchant for luxurious fabrics and props appealed to the
materialistic French bourgeoisie of the Second Empire. The
photographer's heavy hand with the retouching brush—the only thing
considered disagreeable about his work—is apparent in the lighter
tonality behind the figure in this image of his daughter.
ANTOINE SAMUEL ADAM-SALOMON. Portrait of a Girl, c. 1862.
Albumen print. Daniel Wolf, Inc., New York.
Besides attesting to the sitter's
status, props and poses could offer clues to personality, enriching
the image psychologically and visually. The oval picture frame used
coyly as a lorgnette and the revealing drapery in the portrait of
the Countess Castiglione by Louis Pierson, a partner in the Paris
studio of Mayer Brothers and Pierson, suggest the seductive
personality of Napoleon Ill's mistress (who was rumored to be an
Italian spy). Oscar Gustav Rejlander's portrait of Lewis Carroll
(the Reverend Charles L. Dodgson—pi. no. 57), which depicts the
author of Alice in Wonderland holding a lens and polishing cloth,
suggests through his expression and demeanor the sense of propriety
that Carroll believed he was bringing to his photography. This work
is one of Rejlander's numerous portraits, which include images of
friends as well as amusing views of himself, his female companion,
and the children who figured in the genre scenes for which he is
LOUIS PIERSON. Countess Castiglione, c. 1860.
Albumen print (previously attributed to Adolphe Braun).
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; David Hunter McAlpin Fund,
As studio photography preempted the
role of the portrait painter, the aesthetic standards of handmade
likenesses were embraced by the photographic portraitists. Manuals
appeared early in the daguerreotype era and continued through the
collodion period (and into the 20th century), giving directions for
appropriate dress and the correct colors to be worn to take
advantage of the limited sensitivity of daguerreotype and glass
plates. Included also were instructions for the proper attitudes
that sitters should assume when posing. Because the public still
believed that hand-painted portraits were more prestigious than
photographs, likenesses often were painted over in watercolors,
oils, or pastels, without entirely obliterating the underlying trace
of the camera image, as in a typical example from the studio of T.
Z. Vogel and C. Reichardt, in Venice.
Meanwhile, the professional
portrait painter, aware of the public appetite for exactitude, found
the photograph a convenient crutch, not just for copying the
features but actually for painting upon. Projection from glass
positives to canvas was possible as early as 1853; shortly
afterward, several versions of solar projection enlargers—including
one patented in 1857 by David Woodward, a professor of fine arts in
Baltimore—simplified enlargement onto sensitized paper and canvas.
When partially developed, the image could be completely covered with
paint—as X-rays have disclosed was the case in the life-size painted
portrait of Lincoln by Alexander Francois. This practice, common in
the last half of the 19th century, was not considered reprehensible
because in die view of many painters the role of photography was to
be the artist's helpmate in creative handwork. Although such
photographic "underpainting'' was rarely acknowledged, the desire
for verisimilitude on the part of painter and public and the hope
for artistic status on the part of the photographer resulted in a
hybrid form of portraiture—part photochemical and part handwork.
In 1844 Pierre-Louis Pierson began
operating a studio in Paris that specialized in hand-colored
daguerreotypes. In 1855 he entered into a partnership with Léopold
Ernest and Louis Frederic Mayer, who also ran a daguerreotype
studio. The Mayers had been named "Photographers of His Majesty the
Emperor" by Napoleon III the year before Pierson joined them.
Although the studios remained at separate addresses, Pierson and the
Mayers began to distribute their images under the joint title "Mayer
et Pierson," and together they became the leading society
photographers in Paris.
Pierson's 1861 photographs of the family and court of Napoleon III
sold very well to the public. Pierson and Leopold Mayer soon opened
another studio in Brussels, Belgium, and began photographing other
European royalty. After Mayer's retirement in 1878, Pierson went
into business with his son-in-law Gaston Braun, whose father was the
photographer Adolphe Braun.
LOUIS PIERSON. La comtesse de Castiglione
LOUIS PIERSON. La Normandie
LOUIS PIERSON. Reflet de Miroir de Police Vaurien
Profil dans la glace des deux bras de la Police
OSCAR GUSTAV REJLANDER. Lewis Carroll (Rev. Charles L. Dodgson),
Albumen print. Gernsheim Collection, Humanities Research Center,
University of Texas, Austin.
ALEXANDER FRANCOIS. Abraham Lincoln, n.d. Oil on canvas.
Collection George R. Rinhart.
Carte-de-visite and Celebrity
With the possibility of endless
replication from the collodion negative, it was only a matter of
time before a pocket-size paper portrait was devised. Suggestions
along this line, made by several photographers in Europe and the
United States, included the substitution of a likeness for the name
and address on a calling card—the traditional manner of introducing
oneself among middle- and upper-class gentry—and the affixing of
small portraits to licenses, passports, entry tickets, and other
documents of a social nature. However, Andre Adolphe Disderi, a
photographer of both portraits and genre scenes who also was active
in improving processes and formulating aesthetic standards, patented
the carte-de-visite portrait in 1854. This small image—3 1/2 x 21/2
inches, mounted on a slightly larger card—was produced by taking
eight exposures during one sitting, using an ingenious sliding plate
holder in a camera equipped with four lenses and a vertical and
horizontal septum. A full-length view of the figure in more natural
and relaxed positions became possible, and it was not necessary for
each pose to be exactly the same, as can be seen in an uncut sheet
of carte-de-visite portraits taken by Disderi.
The reasons why the carte portraits
became so enormously popular after 1859 are not entirely clear, but
for a considerable part of the next decade this inexpensive format
captured the public imagination in much the same way the stereograph
view had. Portrait studios every-where—in major cities and
provincial villages—turned out millions of full- and bust-length
images of working and trades people as well as of members of the
bourgeoisie and aristocracy'. These could be sold inexpensively
because unskilled labor cut the images apart after processing and
pasted them on mounts on which trademarks or logos of the maker
appeared either on the front of the card, discreetly placed below
the image, or on the reverse. Frequently, elaborate displays of type
and graphic art suggested the connections between photography and
painting. Backgrounds still included painted gardens, balustrades,
drapery swags, and furniture, but sitters also were posed against
undecoratcd walls, and vignetting—in which the background was
removed—was not uncommon. Adults displayed the tools of their trade,
the marks of their pro-fession, and the emblems of their rank;
children were shown with toys; and attention was paid to women's
attire and hair arrangements. Nevertheless, apart from the
informality of pose that imbues some of these images with a degree
of freshness, carte portraits offered little compass for an
imaginative approach to pose and lighting as a means of evoking
ANDRE ADOLFHE EUGENE DISDERI. Portrait of an Unidentified Woman, c.
Uncut albumen print from a carte-de-insite negative.
Gernsheim Collection, Humanities Research Center, University of
As their popularity continued,
famous works of art, well-known monuments, portraits of celebrities
and of fashionably attired women (at times pirated and reproduced
from other cartes rather than from the original collodion negative)
appeared on the market. That the wide dispersal of celebrity images
had consequences beyor that of a pleasant pastime can be seen in the
fact that already in the 1860s such images influenced the course of
a public career. Both the moderately gifted Jenny Lind and the
unexceptional Lola Montez became cult figures in the United States
largely owing to their promotion through carte portraits. Lincoln is
said to have ascribed his election to the Presidency at least in
part to Brady's carte of him when he still was an unknown, and both
the French and British Royal families permitted the sales of carte
portraits of themselves; on the death of Prince Albert, for example.
70,000 likenesses of Queen Victoria's consort were sold. Cartes also
took over the function formerly performed by lithographs and
engravings in popularizing types of female beauty and fashionable
attire. Silvy, a French photographer of artistic taste who in 1859
opened a studio in his lavishly decorated London residence,
specialized in posing his upper-class sitters in front of mirrors so
that the softly modulated lighting not only called attention to
attire and hairstyle—fore and aft, so to speak—but surrounded them
also with an aura of luxuriousness.
Cartes were avidly collected and
exchanged, with ornate albums and special holders manufactured to
satisfy the demand for gimmickry connected with the fad. This
activity received a boost from the enthusiasm of Queen Victoria, who
accumulated more than one hundred albums of portraits of European
royalty and distinguished personages. Indeed, the British royal
family was so taken with photography that they not only commissioned
numberless portraits but purchased genre images, sent photographs as
state gifts, underwrote photographic ventures, and were patrons of
The Photographic Society; in addition they installed a darkroom for
their own use in Windsor Castle. British and French monarchs
staunchly supported photography in general because it represented
progress in the chemical sciences, which was emblematic of the
prosperity brought to their respective nations, and also because the
easily comprehended imagery accorded with the taste for
verisimilitude evinced by the middle class and their royal leaders.
