A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Seaweed & a Rare Portrait
Saturday, July 01, 2017





In this blog I wrote this:

Photography books are not a recent phenomenon, although Richard Avedon’s plan to publish 10 in the next little while might be pushing the dreaded photographer’s bet-noir – overexposure. Good photo books have been around since Henry Fox Talbot published his Pencil of Nature in 1844. Because halftone reproduction of photographs in books had not been invented yet, Talbot personally hand-pasted his Talbotypes into every book. If you can find one of these it’ll cost you upwards of $250,000. At $90 a copy, George Hurrell’s Hollywood is a bargain.

I thought the above as true until recently when I discovered  seaweed cynotypes of English photographer Anna Atkins (1779-1871). She painstakingly printed her cyanotypes of seaweeds for her self-published book in 1843 Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions . It was her friend Sir John Herschel (who discovered photographic fixer and named the seven then-known satellites of Saturn: Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, and Iapetus and the four then-known satellites of Uranus: Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon.

Anna Atkins and her husband John Pelly Atkins (a London West India merchant) never had children but Anna was close with her almost-namesake sister-in-law Anne Marie Atkins (who never married).



My friend Ian Bateson who recently had  his first show of his work in Lancaster discovered this cyanotype in the back room storage area dated 1857 and signed Anna Atkins. It is my guess that the woman in question must be Anne Marie.

I am amazed at the modern look and the crop of the portrait. Obviously Atkins may have been an influence on Julia Margaret Cameron.



     

Previous Posts
The Ukrainian Photographer

Ferron

Trump's Time Magazine Cover & Mine

Childings

Diminishing Returns - Not

While the Greek Music Lasts

Is She The Duchesse?

Contra el blanco velamen de las sábanas

Abraham Darby - Three Men & an Over the Top Rose

A Woman's Superior Imagination



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4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17