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Peter Henry Emerson @ the Musee d'Orsay

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 the
principle 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.

Twenty-three years 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.

Details of the exhibition can be found here.

Peter Henry Emerson (1856-1936); Poling the Marsh Hay; 1886.
Platinum print from a silver gelatin bromide glass negative H. 23,2; W. 29,1 cm
Paris, musée d'Orsay

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Comment by Michael Wong on July 20, 2010 at 9:48
Perhaps you should try emailing Thomas Galifot, the exhibition curator at the Musée d'Orsay, whom I'm sure will be able to help! He may be able to obtain of a copy of the previous exhibition catalogue for you.
Good luck ....
Comment by Manuel Magalhaes on July 20, 2010 at 0:17
Yes, yes!
I read what is in the site, but is not to much for the imortance of Emerson and their photographic work.
Emerson, also for me is important, because he show some pictures in Oporto, city where I live, in an important exhibition in 1886. Henry PeachRobinson, also show their pictures in the sama exhibition!
Comment by Michael Wong on July 19, 2010 at 22:33
Yes, it is a shame that a catalogue is not available as it sounds like a very well curated exhibition from the description. I did ask the same question to the Museum and their reply was as follows:

Unfortunately, there was no catalog published for this exhibition. But, you can read on our site the text wrote by the curator of this event:

Yours faithfully

Eric Jouvenaux
Service culturel
Musée d'Orsay
Comment by Manuel Magalhaes on July 18, 2010 at 22:42
Inexcusable d'ont have a catalogue!

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