SPENCER Y CIA. Chilean Ladies, n.d. Albumen print.
Neikrug Photographica, Ltd., New York.
During the 1860s, portrait studios
began to assemble a selection of individual likenesses on a single
print. Produced by pasting together and rephotographing heads and
portions of the torso from individual carte portraits, these
composites paid scant attention to congruences of size and lighting,
or to the representation of real-looking space. Designed as
advertising publicity to acquaint the public with the range and
quality of a particular studio's work, as in this example from the
studio of a portrait photographer in Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile,
the format was taken over as a means of producing thematic
composites of political or theatrical figures that might be sold or
given away as souvenirs.
One form of commercial exploitation
of portrait photography in Europe that did not fare as well as
cartes was called photosculpture. Invented by Francois Willeme in
France in 1860, this three-dimensional image was produced by a
company whose English branch briefly included the usually prudent
Claudet as artistic director. The procedure necessitated a large
circular studio in which 24 cameras were positioned to take
simultaneous exposures of a centrally placed sitter. These were
processed into lantern slides, projected, and traced in clay (or
wood in one adaptation) with a pantograph, theoretically insuring a
head start on exactitude for the sculptor. Despite royal patronage,
photosculpture had a short life, although every once in a while this
gimmick crops up again as an idea whose time has come.
UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (American).
Seventy Celebrated Americans Including All the Presidents, c. 1865.
Albumen print. Library Company of Philadelphia.
Editions of prints on paper in
sizes and formats other than cartes also were popular from the 1860s
on. Because the problems with albumen prints mentioned in Chapter I
never were completely solved, carbon printing—often referred to as
"permanent"—and Woodburytype reproduction were favored for the
production of celebrity likenesses that appeared in the "galleries"
and albums issued by photographers and publishers in western Europe
and the United States. Well-known examples arc Hanfstaengl's Album
der Zeitgnossen (Album of Contemporary Figures), portraits of German
scientists, writers, and artists; the British Gallery of
Photographic Portraits, undertaken by the studio of Joseph John
Elliott and Clarence Edmund Fry (who encountered refusals from
politicians who found their likenesses too realistic); and the
Galerie des contemporaines (Gallery of Contemporaries)—initiated in
1859 in Paris by Pierre Petit. This project was a precursor of the
highly regarded French series, Galerie contemporaine, litteraire,
artistique (Contemporary Gallery of Writers and Artists), published
intermittently by Goupil and Company between 1876 and 1884, to which
all the major portraitists of the period contributed. Less concerned
than most studio portraiture with fashionable decor and dress, this
collection was "physiognomic" in intent—to evoke the character of
the giants of French literar)' and artistic life through pose and
expression, as in the commanding presence projected in Etienne
Carjat's portrait of Victor Hugo. Other such publications catered to
the taste for elaborate decor, as in Adolphe Jean Francois Marin
Dallemagne's Galerie des artistes contemporaines (Gallery of
Contemporary Artists) of 1866, a group of 50 portraits of artists
shown posing in trompe l' oeil frames that are suggestive of the
conceits of baroque portrait painting.
ADOLPHE JEAN FRANCOIS MARIN DALLEMAGNE. Gallery of Contemporary
Artists, c. 1866.
Albumen prints assembled into Galerie des artistes contemporaines.
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
The best-known photographer of
French intellectual, literary, and artistic figures during the
collodion era is Gaspard Felix Tournachon, known as Nadar (see
Profile). His aim in portraiture was to seek, as he wrote, "that
instant of understanding that puts you in touch with the model—helps
you sum him up, guides you to his habits, his ideas, and character
and enables you to produce ... a really convincing and sympathetic
likeness, an intimate portrait." One example—a portrait of the young
Sarah Bernhardt in 1865—typifies Nadar's ability to organize the
baroque forms of drapery, a truncated classical column, and die
dramatic contrasts of hair and skin and still suggest character—in
this case both the theatricality and vulnerability of a young
actress who had just achieved her first stage success. As French art
critic Philippe Burty wrote of Nadar's entries exhibited at the
Sodete Frangaise de Photographic exhibition in 1859, "his portraits
arc works of art in every accepted sense of the word," adding that
"if photography is by no means a complete art, the photographer
always has the right to be an artist." Nadar's later output included
many unexceptional portraits of entertainers and modishly dressed
women, a direction necessitated by the demands of the middle class
for glamorous images that became even more marked when his son Paul
took control of the studio in the late 1880s. The style of Paul
Nadar's portrait of the royal mistress Lillie Langtry, like that of
contemporaries such as Charles and Emile Reutlinger whose firm began
to specialize in fashion photography in the same years, was oriented
toward evoking glamour by seductive pose, bland expression, and
attention to elegant attire.
REUTLINGER STUDIO. Mlle. Elven, 1883.
Albumen or gelatin silver print. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
PAUL NADAR (1856-1939). Lillie Langtry,
Gelatin silver print. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
NADAR (GASPARD FELIX TOURNACHON). Sarah Bernhardt, 1865.
Albumen print. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
Carte-de-visite and Celebrity
By the time collodion/albumen
photographs had begun to displace daguerreotypes and ambrotypes in
the United States, the Civil War had erupted, relegating portraiture
to a secondary place in the minds of many photographers. Brady,
whose Washington studio had been opened in 1858 to take advantage of
the concentration of political figures in the Capital, turned his
attention to war reportage, but continued to make portraits. In
addition, Lincoln, his family, the Cabinet members and the Army
generals all sat for other well-known portraitists, among them
Alexander Gardner, a former manager of Brady's Washington gallery
who took what may be the last likeness of the President in April,
1865, shortly before his assassination.
In the period after the Civil War,
besides cartes and cabinet-size images (approximately 4 x 5 1/2
inches, mounted on a slightly bigger card), larger formats called
Promenade, Boudoir, and Imperial Panel were introduced to appeal to
the newly rich bourgeoisie that had emerged. Fashionable portrait
studios in large cities, among them Fredericks, Gurney, Falk and
Kurtz in New York, Gutckunst in Philadelphia, and Bachrach in
Baltimore, served as pacesetters in terms of pose, decor, lighting,
and the manner of presenting the finished image. As in Europe, there
was a demand for images of theatrical and entertainment
personalities that was satisfied in the main by the New York studios
of Napoleon Sarony and his competitor Jose Mora. A prominent
lithographer before the War, Sarony made over 40,000 negatives of
celebrities, some of whom were paid extravagantly for the sitting.
The eclectic decor visible in his images of Sarah Bernhardt and
strongman Eugene Sandow necessitated a large collection of fusty
props and led to a reference to his studio as a "dumping ground .. .
for unsaleable idols, tattered tapestry and indigent crocodiles."
Alexander Gardner (1821
Alexander Gardner was an
American photographer. He is best known for his photographs
of the American Civil War and his portraits of American
President Abraham Lincoln.
Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1821. He became an
apprentice silversmith jeweler at the age of fourteen.
Gardner had a Calvinist upbringing and was influenced by the
work of Robert Owen, Welsh socialist and father of the
cooperative movement. By adulthood he desired to create a
cooperative in the United States that would incorporate
socialist values. In 1850, Gardner and others purchased land
near Monona, Iowa, for this purpose, but Gardner never lived
there, choosing to return to Scotland to raise more money.
He stayed there until 1856, becoming owner and editor of the
Glasgow Sentinel in 1851. Visiting The Great Exhibition in
1851 in Hyde Park, London, he saw the photography of
American Mathew Brady, and thus began his interest in the
Gardner and his family moved to the United States in 1856.
Finding that many friends and family members at the
cooperative he had helped to form were dead or dying of
tuberculosis, he stayed in New York. He initiated contact
with Brady and came to work for him, eventually managing
Brady's Washington, D.C., gallery.
Unfortunately, the most famous of Gardner's work has been
proven to be a fake. In 1961, Frederic Ray of the Civil War
Times magazine compared several of Gardner's photos showing
Confederate snipers and realized that the same body has been
photographed in multiple locations. Apparently, Gardner was
not satisfied with the subject matter as it was presented to
him and dragged the body around to create his own version of
reality. Ray's analysis was expanded on by the author
William Frassanito in 1975.
