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Creator Name: Emerson, Peter Henry
Creator Nationality: European; British
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1856 - 1936
Biography: Peter Henry Emerson British, b. Cuba, 1856-1936Trained as a physician, Peter Henry Emerson abandoned medicine soon after receiving his degree in order to take up photography. His thorough command of the medium and his interest in reproducing rural subjects in a simple, direct manner led to an approach that he called naturalism. Emerson argued vehemently that the inherent qualities of photography should be used to portray subjects in a manner that eschewed artifice and the unnatural intrusions of the photographer's aesthetic style. This was in distinction to the academicism that Emerson despised, exemplified by the artificially constructed, often cloying images of Oscar G. Rejlander and Henry Peach Robinson. Emerson's several illustrated volumes of rural British life, beginning with Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads (1886), combined a clarity of vision derived from the advanced science of his day with a retrospective romanticism derived from French and British painting. The result was a unique style that helped direct photography away from artifice toward the visual integrity now associated with modernism and straight photography. Emerson's attempts as a writer and speaker to develop a theoretical base for his style, while highly regarded, are today thought to be a less powerful statement of his opinions than the work he produced. T.W.F.
Creator Birth Place: Cuba, Sagua-le-grande
Creator Death Place: Falmouth, England
Creator Name-CRT: Peter Henry Emerson
Title: Rowing Home the Schoof-Stuff
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1886
Creation End Date: 1886
Creation Date: 1886
Object Type: Photographs
Classification Term: Photography
Materials and Techniques: platinum print
Dimensions: Image: 13.6cm x 27.6cm
Inscriptions: Written in pencil on verso: "G 3/5"
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1983.206
Credit Line: Bequest of Edgar A. Hahn
Context: Reacting against the theatrical, sentimental photogaphs made by his contemporaries, Peter Henry Emerson pursued a direct and more naturalistic form of photography. He discovered his subjects in familiar scenes from everyday life and captured them on film. This image was included among the 40 prints illustrating Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, one of many books Emerson published on the marsh dwellers of East Anglia. In this photograph the word "schoof" refers to the sheaf of marsh plants thathave been harvested to be dried and stored at home.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1983.206
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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