Peter Henry Emerson

(Cuba, United States of America, England 1856 – 1936)

A marsh farm

Not on display
Further information

Peter Emerson made a significant contribution to Victorian photography. He argued that a photograph should imitate the eye and in so doing be naturalistic in affect. Emerson contended that a photograph should be taken slightly out of focus in order to achieve the effect of a distinct sharpness at the centre of the image and a slight blurriness at the periphery.

Emerson's work is testament to the artistic qualities of photography and its purpose outside of documentation. However, Emerson was stringent in his dedication to naturalism and berated any sense of emotion in a photograph. Therefore, whilst Emerson and fellow photographer George Davison agreed with the redundancy of sharpness in photography, Emerson was openly critical of Davison's impressionistic aesthetic.

circa 1885
platinotype photograph
21.8 x 29.0 cm image/sheet; 28.7 x 40.7 cm card
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Accessioned 1983
Accession number