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Henry Peach Robinson

(1830—1901) photographer and writer on photography


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(1830–1901), English photographer, born in Ludlow, Shropshire. Apprenticed to a printer and bookseller, he took up photography after seeing the Great Exhibition of 1851. From 1857 to 1864 he operated a portrait studio in Leamington Spa, but scaled back business due to ill health. Inspired by O. G. Rejlander's The Two Ways of Life (1857), he exhibited elaborate combination prints of genre subjects such as the controversial deathbed scene, Fading Away (1858), and Pre-Raphaelite narratives like The Lady of Shalott (1860–1). Robinson published extensively on photographic aesthetics, arguing for photography as a ‘pictorial’ art, transformed from mechanical transcription through the application of the conventions of academic painting. He believed that, like other art forms, the photograph could bear the marks of its maker, with its own visual qualities and expressive modes. In this, he was more in sympathy with the next generation of photographers, such as Alfred Maskell and George Davison, with whom he founded the Linked Ring Brotherhood in 1892. He exhibited at the Ring's Photographic Salon until 1900.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.


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