Abraham Lincoln became an American President in the
November, 1860 election, and along with his appointment came
the threat of war. Gardner, being in Washington, was
well-positioned for these events, and his popularity rose as
a portrait photographer, capturing the visages of soldiers
leaving for war.
Brady had had the idea to photograph the Civil War.
Gardner's relationship with Allan Pinkerton (who was head of
an intelligence operation that would become the Secret
Service) was the key to communicating Brady's ideas to
Lincoln. Pinkerton recommended Gardner for the position of
chief photographer under the jurisdiction of the U.S.
Topographical Engineers. Following that short appointment,
Gardner became a staff photographer under General George B.
McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac. At this
point, Gardner's management of Brady's gallery ended. The
honorary rank of captain was bestowed upon Gardner, and he
photographed the Battle of Antietam in September 1862,
developing photos in his traveling darkroom.
Gardner worked for the photographer Mathew Brady from 1856
to 1862. According to a New York Times review, Gardner has
often had his work misattributed to Brady, and despite his
considerable output, historians have tended to give Gardner
less than full recognition for his documentation of the
Lincoln dismissed McClellan from command of the Army of the
Potomac in November 1862, and Gardner’s role as chief army
photographer diminished. About this time, Gardner ended his
working relationship with Brady, probably in part because of
Brady's practice of attributing his employees' work as
"Photographed by Brady". That winter, Gardner followed
General Ambrose Burnside, photographing the Battle of
Fredericksburg. Next, he followed General Joseph Hooker. In
May 1863, Gardner and his brother James opened their own
studio in Washington, D.C, hiring many of Brady's former
staff. Gardner photographed the Battle of Gettysburg (July
1863) and the Siege of Petersburg (June 1864–April 1865)
during this time.
He published a two-volume work: Gardner's Photographic
Sketch Book of the Civil War in 1866. Each volume contained
50 hand-mounted original prints. Not all photographs were
Gardner's; he credited the negative producer and the
positive print printer. As the employer, Gardner owned the
work produced, like any modern day studio. The sketchbook
contained work by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, James F. Gibson,
John Reekie, William R. Pywell, James Gardner (his brother),
John Wood, George N. Barnard, David Knox and David Woodbury
among others. A century later, photographic analysis
suggested that Gardner had manipulated the setting of at
least one of his Civil War photos by moving a soldier's
corpse and weapon into more dramatic positions.
Among his photographs of Abraham Lincoln were the last to be
taken of the President, four days before his assassination.
He also documented Lincoln's funeral, and photographed the
conspirators involved (with John Wilkes Booth) in Lincoln's
assassination. Gardner was the only photographer allowed at
their execution by hanging, photographs of which would later
be translated into woodcuts for publication in Harper's
Gardner was commissioned to photograph Native Americans who
came to Washington to discuss treaties; and he surveyed the
proposed route of the Kansas Pacific railroad to the Pacific
Ocean. Many of his photos were stereoscopic. After 1871,
Gardner gave up photography and helped to found an insurance
company. Gardner stayed in Washington until his death.
ALEXANDER GARDNER. Abraham Lincoln,
Albumen print. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Alexander Gardner was an American
photographer. He is best known for his photographs of the American
Civil War and his portraits of American President Abraham Lincoln.
Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1821. He became an
apprentice silversmith jeweler at the age of fourteen. Gardner had a
Calvinist upbringing and was influenced by the work of Robert Owen,
Welsh socialist and father of the cooperative movement. By adulthood
he desired to create a cooperative in the United States that would
incorporate socialist values. In 1850, Gardner and others purchased
land near Monona, Iowa, for this purpose, but Gardner never lived
there, choosing to return to Scotland to raise more money. He stayed
there until 1856, becoming owner and editor of the Glasgow Sentinel
in 1851. Visiting The Great Exhibition in 1851 in Hyde Park, London,
he saw the photography of American Mathew Brady, and thus began his
interest in the subject.
Gardner and his family moved to the United States in 1856. Finding
that many friends and family members at the cooperative he had
helped to form were dead or dying of tuberculosis, he stayed in New
York. He initiated contact with Brady and came to work for him,
eventually managing Brady's Washington, D.C., gallery.
Unfortunately, the most famous of Gardner's work has been proven to
be a fake. In 1961, Frederic Ray of the Civil War Times magazine
compared several of Gardner's photos showing Confederate snipers and
realized that the same body has been photographed in multiple
locations. Apparently, Gardner was not satisfied with the subject
matter as it was presented to him and dragged the body around to
create his own version of reality. Ray's analysis was expanded on by
the author William Frassanito in 1975.
ALEXANDER GARDNER. Lincoln and John Alexander McClernand, visiting
the Antietam battlefield, 1862
Abraham Lincoln became an American President in the November, 1860
election, and along with his appointment came the threat of war.
Gardner, being in Washington, was well-positioned for these events,
and his popularity rose as a portrait photographer, capturing the
visages of soldiers leaving for war.
Brady had had the idea to photograph the Civil War. Gardner's
relationship with Allan Pinkerton (who was head of an intelligence
operation that would become the Secret Service) was the key to
communicating Brady's ideas to Lincoln. Pinkerton recommended
Gardner for the position of chief photographer under the
jurisdiction of the U.S. Topographical Engineers. Following that
short appointment, Gardner became a staff photographer under General
George B. McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac. At this
point, Gardner's management of Brady's gallery ended. The honorary
rank of captain was bestowed upon Gardner, and he photographed the
Battle of Antietam in September 1862, developing photos in his
Gardner worked for the photographer Mathew Brady from 1856 to 1862.
According to a New York Times review, Gardner has often had his work
misattributed to Brady, and despite his considerable output,
historians have tended to give Gardner less than full recognition
for his documentation of the Civil War.
ALEXANDER GARDNER. Middle bridge over Antietam Creek, September 1862
Lincoln dismissed McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac
in November 1862, and Gardner’s role as chief army photographer
diminished. About this time, Gardner ended his working relationship
with Brady, probably in part because of Brady's practice of
attributing his employees' work as "Photographed by Brady". That
winter, Gardner followed General Ambrose Burnside, photographing the
Battle of Fredericksburg. Next, he followed General Joseph Hooker.
In May 1863, Gardner and his brother James opened their own studio
in Washington, D.C, hiring many of Brady's former staff. Gardner
photographed the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) and the Siege of
Petersburg (June 1864–April 1865) during this time.
He published a two-volume work: Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book
of the Civil War in 1866. Each volume contained 50 hand-mounted
original prints. Not all photographs were Gardner's; he credited the
negative producer and the positive print printer. As the employer,
Gardner owned the work produced, like any modern day studio. The
sketchbook contained work by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, James F. Gibson,
John Reekie, William R. Pywell, James Gardner (his brother), John
Wood, George N. Barnard, David Knox and David Woodbury among others.
A century later, photographic analysis suggested that Gardner had
manipulated the setting of at least one of his Civil War photos by
moving a soldier's corpse and weapon into more dramatic positions.
Among his photographs of Abraham Lincoln were the last to be taken
of the President, four days before his assassination. He also
documented Lincoln's funeral, and photographed the conspirators
involved (with John Wilkes Booth) in Lincoln's assassination.
Gardner was the only photographer allowed at their execution by
hanging, photographs of which would later be translated into
woodcuts for publication in Harper's Weekly.
Gardner was commissioned to photograph Native Americans who came to
Washington to discuss treaties; and he surveyed the proposed route
of the Kansas Pacific railroad to the Pacific Ocean. Many of his
photos were stereoscopic. After 1871, Gardner gave up photography
and helped to found an insurance company. Gardner stayed in
Washington until his death.
ALEXANDER GARDNER. Hanging at Washington Arsenal; Hooded Bodies of
the Four Conspirators; Crowd Departing, Washington, D.C, July 7,
Albumen print. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman
House, Rochester, N.Y.
ALEXANDER GARDNER. A Harvest of Death
ALEXANDER GARDNER. Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Gettysburg
ALEXANDER GARDNER. A Burial Party, Cold Harbor, Virginia
ALEXANDER GARDNER. Many Horses, a Teton Lakota, photographed in 1872
(1821 – 1896) was an American
lithographer and photographer. He was a highly popular and prolific
portrait photographer, most known for his portraits of the stars of
late 19th century American theater.
