Friday, June 24, 2016

Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads – 36 Stunning Vintage Photographs Capture Rural Life of Eastern England from the 1880s

Peter Henry Emerson (1856-1936) was a British photographer. He specialized in scenes of rural life. Some of his photos are obviously staged, while others look more candid.

He bought his first camera in 1881 or 1882 to be used as a tool on bird-watching trips with his friend, the ornithologist A. T. Evans. In 1885 he was involved in the formation of the Camera Club of London, and the following year he was elected to the Council of the Photographic Society and abandoned his career as a surgeon to become a photographer and writer.

Initially influenced by naturalistic French painting, he argued for similarly "naturalistic" photography and took photographs in sharp focus to record country life as clearly as possible. His first album of photographs, published in 1886, was entitled Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, and it consisted of 40 platinum prints that were informed by these ideas. Before long, however, he became dissatisfied with rendering everything in sharp focus, considering that the undiscriminating emphasis it gave to all objects was unlike the way the human eye saw the world.

1885. "A Sailing Match at Horning."

1886. "The Old Order and the New."

1886. "The Haunt of the Pike."

1886. "Quanting the Marsh Hay."

1886. "A Rushy Shore."

1886. "Cantley: Wherries Waiting for the Turn of the Tide."

1886. "Setting the Bow-Net."

1887. "Gathering Water Lilies."

1887. "Rowing Home the Schoof-Stuff."

1887. "The Fowlers Return."

1887. "An Eel Catcher's Home."

1887. "A Marsh Farm."

1887. "Snipe Shooting."

1887. "During the Reed Harvest."

1887. "Ricking the Reed."

1887. "Coming Home from the Marshes."

1887. "Towing the Reed."

1887. "Marshman Going to Cut Schoof-Stuff."

1887. "Poling the Marsh Hay."

1887. "Gunner Working up to Fowl."

1887. "The Stickleback Catcher."

1887. "The Gladdon-Cutters Return."

1887. "The Poacher."

1887. "On Southwold Marshes."

1887. "Taking up the Eel Net."

1888. "Keeper's Cottage, Amwell Magna Fishery."

1888. "The Basket-Maker."

1888. "Eel-Picking in Suffolk Waters."

1886. "A Ruined Water-Mill."

1886. "A Reed-Cutter at Work."

1887. "A Suffolk Dike."

1887. "The Skirt of the Village."

1887. "Setting up the Bow-Net."

1887. "A Spring Idyl."

1887. "A Fisherman at Home."

1888. "A Garden End."

(Images: Peter Henry Emerson/Royal Photographic Society/SSPL/Getty Images, via Mashable/Retronaut)

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