The Victorian Fascination with Photographs

The Victorian fascination with photographs stemmed from the ability of the camera to record accurately in minute detail the subject at which it was pointed, a fascination reflected in the style photographers chose to use and in the sort of photographs the public chose to buy. They wanted their photographs to show "accuracy", "perfect definition", "naturalness" and "a good likeness". The addition of colour to composites and to studio portraits in general was another manifestation of the public's desire for realism. Notman's artists with a few deft strokes of the brush could transform a photograph from sepia tone to living colour, not by changing it into a painting, but by preserving the sense of reality imbued in a good photograph.
Stanley G. Triggs

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