Sarony was born in Quebec in 1821 and moved to New York City around
1836. He worked as an illustrator for Currier and Ives before
joining with James Major and starting his own lithography business,
Sarony & Major, in 1843. In 1845, James Major was replaced by Henry
B. Major in Sarony & Major and it continued operating under that
name until 1853. From 1853 to 1857, the firm was known as Sarony and
Company, and from 1857 to 1867, as Sarony, Major & Knapp. Sarony
left the firm in 1867 and established a photography studio at 37
Union Square, during a time when celebrity portraiture was a popular
fad. Photographers would pay their famous subjects to sit for them,
and then retain full rights to sell the pictures. Sarony reportedly
paid famed stage actress Sarah Bernhardt $1,500 to pose for his
camera, the equivalent of more than $20,000 today.
One of Sarony's portraits of writer Oscar Wilde became the subject
of a U.S. Supreme Court case, Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v.
Sarony 111 U.S. 53(1884), in which the Court upheld the extension of
copyright protection to photographs. Sarony sued Burrow-Giles after
it used unauthorized lithographs of Oscar Wilde No. 18 in an
advertisement, and won a judgment for $610 (the modern equivalent of
just over $12,000) that was affirmed on appeal by the Second Circuit
Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Sarony later photographed
the Supreme Court itself, to celebrate the centennial of the federal
judiciary in 1890.
Sarony was married twice. His first wife died in 1858; his second,
Louie, reportedly shared his tendency towards eccentricity and
preference for outlandish dress. She rented elaborate costumes that
she wore during her daily afternoon walk through Washington Square,
wearing them once before returning them.
NAPOLEON SARONY. Sarah Bernhardt
NAPOLEON SARONY. Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra
NAPOLEON SARONY. Sarah Bernhardt Lounging
NAPOLEON SARONY. Entertainer Lottie Collins
NAPOLEON SARONY. Lillie Langtry Tiger Rug Portrait
NAPOLEON SARONY. Actress Dame Marie Tempest Portrait
NAPOLEON SARONY. Oscar Wilde Full Length Standing Portrait
NAPOLEON SARONY. Oscar Wilde
NAPOLEON SARONY. Oscar Wilde
NAPOLEON SARONY. Oscar Wilde
NAPOLEON SARONY. Oscar Wilde
NAPOLEON SARONY. Actress Minnie Maddern Fiske Portrait
NAPOLEON SARONY. Actress Wrapped in a Blanket During a "Snowstorm"
NAPOLEON SARONY. Victorian Bodybuilder Eugen Sandow
During the last 40 years of the
19th century, portraiture expanded more rapidly in the
less-industrialized portions of Europe, and in Australia, India,
China, Japan, Mexico, and South America. Owing to the fact that
owners of commercial studios in provincial towns frequently served a
clientele drawn from all classes, they sometimes produced extensive
documentations not only of physiognomies but of social and
psychological attitudes. One such example is the large output of
portraits by Danish photographer Heinrich Tonnics, working in
Aalborg from the 1860s into the 1900s, which includes some 750
portraits of working people attired in the garments and displaying
the tools of their occupations. Despite the formality of the poses
in studio settings, these images are not merely descriptive but
suggest prevailing attitudes toward work on the part of both
photographer and sitters. In some localities, patriots saw the
camera as a means of emphasizing ethnic or national origin. A fine
line may separate the portrait taken by Polish photographer Awit
Szubert of his wife in native dress from many similar images of
locally costumed figures that were made and sold in carte and
cabinet size for the tourist trade, but even in some of these images
a sense of national pride is discernible.
HEINRICH TONNIES. Four Young Blacksmiths, c. 1881.
Modern gelatin silver print from original negative.
Formerly collection Alexander Alland, North Salem, N.Y.
AWIT SZUBERT. Amelia Szubert, c. 1875.
Albumen print. Collection Konrad Pollesch, Cracow;
International Center of Photography, New York.
Besides playing a role in the
development of cultural nationalism in Europe, portraits also
reflected the rising interest in anthropology, In the western
hemisphere, early manifestations of the interest in native types
included portraits of individual members of the Indian tribes
indigenous to the West, made in the course of the land surveys and
explorations that followed the end of the Civil War. In the wake of
these expeditions, several frontier studios opened their doors to
Native American sitters, among them that of Will Soule, in Fort
Sill, Oklahoma, which specialized in commercial portrayals of
individuals posed formally in front of painted backdrops, as in an
1868 photograph titled simply Brave in War Dress. In South America,
Marc Ferrez, the best-known Brazilian photographer of the 19th
century, photographed Indians of the Amazon region while on
expeditions to the interior in the mid-1870s; in the same years
strong interest in images of indigenous peoples prompted studios in
Australia to photograph the Aborigines of the region.
WILL SOULE. Brave in War Dress, c.
Albumen print. Western History Collection,
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
Camera Portraits in Asia
The introduction of portrait
photography in the Far East coincided with changes from insular
traditionalism to the acceptance of modern ideas in science,
symbolized by the 1854 American diplomatic ultimatum that Japan be
opened to the West; indeed, the ideographs used to denote photograph
in Japanese (shashin) literally mean "copy truth." The first
portrait daguerreotypes made in that country appear to be those by
Eliphalet Brown, Jr., American artist and photographer attached to
Commodore Matthew Perry's expedition to Japan, but experimentation
with the daguerreotype process had been going on since 1848 when a
Nagasaki merchant imported the first camera.
However, successful daguerreotypes
by Japanese photographers were not made until 1857, only a year
before the first collodion portraits by a Japanese photographer. As
shown in a woodblock print of 1861, French Couple with a Camera,
photographers working in Japan during the early period were
foreigners who not only provided views and portraits but taught the
process to the Japanese. Apparently by the mid- to late-'70s they
were so successful that professional studios were opened in all the
major cities of Japan, with more than 100 in the Tokyo area alone;
even the unapproachable royal family permitted members to sit for
French Couple with a Camera Color woodblock print.
Agfa-Gevaert Foto-Historama, Cologne, Germany.
Although China remained isolated
from Western ideas of progress longer than Japan, photographers from
the West began to make portraits there, too, during the 1860s. Among
the succession of foreigners, Milton Miller, a Californian who ran a
studio in Hong Kong in the early 1860s, made formally posed yet
sensitive portraits of Cantonese merchants, Mandarins, and their
families, while the Scottish photographer John Thomson photographed
workers and peasants as well, including their portraits in his
ambitious four-volume work Illustrations of China and Its People,
published in England in 1873/74. It is thought that native Chinese
photographers were introduced to photography when they were employed
during the 1850s as copyists and colorists in the Hong Kong studios
run by foreigners, but while some 20 native studios with Chinese
names are known, little else has been discovered about these
portraists. The studio of Afong Lai appears to have been the most
stable of the native-owned commercial enterprises, lasting from 1859
on into the 20th century and with the artistry of its work acclaimed
On the Indian subcontinent,
however, photography in all its varieties, including portraiture,
was promoted by the British occupying forces and eagerly taken up by
Indian businessmen and members of the ruling families. Commercial
firms owned by Indian photographers, individuals appointed by the
courts, and those working in bazaars began to appear in large cities
after the 1860s in order to supply the British and Indian ruling
class with images of themselves. The most renowned enterprise was
that started by Lala Deen Dayal, owner of studios in Indore, Bombay,
and Hyderabad from the 1880s on, who became court photographer to
the nizam of Hyderabad. Many portraits made in India during this
period were painted over in the traditional decorative style of
Indian miniatures, just as in the West painted camera portraits were
treated naturalistically. This attitude toward the photographic
portrait in India has led to the suggestion that the camera itself
was used in a different fashion than in the West, that Indian
photographers were somehow able to avoid the representation of space
and dimensionality even before die paint was added. However,
allowing for obvious differences in pose, dress, and studio decor,
Indian photographic portraits that were not painted over do not seem
remarkably different from the general run of commercial portraiture
The Portrait as Personal Expression
Alongside the likenesses produced
by commercial studios, a more intimate style of portraiture
developed in the work of amateurs-—men and women in mostly
comfort-able circumstances who regarded photography as an agreeable
pastime but did not make their living from it. During the 1860s and
'70s this group—which included Olympe Count Aguado and Paul Gaillard
on the Continent and Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Cosmo
Innes, and Clementina, Lady Hawarden, in Britain-—used the collodion
process to portray family and associates, at times in elaborately
casual poses, in actual domestic interiors and real gardens. When
Carroll photographed his artistic and intellectual friends and their
children, he favored the discreet and harmonious arrangements seen
in his grouping of the Liddell sisters—Edith, Lorina, and Alice. At
the same time, his stress on the virginal beauty of these young
sitters reflects an ambivalence that embraced ideals of feminine
innocence and his own deep-seated sexual needs.
