If you are a fan of this Victorian medic turned photographer, you're in luck ! "Photography Not Art" - these three words written by Peter Henry Emerson (1856-1936), one of theprinciple exponents of photography as an art form in its own right, say a lot about the complexity of a debate which started with the birth of photography and went on for several years. The phrase, replaced in 1899 the expression "Photography, a Pictorial Art" to close his treatise on naturalist photography, proved above all that the absolute diktat of painting had not spared even the most innovative minds.
Published in 1889 by
an Anglo-American doctor who had changed career, Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art was, however, very quickly compared to "dropping a bombshell at a tea party". This was the start of a crusade against the academism of artistic photography. The manifesto was in fact offering an antidote to the artificiality of the composite prints of Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901), the master of clever manipulation of negatives. Emerson also intended it as a response to the criticisms he had endured since his conspicuous entrance into photography.
after the only monographic exhibition in France devoted to this polemist photographer, the Musée d'Orsay invites you to (re) discover his first and last collections, two key moments in a career that lasted barely ten years.