Indepth Arts News: |
"LEWIS CARROLL: a retrospective (1856-1879)"
2000-01-08 until 2000-02-13
The Photographic Center bids the new millenium welcome with an impressive exhibition of Lewis Carroll’s photographs. Carroll, internationally reknown for his richly fantastical tale, Alice in Wonderland, was, in his time, well known as a great photographer , mathamatician as well as a man of the cloth. He made portraits of a large number of the British elite, among them: artist and critic, John Ruskin, Poet Lauriate,Alfred Lord Tennyson, Actress Ellen Terry and
Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Everett Mallais.
The exhibition is retrospective and covers the period from 1856 to1879. The original photographs were made via the wet collodian method, an early and very demanding technique of which Carroll was a master. His career as an artist / photographer began in Oxford, where he studied and later taught.
In the beginning, the majority of his images were landscapes and portraits of friends and colleages. Later he expanded portraying the famous people of his day who wanted to be immortalised through Carroll’s artistic and photographic process. A special motif for Carroll was children and of course, of his special friend, Alice Liddell. Alice was the inspiration for the world famous stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. These stories were written as a personal gift to her.
Carroll’s portraits of children separates him from his victorian colleagues. Carroll caught the essence of the Victorian childhood and a unique mixture of vulnerability, play and self awareness. His fascination with children focuses the spotlight on the contrast between the period’s rigid rules of adulthood and childhood’s openess and naivity.
Through his contact with children, Carroll’s artistic imagination could run free. In both his adventure stories and his portraits of children we can see how a world ,otherwise forbidden to adults, enchanted and engulfed him.
The exhibition is a glimpse into 19th century Victorian society as seen through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass!
LEWIS CARROLL: a retrospective (1856-1879) is organised and sponsored by The British Council,
Roger Taylor, curator. Images are borrowed from Christ Church Library, Oxford, The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford, England. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, Princeton University, Princeton, The Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, Warrington Museum.