Carroll - photographer
pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (born Jan. 27,
1832, Daresbury, Cheshire, Eng.—died Jan. 14, 1898,
Guildford, Surrey), English logician, mathematician,
photographer, and novelist, especially remembered for
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel,
Through the Looking-Glass (1871). His poem The Hunting
of the Snark (1876) is nonsense literature of the
Dodgson was the eldest
son and third child in a family of seven girls and four
boys born to Frances Jane Lutwidge, the wife of the Rev.
Charles Dodgson. He was born in the old parsonage at
Daresbury. His father was perpetual curate there from
1827 until 1843, when he became rector of Croft in
Yorkshire—a post he held for the rest of his life
(though later he became also archdeacon of Richmond and
a canon of Ripon cathedral).
The Dodgson children,
living as they did in an isolated country village, had
few friends outside the family but, like many other
families in similar circumstances, found little
difficulty in entertaining themselves. Charles from the
first showed a great aptitude for inventing games to
amuse them. With the move to Croft when he was 12 came
the beginning of the “Rectory Magazines,” manuscript
compilations to which all the family were supposed to
contribute. In fact, Charles wrote nearly all of those
that survive, beginning with Useful and Instructive
Poetry (1845; published 1954) and following with The
Rectory Magazine (c. 1850, mostly unpublished), The
Rectory Umbrella (1850–53), and Mischmasch (1853–62;
published with The Rectory Umbrella in 1932).
Dodgson attended Richmond School, Yorkshire (1844–45),
and then proceeded to Rugby School (1846–50). He
disliked his four years at public school, principally
because of his innate shyness, although he was also
subjected to a certain amount of bullying; he also
endured several illnesses, one of which left him deaf in
one ear. After Rugby he spent a further year being
tutored by his father, during which time he matriculated
at Christ Church, Oxford (May 23, 1850). He went into
residence as an undergraduate there on Jan. 24, 1851.
LEWIS CARROLL. Edith, Lorina and Alice Liddell
Dodgson excelled in his
mathematical and classical studies in 1852; on the
strength of his performance in examinations, he was
nominated to a studentship (called a scholarship in
other colleges). In 1854 he gained a first in
mathematical Finals—coming out at the head of the
class—and proceeded to a bachelor of arts degree in
December of the same year. He was made a “Master of the
House” and a senior student (called a fellow in other
colleges) the following year and was appointed lecturer
in mathematics (the equivalent of today’s tutor), a post
he resigned in 1881. He held his studentship until the
end of his life.
As was the case with
all fellowships at that time, the studentship at Christ
Church was dependent upon his remaining unmarried, and,
by the terms of this particular endowment, proceeding to
holy orders. Dodgson was ordained a deacon in the Church
of England on Dec. 22, 1861. Had he gone on to become a
priest he could have married and would then have been
appointed to a parish by the college. But he felt
himself unsuited for parish work and, though he
considered the possibility of marriage, decided that he
was perfectly content to remain a bachelor.
with children grew naturally enough out of his position
as an eldest son with eight younger brothers and
sisters. He also suffered from a bad stammer (which he
never wholly overcame, although he was able to preach
with considerable success in later life) and, like many
others who suffer from the disability, found that he was
able to speak naturally and easily to children. It is
therefore not surprising that he should begin to
entertain the children of Henry George Liddell, dean of
Christ Church. Alice Liddell and her sisters Lorina and
Edith were not, of course, the first of Dodgson’s child
friends. They had been preceded or were overlapped by
the children of the writer George Macdonald, the sons of
the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and various other chance
acquaintances. But the Liddell children undoubtedly held
an especially high place in his affections—partly
because they were the only children in Christ Church,
since only heads of houses were free both to marry and
to continue in residence.
Properly chaperoned by
their governess, Miss Prickett (nicknamed “Pricks”—“one
of the thorny kind,” and so the prototype of the Red
Queen in Through the Looking-Glass), the three little
girls paid many visits to the young mathematics lecturer
in his college rooms. As Alice remembered in 1932, they
used to sit on the big
sofa on each side of him, while he told us stories,
illustrating them by pencil or ink drawings as he went
along . . . . He seemed to have an endless store of
these fantastical tales, which he made up as he told
them, drawing busily on a large sheet of paper all the
time. They were not always entirely new. Sometimes they
were new versions of old stories; sometimes they started
on the old basis, but grew into new tales owing to the
frequent interruptions which opened up fresh and
LEWIS CARROLL. Alice Liddell, 1959
On July 4, 1862,
Dodgson and his friend Robinson Duckworth, fellow of
Trinity, rowed the three children up the Thames from
Oxford to Godstow, picnicked on the bank, and returned
to Christ Church late in the evening: “On which
occasion,” wrote Dodgson in his diary, “I told them the
fairy-tale of Alice’s Adventures Underground, which I
undertook to write out for Alice.” Much of the story was
based on a picnic a couple of weeks earlier when they
had all been caught in the rain; for some reason, this
inspired Dodgson to tell so much better a story than
usual that both Duckworth and Alice noticed the
difference, and Alice went so far as to cry, when they
parted at the door of the deanery, “Oh, Mr. Dodgson, I
wish you would write out Alice’s adventures for me!”
Dodgson himself recollected in 1887
how, in a desperate
attempt to strike out some new line of fairy-lore, I had
sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole, to begin
with, without the least idea what was to happen
Dodgson was able to
write down the story more or less as told and added to
it several extra adventures that had been told on other
occasions. He illustrated it with his own crude but
distinctive drawings and gave the finished product to
Alice Liddell, with no thought of hearing of it again.
But the novelist Henry Kingsley, while visiting the
deanery, chanced to pick it up from the drawing-room
table, read it, and urged Mrs. Liddell to persuade the
author to publish it. Dodgson, honestly surprised,
consulted his friend George Macdonald, author of some of
the best children’s stories of the period. Macdonald
took it home to be read to his children, and his son
Greville, aged six, declared that he “wished there were
60,000 volumes of it.”
LEWIS CARROLL. Alice Liddell
revised it for publication. He cut out the more
particular references to the previous picnic (they may
be found in the facsimile of the original manuscript,
later published by him as Alice’s Adventures Underground
in 1886) and added some additional stories, told to the
Liddells at other times, to make up a volume of the
desired length. At Duckworth’s suggestion he got an
introduction to John Tenniel, the Punch magazine
cartoonist, whom he commissioned to make illustrations
to his specification. The book was published as Alice’s
Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. (The first edition was
withdrawn because of bad printing, and only about 21
copies survive—one of the rare books of the 19th
century—and the reprint was ready for publication by
Christmas of the same year, though dated 1866.)
The book was a slow but
steadily increasing success, and by the following year
Dodgson was already considering a sequel to it, based on
further stories told to the Liddells. The result was
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There
(dated 1872; actually published December 1871), a work
as good as, or better than, its predecessor.
By the time of
Dodgson’s death, Alice (taking the two volumes as a
single artistic triumph) had become the most popular
children’s book in England: by the time of his centenary
in 1932 it was one of the most popular and perhaps the
most famous in the world.
There is no answer to
the mystery of Alice’s success. Many explanations have
been suggested, but, like the Mad Hatter’s riddle (“The
riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all”),
they are no more than afterthoughts. The book is not an
allegory; it has no hidden meaning or message, either
religious, political, or psychological, as some have
tried to prove; and its only undertones are some touches
of gentle satire—on education for the children’s special
benefit and on familiar university types, whom the
Liddells may or may not have recognized. Various
attempts have been made to solve the “riddle of Lewis
Carroll” himself; these include the efforts to prove
that his friendships with little girls were some sort of
subconscious substitute for a married life, that he
showed symptoms of jealousy when his favourites came to
tell him that they were engaged to be married, that he
contemplated marriage with some of them—notably with
Alice Liddell. But there is little or no evidence to
back up such theorizing. He in fact dropped the
acquaintance of Alice Liddell when she was 12, as he did
with most of his young friends. In the case of the
Liddells, his friendship with the younger children,
Rhoda and Violet, was cut short at the time of his skits
on some of Dean Liddell’s Christ Church “reforms.” For
besides children’s stories, Dodgson also produced
humorous pamphlets on university affairs, which still
make good reading. The best of these were collected by
him as Notes by an Oxford Chiel (1874).
