31 October 2010

Peter Henry Emerson and Naturalistic Photography

Peter Henry Emerson 
b. 1856 Sagua la Grande, Cuba, d. 1936 Great Britain 

Born in Cuba and raised there and in the United States before moving to England as a teenager, physician and scientist Peter Henry Emerson took up photography at age twenty-six. Often described as a difficult zealot, he vocally championed a naturalistic approach to imagemaking. He favored rural subjects presented in a simple, direct manner. Emerson's influential 1889 book Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art outlined his thesis that photography's ability to record nature truthfully was its most expressive one. He argued that the photograph should imitate nature rather than alter it. 

Emerson was a passionate lecturer and writer about photography, never mincing words and thus earning as many foes as supporters. He was an early and tireless champion of photography as a fine art, and he became the unofficial godfather of the Photo-Secessionist movement, founded by Alfred Stieglitz in 1902.

source: GETTY

P.H. Emerson
The Haunt of the Pike
Wroxham Broad
ca. 1885
platinum print
21.1 x 29.6 cm.

source: GEH

P. H. Emerson: Confessions from
‘Pictures From Life In Field And Fen’, 1887

P. H. Emerson "Ricking the reed",
from  Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, 1886

source: Wikipedia


20 October 2010

Alexander Gardner (1821-1882)

Alexander Gardner
The home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg

Alexander Gardner
 Dead Confederate sharpshooter at the foot of Round Top. 
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1863.
Alexander Gardner.
Richmond, Virginia. "Ruins of Gallego Mills." April 1865

The Lincoln Conspirators, 1865

Alexander Gardner, Lincoln 1865

19 October 2010

Mathew Brady (1822-1896)

Mathew Brady upon his return from the First Battle of Bull Run,
wearing a saber given to him for defense by New York Fire Zouaves.
Date 22 July 1861
unknown author in Mathew Brady's studio

source: Wikipedia

American Civil War Photographs

Abraham Lincoln


18 October 2010

Documentary Photography - 19th Century: Charles Marville (1816 - 1879)

" Originally trained as a painter, engraver, and illustrator, Charles Marville ( b. 1816 Paris, d. 1879) became known as a landscape and architecture photographer. He traveled to Italy, Germany, and Algeria and used both paper and glass plate negatives. In the late 1850s the city of Paris commissioned Marville to document the ancient quarters of the city before encroaching urban modernization changed them forever. He photographed renovations and new construction, including the new Paris Opéra. Marville was also commissioned by the Musée du Louvre to make reproductions of artworks in their collection. He was named official photographer of Paris in 1862. "

source: GETTY Edu

Charles Marville
rue de Constantine, Paris, 1865

 Charles Marville
Paris 13e Arrondisment
c. 1865

Charles Marville
rue de la Ferronnerie, Paris
c. 1865

Charles Marville
Hotel de Ville 1871 after the
combats of the Commune of Paris

Charles Marville
Ingres in his deathbed, 1867

Documentary Photography - 19th Century: Philip Henry Delamotte (1820–1889)

Progress of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, 1854
Philip Henry Delamotte (British, 1820–1889); Henry Negretti (British, born Italy, 1818–1879)
Albumen silver prints
Source: Philip Henry Delamotte: Progress of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham (52.639) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Roger Fenton (1819-1869)

" The photographic career of Roger Fenton (1819-1869) lasted only eleven years, but during that time he became the most famous photographer in Britain. Part of the second generation of photographers who came to maturity in the 1850s—only a decade after the process was invented—Fenton strove to elevate the new medium to the status of a fine art and to establish it as a respected profession. He was the first official photographer to the British Museum and one of the founders of the Photographic Society, later named the Royal Photographic Society, an organization he hoped would help establish the medium's importance in modern life."

 Roger Fenton
Self-Portrait, February 1852
Albumen silver print from glass negative
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 Roger Fenton, Seated Odalisque, 1858

  Roger Fenton, Discobolos, 1857
source: British Museum

The Crimean War Photographs

Marcus Sparling, full-length portrait,
seated on Roger Fenton's photographic van.
salted paper; 17.5 × 16.5 cm., 1855


The valley of the shadow of death
Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer, 1855
salted paper ; 28 x 36 cm.
Dirt road in ravine scattered with cannonballs.
Part of Roger Fenton Crimean War photograph collection,
Library of Congress 

Mortar batteries in front of Picquet house Light Division
Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer, 1855

salted paper ; 24 x 35.5 cm.
Photo shows five men and three mortars at a mortar battery with bomb-proof shelter.
Part of: Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869. Roger Fenton Crimean War photograph collection,
Library of Congress Collection

link: Roger Fenton works at George Eastman House Archive

17 October 2010

Mission Héliographique, 1851

Roman Arch at Orange], 1851
Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)

Salted paper print from paper negative
35.3 x 26.2 cm

"In 1851, the Commission des Monuments Historiques, an agency of the French government, selected five photographers to make photographic surveys of the nation's architectural patrimony. These Missions Héliographiques, as they were called, were intended to aid the Paris-based commission in determining the nature and urgency of the preservation and restoration of work required at historic sites throughout France. The French rail network was still in its infancy and many of the commissioners had never visited the monuments in their care; photography promised a record of such sites that would be produced more quickly and accurately than the architectural drawings on which they had previously relied."

