History of Photography


Introduction History of Photography (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

A World History of Photography (by Naomi Rosenblum)

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991 (by Hans-Michael Koetzle)

Photographers' Dictionary
(based on "20th Century Photography - Museum Ludwig Cologne")


 

 



Photographers' Dictionary

(based on "20th Century Photography-Museum Ludwig Cologne")

 
 

 

 


Peter Henry Emerson

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Peter Henry Emerson (18561936) was a Cuban-born photographer. His photographs are early examples of promoting photography as an art form. He is known for taking photographs that displayed natural settings.
Emerson was born in Cuba to a British mother and an American father. He spent most of his youth in New England. He moved to England in 1869 and went to Cambridge University, where he earned his medical degree in 1885. The next year, he abandoned his career as a surgeon and became a photographer and writer. He made many pictures of rural life in the East Anglian fenlands. He published eight books of his work through the next ten years, but did not release anything else after the turn of the century. He died in Falmouth in 1936.
During his life Emerson fought against the British Photographic establishment and its manipulation of many photographs to produce one image. This work was especially undertaken and promoted by Henry Peach Robinson. Some of his photographs were of twenty or more separate photographs combined to produce one image. Emerson said this was false and his pictures were taken in a single shot. Emerson also believed that the photograph should be a true representation of that which the eye saw. This led him to produce one area of sharp focus in his pictures the remainder being unsharp. This he believed mimicked the eye's way of seeing. The effect was for a picture that remains up-to-date when compared to the constructed all over sharp production a la Robinson school. This was an argument he pursued vehemently and to the discomfort of the Photographic establishment. Emerson and the establishment squared up like two bulls.
Emerson also believed with a passion that photography was an art and not a mechanical reproduction. The same argument with the establishment ensued but Emerson found that his defence failed and he had to allow that Photography was probably a mechanical reproduction. The pictures the Robinson school produced were mechanical but Emerson's still remain artistic not being a faithful reproduction of a scene but having depth due to his one plane sharp therory. When he lost the argument over Art of Photography he did not publicise his Photography but continued to take photographs. A strange ending for a photographer whose pictures endorsed his argument so eloquently.

 


In the Barley Harvest from Pictures of East Anglian Life, 1888.
Gravure print. Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.

 


The Clay Mill from Pictures of East Anglian Life, c.1887

 

 


Gathering Water-Lilies from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 


Snipe-Shooting from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 


The First Frost from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 


Poling the Marsh Hay from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 


Setting up the Bow-Net from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 


Gunner working up to Fowl from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 

Rowing home the Schoof-Stuff from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 

Marshman Going to Cut Schoof-Stuff from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 

A Reed-Cutter at Work from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 

A Rushy Shore from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 

'Twixt Land and Water from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, c. 1885

 


Ricking The Reed

 

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