LEWIS CARROLL. Alice Liddell, 1858
Besides writing for
them, Dodgson is also to be remembered as a fine
photographer of children and of adults as well (notable
portraits of the actress Ellen Terry, the poet Alfred,
Lord Tennyson, the poet-painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
and many others survive and have been often reproduced).
Dodgson had an early ambition to be an artist: failing
in this, he turned to photography. He photographed
children in every possible costume and situation,
finally making nude studies of them. But in 1880 Dodgson
abandoned his hobby altogether, feeling that it was
taking up too much time that might be better spent.
Suggestions that this sudden decision was reached
because of an impurity of motive for his nude studies
have been made, but again without any evidence.
Before he had told the
original tale of Alice’s Adventures, Dodgson had, in
fact, published a number of humorous items in verse and
prose and a few inferior serious poems. The earliest of
these appeared anonymously, but in March 1856 a poem
called “Solitude” was published over the pseudonym Lewis
Carroll. Dodgson arrived at this pen name by taking his
own names Charles Lutwidge, translating them into Latin
as Carolus Ludovicus, then reversing and retranslating
them into English. He used the name afterward for all
his nonacademic works. As Charles L. Dodgson, he was the
author of a fair number of books on mathematics, none of
enduring importance, although Euclid and His Modern
Rivals (1879) is of some historical interest.
His humorous and other
verses were collected in 1869 as Phantasmagoria and
Other Poems and later separated (with additions) as
Rhyme? and Reason? (1883) and Three Sunsets and Other
Poems (published posthumously, 1898). The 1883 volume
also contained The Hunting of the Snark, a narrative
nonsense poem that is rivalled only by the best of
Later in life, Dodgson
had attempted a return to the Alice vein but only
produced Sylvie and Bruno (1889) and its second volume,
Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893), which has been
described aptly as “one of the most interesting failures
in English literature.” This elaborate combination of
fairy-tale, social novel, and collection of ethical
discussions is unduly neglected and ridiculed. It
presents the truest available portrait of the man.
Alice, the perfect creation of the logical and
mathematical mind applied to the pure and unadulterated
amusement of children, was struck out of him as if by
chance; while making full use of his specialized
knowledge, it transcends his weaknesses and remains
LEWIS CARROLL (REV. CHARLES L. DODGSON). Edith, Lorina, and Alice
Liddell, c. 1859.
Albumen print. Photography Collection, Humanities Research Center,
University of Texas, Austin.
Cameron, the most widely known
Victorian portraitist (usually considered an amateur even though she
sold and exhibited her work), also used the camera to idealize her
subjects. Seeking out men and women whose individuality or
impressive artistic and literary contributions appeared to her to
redeem the materialism of the time, she importuned them to pose so
that she might record, in her words, "faithfully, the greatness of
the inner as well as the features of the outer man." Avoiding sharp
focus, she concentrated on the evocative handling of light, seen at
its most effective in portraits of Sir John Herschel—a family friend
of many years—and of her niece Julia Jackson, who had just wed
Herbert Duckworth and was to be the mother of novelist Virginia
Cameron's work, like that of
Carroll, can be related to the Pre-Raphaelite search for ideal
types, but her portrait style especially seems to have been inspired
by the paintings of her artistic mentor, George Frederic Watts,
which in turn reflected die taste among the British intelligentsia
for Rembrandt-like chiaroscuro effects in the treatment of form. Critical reaction from
Cameron's contemporaries was divided; while art critics for the
general press and a number of photographers in England and abroad
approved of her approach, the medium's most vocal propo-nents of art
photography criticized the "slovenly manipulation" and regarded her
work as "altogether repulsive."
Newly emerging scientific ideas
provided still other uses for the photographic portrait during the
collodion era. Aside from the documentation of strictly medical
problems (skin lesions, hydrocephalism, etc.), the camera was called
upon to document psychological reactions and mental aberrations. Dr.
Hugh Welch Diamond, who be-came interested in the calotypc shortly
after the announcement of Talbot's discovery, was one of the first
to advocate such scientific documentation. After he was introduced
to collodion by Archer—a former patient—he used the new technology
to photograph female inmates in the Surrey Count}' Asylum, where he
was superintendent. In a paper read to the Royal Society in 1856,
Dr. Diamond outlined the relationship of photography to psychiatry,
suggesting that portraits were useful in diagnosis, as treatment,
and for administrative identification of the patients. In The
Physiognomy of Insanity, illustrated with engravings based on Dr.
Diamond's likenesses, physiognomic theories that had related
photography to the depiction of normal character were extended to
embrace the mentally abnormal.
JULIA MARGARET CAMERON. Sir John Herschel, April, 1867.
Albumen print. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Gift of Mrs. J. D.
Fleeting facial expressions were
photographed in 1853 by Adrien Tournachon (brother of Felix) for a
work on human physiognomy by the noted Dr. Guillaume Benjamin
Duchenne de Boulogne, the founder of electrotherapy, and in 1872
Charles Darwin chose to use photographs to illustrate The Expression
of the Emotions in Man and Animals, for which he approached
Rcjlander. In addition to images supplied by Duchenne, and by two
lesser-known figures, the book included a series showing emotional
states, and for five of them Rejlander himself posed as model.
Despite the theatricality of a number of the expressions depicted in
these portraits, the use of the camera image in this capacity
relegated to a minor role the traditional graphic conventions for
portraying the human passions.
In the 30 years following the
discovery of photography, the camera portrait occupied center stage.
Images on metal, glass, and paper provided likenesses for large
numbers of people—the newly affluent as well as many who formerly
could not have imagined commissioning a painted portrait. Many of
these images can be regarded today as no more than "archeological
relics," but in their time they served to make generations of
sitters more aware of their position in society and of themselves as
individuals, even when they glossed over physiological and
psychological frailties. In addition, photographs taken at various
stages of life—youth, middle age, and elderly—made people more
conscious of mortality and their relationship to ephemeral time. The
cult of individualism also was promoted by the practice of
publishing and selling likenesses of famous persons. With the image
as a surrogate, more people were made to feel closer to political
and cultural figures, even while the likenesses themselves
emphasized distinctiveness. On the whole, the general run of
commercial camera portraiture is quickly exhausted in terms of
insight or aesthetic interest, yet in the hands of creative
individuals (both amateur and professional), among them Southworth
and Hawes, Hill and Adamson, Cameron, Carroll, and Nadar, portraits
seemed to distill an artistic ideal while still probing individual
personality. The importance of studio portraiture was diminished by
the invention of new cameras and technologies that permitted people
to make likenesses of family and friends at home, but the portrait
itself—as a mirror of personality, as an artistic artifact, and as
an item of cultural communication—has remained an intriguing
challenge to photographers.
Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 – 14 January
1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English
author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and
His most famous writings are
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the
Looking-Glass as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and
"Jabberwocky", all considered to be within the genre of literary
His facility at word play, logic,
and fantasy has delighted audiences ranging from children to the
literary elite, and beyond this his work has become embedded deeply
in modern culture, directly influencing many artists.
JULIA MARGARET CAMERON. My Niece Julia Jackson, 1867.
Albumen print. National Portrait Gallery, London.
Julia Margaret Cameron
(From Wikipedia, the free
Julia Margaret Cameron
(June 11, 1815 – January 26, 1879) was a British
photographer. She became known for her portraits of
celebrities of the time, and for Arthurian and similar
legendary themed pictures.
Cameron's photographic career was short, spanning the last
eleven years of her life. She did not take up photography
until the age of 48, when she was given a camera as a
present. Her work had a huge impact on the development of
modern photography, especially her closely cropped portraits
which are still mimicked today. Her house, Dimbola Lodge, on
the Isle of Wight can still be visited.
Julia Margaret Cameron was born Julia Margaret Pattle in
Calcutta, India, to James Pattle, a British official of the
East India Company, and Adeline de l'Etang, a daughter of
French aristocrats. Cameron was from a family of celebrated
beauties, and was considered an ugly duckling among her
sisters. As her great-niece Virginia Woolf wrote in 1926
introduction to the Hogarth Press collection of Cameron's
photographs, "In the trio [of sisters] where...[one] was
Beauty, and [one] Dash, Mrs. Cameron was undoubtedly
Julia was educated in France, but returned to India, and in
1838 married Charles Hay Cameron, a jurist and member of the
Law Commission stationed in Calcutta, who was twenty years
her senior. In 1848, Charles Hay Cameron retired, and the
family moved to London, England. Cameron's sister, Sarah
Prinsep, had been living in London and hosted a salon at
Little Holland House, the dower house of Holland House in
Kensington, where famous artists and writers regularly
visited. In 1860, Cameron visited the estate of poet Alfred
Lord Tennyson on the Isle of Wight. Julia was taken with the
location, and the Cameron family purchased a property on the
island soon after. They called it Dimbola Lodge after the
family's Ceylon estate.
