Pioneers of Photography: Henry Peach Robinson

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Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901): the godfather of Pictorialism and extremely influential in nineteenth century photography circles, Robinson shaped public opinion, both through the photographs he exhibited and the books he wrote. He learned combination printing from Oscar Gustave Rejlander, but easily surpassed the teacher, producing definitive photographs printed from as many as nine negatives. He led a secession group of photographers away from the Royal Photographic Society and was a founder member of the Linked Ring Brotherhood in 1892. [Courtesy of Pam Roberts]

Andrew Pringle, Sun Artists, (Number 2):

“Mr. Robinson’s pictures never fail to find favour with the jurors at photographic exhibitions, and he now stands the most be-medalled photographer in the world. He was not the first to introduce the special line of photography with which his name is now so intimately connected – ‘Composite’ photography, – but he was quick to perceive its possibilities…Many of Mr Robinsons most important works…were…produced not from one single negative, but…from two or more negatives printed on one sheet of paper…

It will be interesting and, we hope, instructive to many, to endeavour to trace his teaching and his intentions in his works.

The very first criticism we make on his works is that in every case we find an evident intention – some story is told, some conception worked out, though the whole of the story or conception is not given, and we are left to imagine some things and to connect others. At the first blush we should expect the two women in ‘Carolling’ to be joyous and frivolous, but we find one is not so gay as her companion; she looks back as well as forward, she has doubts as well as hopes, and her comparative gravity enhances the gaiety of the other, and gives intensity and intention to the episode.” (via)