Henry Peach Robertson (1830-1901)

Henry Peach Robinson lived in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and was a photographer whose composite photographs and writings made him one of the most influential photographers of the last half of the 19th century. As a young man of 21, Robinson was an amateur painter precocious enough to have one of his paintings hung at the Royal Academy. Nevertheless, photography gradually became his real passion and in 1857 he opened a portrait studio in Leamington Spa.

In 1858, Robinson exhibited "Fading Away", a picture skilfully printed from five different negatives,. This work depicted the peaceful death of a young girl surrounded by her grieving family. Although it was made clear that the photograph was the product only of Robinson's imagination, many viewers felt that such a scene was too painful to be tastefully rendered by such a literal medium as photography. The controversy, however, made him the most famous photographer in England and the leader of the high-art photographers.

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"Fading Away" by Henry Peach Robertson

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