In 1863, when Cameron was 48 years old, her daughter gave
her a camera as a present, thereby starting her career as a
photographer. Within a year, Cameron became a member of the
Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. In her
photography, Cameron strove to capture beauty. She wrote, "I
longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at
length the longing has been satisfied."
The basic techniques of soft-focus "fancy portraits", which
she later developed, were taught to her by David Wilkie
Wynfield. She later wrote that "to my feeling about his
beautiful photography I owed all my attempts and indeed
consequently all my success".
Alfred Lord Tennyson, her neighbour on the Isle of Wight,
often brought friends to see the photographer.
Cameron was sometimes obsessive about her new occupation,
with subjects sitting for countless exposures in the
blinding light as she laboriously coated, exposed, and
processed each wet plate. The results were, in fact,
unconventional in their intimacy and their particular visual
habit of created blur through both long exposures, where the
subject moved and by leaving the lens intentionally out of
focus. This led some of her contemporaries to complain and
even ridicule the work, but her friends and family were
supportive, and she was one of the most prolific and
advanced of amateurs in her time. Her enthusiasm for her
craft meant that her children and others sometimes tired of
her endless photographing, but it also means that we are
left with some of the best of records of her children and of
the many notable figures of the time who visited her.
During her career, Cameron registered each of her
photographs with the copyright office and kept detailed
records. Her shrewd business sense is one reason that so
many of her works survive today. Another reason that many of
Cameron's portraits are significant is because they are
often the only existing photograph of historical figures.
Many paintings and drawings exist, but, at the time,
photography was still a new and challenging medium for
someone outside a typical portrait studio.
The bulk of Cameron's photographs fit into two categories -
closely framed portraits and illustrative allegories based
on religious and literary works. In the allegorical works in
particular, her artistic influence was clearly
Pre-Raphaelite, with far-away looks and limp poses and soft
lighting Cameron's sister ran the artistic scene at Little
Holland House, which gave her many famous subjects for her
portraits. Some of her famous subjects include: Charles
Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Everett
Millais, William Michael Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ellen
Terry and George Frederic Watts. Most of these distinctive
portraits are cropped closely around the subject's face and
are in soft focus. Cameron was often friends with these
Victorian celebrities, and tried to capture their
personalities in her photos.
Cameron's posed photographic illustrations represent the
other half of her work. In these illustrations, she
frequently photographed historical scenes or literary works,
which often took the quality of oil paintings. However, she
made no attempt in hiding the backgrounds. Cameron's
friendship with Tennyson led to his asking her to photograph
illustrations for his Idylls of the King. These photographs
are designed to look like oil paintings from the same time
period, including rich details like historical costumes and
intricate draperies. Today, these posed works are sometimes
dismissed by art critics. Nevertheless, Cameron saw these
photographs as art, just like the oil paintings they
In 1875, the Camerons moved back to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
Julia continued to practice photography but complained in
letters about the difficulties of getting chemicals and pure
water to develop and print photographs. Also, in India, she
did not have access to Little Holland House's artistic
community. She also did not have a market to distribute her
photographs as she had in England. Because of this, Cameron
took fewer pictures in India. These pictures were of posed
Indian natives, paralleling the posed pictures that Cameron
had taken of neighbours in England. Almost none of Cameron's
work from India survives. Cameron died in Ceylon in 1879
(now called Sri Lanka).Cameron's niece Julia Prinsep Stephen
née Jackson (1846–1895) wrote the biography of Cameron,
which appeared in the first edition of the Dictionary of
National Biography, 1886.
Julia Stephen was the mother of Virginia Woolf, who wrote a
comic portrayal of the "Freshwater circle" in her only play
Freshwater. Woolf edited, with Roger Fry, a collection of
However, it was not until 1948 that her photography became
more widely known when Helmut Gernsheim wrote a book on her
Ellen Terry at age 16
I Wait (R. Gurney), 1872
My Favorite Picture of All My Works.
My Niece Julia
God's Gift to Us
November 18, 1869
Prayer and Praise, 1865
Holy Family, 1872
Lancelot and Guinevere , about 1877
Whisper of Muse , 1865
Dr Hugh Welch Diamond
Dr Hugh Welch Diamond,
(1809 – June 21, 1886) was one of the
earliest photographers, and made a major contribution to the
progress of the craft.
A doctor by profession, he opened private practice in Soho, London,
and then decided to specialise in the treatment of mental patients,
being appointed to Bethelhem Hospital, the Surrey County Asylum.
Diamond was one of the founders of the Photographic Society, was
later its Secretary and also became the editor of the Photographic
He used photography to treat mental disorders; some of his many
calotypes depicting the expressions of people suffering from mental
disorders are particularly moving. These were used not only for
record purposes, but also, he claimed in the treatment of patients,
although there is little evidence of success.
Perhaps it is for his attempts to popularize photography and to
lessen its mystique that Diamond is best remembered. He wrote many
articles and was a popular lecturer, and he also sought to encourage
younger photographers. Among the latter was Henry Peach Robinson,
who was later to refer to Diamond as a "father figure" of
Recognition for his encouragement and for his willingness to share
his knowledge came in 1855, in the form of a testimonial amounting
to £300 for services to photography; among those who subscribed were
such people as Delamotte, Fenton and George Shadbolt. In 1867, the
Photographic Society awarded its Medal in recognition of "his long
and successful labours as one of the principal pioneers of the
photographic art and of his continuing endeavours for its
advancement." The following year, at his own initiative, he
relinquished any further salary as Secretary of the Society, and
became its Hon. Secretary.
DR. HUGH WELCH
Inmates of Surrey County Asylum, 1852. Albumen
prints. Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.
DR. HUGH WELCH DIAMOND.
Inmates of Surrey County Asylum, 1852. Albumen
prints. Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.
DR. HUGH WELCH DIAMOND. Seated Woman, 1855; Woman with hair standing
on end, 1850-1859; Roger Fenton, 1856
OSCAR GUSTAV REJLANDER, GUILLAUME BENJAMIN DUCHENNE DE BOULOGNE.
Illustrations for The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals,
by Charles Darwin, 1872. Heliotypes. Photography Collection, The New
York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.
OSCAR GUSTAV REJLANDER, GUILLAUME BENJAMIN DUCHENNE DE BOULOGNE.
Illustrations for The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals,
by Charles Darwin, 1872. Heliotypes. Photography Collection, The New
York Public Library,
Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.
David Octavius Hill
At his death in 1870, David
Octavius Hill was mourned for being a deeply religious but blithe
spirit who had devoted his life to improving the arts in Scotland.
An unexceptional though competent painter of the Scottish
countryside (pi. no. 80), Hill played an important role in the
cultural life of Edinburgh. He was born into a family of booksellers
and publishers in Perth and learned lithography early in his career,
publishing, in 1821, the first lithographic views of Scotland in
Sketches of Scenery in Perthshire. In association with other artists
who were dissatisfied with the leadership of the Royal Institution,
Hill established the Scottish Academy in 1829, and remained
connected with it in unpaid and, later, official capacity until his
death. By the 1830s, Hill's interest turned to narrative
illustration; among his works were lithographs for The Glasgow and
Garnkirk Railway Prospectus, The Waverly Novels, and The Works of
Involvement in the Scottish
Disruption Movement, which led to the establishment of the Free
Church of Scotland and independence from the Church of England,
inspired in Hill a wish to commemorate this event in a painting of
the clergymen who took part in the dispute. Introduced by Sir David
Brewster to Robert Adamson (pi. no. 81), through whom he became
aware of Talbot's process, Hill planned to use photography as an aid
in painting the likenesses of the 400 members of the Disruption
Movement. In 1843 he entered into a partnership with Adamson, about
whom relatively little is known, to produce calotypes in a studio at
Rock House, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, and
sometimes on location. In their
joint work, each man provided an element missing in the other.
