Did you know that aside from being a mathematician, teacher, and English author, Lewis Carroll was also one of the greatest portrait photographers of Victorian England? I know you're curious, so let me share with you some of his interesting portraits from a Lewis Carroll photobook.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known to the world as Lewis Carroll, is more than the author of the famous children’s novel, Alice in Wonderland. He was a teacher, mathematician, artist, Anglican clergyman, and among all things, a photographer.
I’m sure you’re surprised as I was when I first found out. But, unbeknownst to many, he has taken countless photographs during the Victorian Era, among them exceptional portraits. Since portraits are paramount here on the Magazine for the month of March, it is but proper for us to share with everyone a photobook which features some of Caroll’s best portraits.
Featured Book: Lewis Carroll
Featured Photographer: Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
Writer: Anne Higonnet
Category: vintage photography
Publication: Phaidon, September 2008
The book is a treasure trove of all things about Lewis Carroll and his foray into photography, which many believe he began around 1855. The first few pages of the book tells us that then twenty-three year old Caroll was most likely inspired by two people to begin tinkering with a camera: his medical student friend and fellow photographer Reginald Southey; and his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, who was practising photography at the time.
Photography during this period was stll young and new, and despite innovations for permanently setting images with chemicals in 1839, it remained an expensive and time-consuming process. Still, Carroll was never short of precision, determination, and imagination (well, we’re already familiar with that, aren’t we, given his adventurous children’s novel!) necessary to take beautiful portraits. Soon, he mastered the tedious wet collodion method (an early photographic process which involved glass plates, several chemicals, and slow exposures), and set up his own studio.
Now, let’s take a look at some of his notable photographs featured in the book:
Among Carroll’s best known portraits are those of his prominent subject, the young Alice Pleasance Liddell. In case the name rings a bell and got you ‘curiouser and curiouser,’ yes, she was the inspiration behind Carroll’s literary Wonderland.
Additional information for this article were taken from Lewis Carroll on Wikipedia.
What do you think of these early portraits by the famed Victorian novelist? Tell us what you think with a comment below! Also, we’d like to know if there are any photobooks on renowned portraitists that you’d like to get featured in in this ongoing series!
Read more Photos on Pages series right here on Lomography Magazine!