Malcolm Daniel
Department of Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Source: Mission Héliographique, 1851 | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jean-Baptiste Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884)

 Gustave Le Gray Self portrait, c. 1852

"Though he was trained as a painter, Gustave Le Gray made his mark in the emerging medium of photography. An experimenter and technical innovator, Le Gray pioneered the use of the paper negative in France and developed a waxed-paper negative that produced sharper-focus prints. In 1851 he began to use collodion on glass negatives, which further increased the clarity of his images. He became one of the first five photographers, along with Édouard-Denis Baldus and Hippolyte Bayard, to work for the missions héliographiques, a government-sponsored commission to document the state of repair of important French monuments and buildings.

Le Gray is credited with teaching photography to many important French photographers in the 1850s. In 1851 he became a founding member of the Société Héliographique, the first photographic organization in the world, and later joined the Société Française de Photographie. In 1860 Le Gray started to tour the Mediterranean with the writer Alexandre Dumas, but they soon parted company. Le Gray went on to Lebanon and then to Egypt, where he became a professor of drawing and died in 1884."
source: GETTY Edu

The Great Wave, Sète, 1856–59
Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820–1884)
Albumen silver print from two glass negatives
13 1/4 x 16 5/16 in. (33.7 x 41.4 cm)

Mediterranean with Mount Agde, 1857
Gustave Le Gray
Albumen silver print from two glass negatives

Grand Mediterranean wave
      Gustave Le Gray, 1857          

Albumen print from two glass negatives
                323 x 412 mm 

Brick [called Brick au clair de lune]
                Gustave Le Gray, summer 1856 and1857 (?)               
Albumen print from collodion glass negative
   320 x 420 mm

source: BNF

Gustave Le Gray
Fontainebleau, 1849
Salt print, from a waxed calotype negative

source: GETTY Edu

Gnarled Oak Tree near the l'Épine Crossroads
Gustave Le Gray
1849 - 1852
Albumen print

source: GETTY Edu

Portrait of Victor Cousin
Gustave Le Gray
Albumen print

source: GETTY Edu

link: Gustave Le Gray Seascapes at The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Daguerreotype: landscape and architecture

Engraving of the first photograph of the Pathenon.
Taken by Gaspard-Pierre-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière in 1839.
Published in Excursions daguériennes by Noël Paymal Lerebours in 1841

Niagara. Chute Du Fer a Cheval
  from Excursions daguerriennes:
vues et monuments les plus remarquables du globe, 

published by Lerebours, Nöel-Marie-Paymal 

engraving from daguerreotype
26.0 x 73.5 cm. 

source: Daguerreotypomania GEH

"The Excursions Daguerriennes, représentant les vues et les monuments les plus remarquables du globe, [Daguerreian Travels, representing the most remarkable views and monuments in the world] was published in Paris by Noël-Marie Paymal Lerebours between 1841 and 1864. The volumes were sold by subscription and in the end contained more than one hundred views of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East shot between 1839 and 1844. Pattinson's view of the falls was the only view of North America to appear in the publication.

The only way in which a daguerreotype could be printed was by making an engraving from the plate. The daguerreotype process produced a laterally reversed image, there being no negative. The engraving is traced from the daguerreotype and then turned over to give the "correct" orientation of the subject. Extra details were often added to engravings to add more "interest."


Babbitt, Platt D.
American (-1879)

  Niagara Falls
ca. 1855
13.2 x 18.3 cm., full plate 

Southworth & Hawes
American (active ca 1845-1861)
The Niagara Suspension Bridge
March 8, 1855
21.5 X 16.5 cm., full plate
source: http://www.geh.org/taschen/htmlsrc15/m197401930180_ful.html

Southworth & Hawes
American (active ca 1845-1861)
Niagara Falls
ca. 1850

21.5 X 16.5 cm., full plate

source: http://www.geh.org/fm/mismis/htmlsrc26/m197401930262A_ful.html#topofimage

Southworth & Hawes   
American (active ca 1845-1861)
Niagara River above the falls
ca. 1850

source: Daguerreotypomania GEH  

16 October 2010

The Daguerreotype Panorama

Cincinnati Waterfront Panorama Daguerreotype, taken by Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter in 1848

click on the image to enlarge




A zoom illustrating the extraordinary level of detail in a daguerreotype

This is plate 4 of the Cincinnati Waterfront Panorama Daguerreotype consisting of 8 plates, taken by Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter in 1848. The plate, property of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton Counties, was imaged in tiles using a stereomicroscope (Zeiss StereoDiscovery.V12) at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film, Kay Whitmore Conservation Center, in Rochester, NY

source:  YouTube 

links: http://www.cincinnatilibrary.org/main/rb.asp#daguerreotype

Porter, William Southgate
American (1822-1889)

  Fairmount waterworks
36.7 x 99.8 cm.,
(8 whole plates assembled in original mo