Before 1843, Adamson's work was wanting in composition and lighting,
while, on the evidence of work done with another collaborator some
14 years after Adamson's premature death, Hill lacked sensitivity
and skill in handling the camera. During the partnership, Hill
energetically organized the sittings for his proposed painting, but
as the two partners became more deeply involved with the medium,
they calotyped subjects, persons, and landscape views that had no
relation to the Disruption painting, producing between 1843 and 1848
about 2,500 separate calotypes. Unfortunately, Hill discovered that
many of the negatives tended to fade, a circumstance that along with
Adamson's death seemed to make further involvement in photography
After 1848, Hill continued to use
photographs as studies for his paintings and to sell individual
calotypes from his brother's print shop, while devoting time to the
affairs of the Scottish Academy and other local art associations.
Following a second marriage in 1862 and the unsuccessful attempt to
photograph in collodion with another partner, Hill returned to the
Disruption painting, completing it in 1866. Compared with the
vitality and expressiveness of the calotype studies, the painted
figures are unconvincing and seem to exist without air or space; the
picture, however, was greeted with kindness, and Hill's last
photographic project involved an endeavor to make photographic
facsimiles of this work. Had he not become involved with
photography, it is unlikely that Hill would have merited more than a
footnote in the history of the arts of the 19th century.
DAVID OCTAVIUS HILL. Robert Adamson,
Calotype. Gemsheim Collection, Humanities Research Center,
University of Texas, Austin.
Julia Margaret Cameron
One of seven daughters of a
prosperous British family stationed in India, Julia Margaret Pattle
was regarded by friends as generous, impulsive, enthusiastic, and
imperious—"a unique figure, baffling beyond description." Educated
in England and France after the death of her parents, she returned
to India and in 1838 married Charles Hay Cameron, an eminent jurist
and classical scholar, who invested his fortune in coffee
plantations in Ceylon. In the ten years prior to their return to
England, Mrs. Cameron assumed the social leadership of the
Anglo-Indian colony, raised money for victims of the Irish Famine,
and translated the well-known German ballad Lenore, but her
boundless energy craved even greater challenges.
After settling in Freshwater, on
the Isle of Wight, Cameron, using a camera given her by her daughter
in 1863, embarked on a career in photography, concentrating on
portraits and allegorical subjects. Models, at times paid but mainly
importuned, were drawn from among her family; the household staff at
the Cameron residence, Dimbola; and the households and visitors to
the homes of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Sara Prinsep, Cameron's
sister. These were many of the most famous figures in British
artistic and literary circles, including Thomas Carlyle, Darwin,
Herschel, Marie Spartali, Ellen Terry, and Watts, but the
photographer also was interested in portraying the unrenowned as
long as she found them beautiful or fall of character. Besides
hundreds of idealized portraits, she created allegorical and
religious subjects, particularly of angels and the Madonna, which
emphasized motherhood. Because of her disappointment with the poor
quality of the woodcut transcriptions of Tennyson's Idylls of the
King, Cameron raised money to issue two editions that were
Cameron's attitude toward
photography was that of a typical upper-class "amateur" of the time.
She refused to consider herself a professional, although the high
cost of practicing the medium led her to accept payment for
portraits on occasion and to market photographic prints through P.
and D. Colnaghi, London printsellers. They often bore the iegend:
"From Life. Copyright Registered Photograph. Julia Margaret
Cameron," to which she sometimes added that they were unretouched
and not enlarged. Her work was shown at annual exhibitions of the
Photographic Society of London and in Edinburgh, Dublin, London,
Paris, and Berlin; at the latter it was acclaimed by Hermann Wilhelm
Vogel and awarded a gold medal in 1866. In 1875, the Camerons
returned to Ceylon, where for the three years before her death she
continued to photograph, using native workers on the plantations and
foreign visitors as models.
JULIA MARGARET CAMERON. The Rising of the New Tear, 1872.
Albumen print. Private Collection.
In many ways Nadar (Gaspard Felix
Tournachon) typifies the best qualities of the bohemian circle of
writers and artists that settled in Paris during the Second Empire.
Born into a family of printer tradespeople of radical leanings,
young Nadar became interested in many of the era's most daring ideas
in politics, literature, and science. After an ordinary middle-class
education and a brief stab at medical school, he turned to
journalism, first wring theater reviews and then literary pieces.
Although a career in literature seemed assured, he gave up writing
in 1848 to enlist in a movement to free Poland from foreign
oppressors, an adventure that ended suddenly when he WAS captured
and returned to Paris. There followed a period of involvement with
graphic journalism, during which he created cartoons and caricatures
of well-known political and cultural figures for the satirical
press. This culminated in the Pantheon Nadar , a lithographic
depiction of some 300 members of the French intelligentsia. Only
mildly successful financially, it mack Nadar an immediate celebrity;
more important, it introduced him to photography, from which he had
drawn some of the portraits.
NADAR (GASPARD FELIX TOURNACHON). Self-Portrait, c. 1855.
Salt print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
In 1853, Nadar set up his brother
Adrien as a photographer and took lessons himself, apparently with
the intention of joining him in the enterprise. However, despite the
evident sensitivity of Adnen's portrait of the sculptor Ernile
Blavier, his lack of discipline is believed to have caused Nadar to
open a studio on his own, moving eventually to the Boulevard des
Capucines, the center of the entertainment district. He continued
his bohemian life, filling the studio with curiosities and objets
d'art and entertaining personalities in the arts and literature, but
despite this flamboyant personal style he remained a serious artist,
intent on creating images that were both life-enhancing and
ADRIEN TOURNACHON. Emile Blavier, c. 1853.
Albumen print. Bibliotheque Nationalc, Paris.
Ever open to new ideas and
discoveries, Nadar was the first in France to make photographs
underground with artificial light and the first to photograph Paris
from the basket of an ascendant balloon. Even though a proponent of
heavier-than-air traveling devices, he financed the construction of
Le Geant, a balloon that met with an un-fortunate accident on its
second trip. Nonetheless, he was instrumental in setting up the
balloon postal service that made it possible for the French
government to communicate with those in Paris during the German
blockade in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
Ruined financially by this brief
but devastating conflict, Nadar continued to write and photograph,
running an establishment with his son Paul that turned out slick
commercial work. Always a rebel, at one point he lent the recently
vacated photo studio to a group of painters who wished to bypass the
Salon in order to exhibit their work, thus making possible the first
group exhibition of the Impressionists in April, 1874. Although he
was to operate still another studio in Marseilles during the 1880s
and '90s, Nadar's last photographic idea of significance was a
series of exposures made by his son in 1886 as he interviewed
chemist Eugene Chevreul on his 100th birthday, thus fore-shadowing
the direction that picture journalism was to take. During his last
years he continued to think of himself as "a daredevil, always on
the lookout for currents to swim against." At his death, just before
the age of ninety, he had outlived all those he had satirized in the
famous Pantheon, which had started him in photography.
UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (French). Facade of Nadar's Studio at 35
Boulevard des Capucines,
Paris, after 1880. Albumen print. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
The Galerie Contemporaine-Appearance
and Character in 19th-century Portraiture
The Galerie Contemporaine, a series
of 241 portraits of celebrated artistic, literary, and political
figures in France during the Second Empire and Third French
Republic, was issued in Paris between the years 1876 and 1894. A
different portrait, accompanied by biographical text, appeared each
week from 1876 to 1880; after that the album became an annual
devoted almost exclusively to those in the mainstream pictorial
arts. The images were the work of some 28 photographers who operated
studios in Paris during this period; they were published in
different sizes, depending on the dimensions of the original
negative or plate, and usually were presented within a decorative
border. Because in some cases they were taken long before they were
used in the Galerie, the individual portraits are difficult to date.
Whether these photographs were produced by carbon process or
Woodburytype has not been definitively established, but the fact
that the publisher, Goupil et Cie., had purchased a franchise for
the Woodburytype process in France some years earlier suggests that
the images were made by this method.
In this selection, portraits by
noted photographers Etienne Carjat and Nadar exemplify the pictorial
excellence possible through adroit manipulation of pose, demeanor,
and lighting, while the image by Tourtin indicates that the work of
little-known portraitists included in this ambitious publication
also achieved a high level of excellence.
TTITNNT CARJAT. Alexandre Dumas, from Galerie Contemporaine, 1878.
Woodburytype. Museum of Photography at George Eastman House,
TOURTIN. Sarah Bernhardt, from Galerie
Woodburytype. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman
House, Rochester, N.Y.