Lecture Three

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Physiognomy in Photography :

Physiognomy (Gk. φυσις/physis, nature and γνομε/gnomon, judge, interpreter) is the assessment of a person's character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied characteristics.

Hugh Diamond
Hugh Welch Diamond (1806-1886) was a British medical doctor and active amateur photographer. He made photographs of his mental patients and professed that mentally ill patients could look at photographs of themselves and better understand their afflictions.

Diamond maintained, that "the photographer secures with unerring accuracy the external phenomena of each passion, as the really certain indication of internal derangement, and exhibits the eye the well known sympathy which exists between the diseased brain the the organs and features of the body" XXXXX

Dr. Diamond was one of the first to use the COLLODION PROCESS, or wet-plate process, a new negative-positive process published by Frederick Scott Archer (1813-1857) in 1851. Although still time-consuming, the wet-plate process used glass, rather than paper, to support the light-sensitive material. It boasted a greater sensitivity and shorter exposure time than previous processes, including the albumen glass-plate negatives, devised in the late 1840s by Claude Felix Abel de St. Victor Niepce (1805-1870), a relative of Joseph Nicephore Niepce. The wet-plate process furnished multiple images that were free from paper negatives.

Photography was used during its first decade to describe, compare, and rank "racial"types. The notion of race was renewed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when it was used to describe innate qualities of nations and ethnicities, sometimes with the aim of arousing nationalistic feeling. With the rapid colonization of the nonWestern world, human diversity was increasingly discussed and classified.


The conviction that a clear correspondence existed between inner moods and outward appearances also informed scientific experiments on human gestures and facial expressions, such as the photographs of mental patients taken by Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond.

Below: Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond's patient in an insane asylum.


Below: Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond's patient in an insane asylum.


Below: Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond's patient in an insane asylum.


Desire Charnay

French photographer Desire Charnay (1828-1915) received financial support for his photographs of pre-Columbian sites in Mexico, and locations associated with Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortex, from a branch of the French government. Charnay went to Madagascar on an expeditin in 1863 to extend French political and trade influence. Charnay returned to Mexico in 1864 and later ventured through South America, Java and Australia. Charnay lived a life writing about and photographing exotic landscapes, ancient ruins, and ethnographic types.

Below: Desire Charnay photograph.


Oscar Rejlander
The most famous High Art photograph was constructed by Oscar Rejlander (1813-1875), who worked with Charles Darwin to create studies of human expression. Like many mid-century photographers, Rejlander began as a painter. While studying art in Rome, he made a living by copying Old Master paintings. There he became acquainted with Raphael's famous fresco /The School of Athens, whose composition and theme of opposing points of view became the basis for a large photographic work.

Reijlanders two ways of life is a large print, about 31 inches wide. It was made from more than thirty individual negatives in a technique termed COMBINATION PRINTING, which required a great deal of hand work. Rejlander argued that the labor involved, combined with the image's inspiration from a Renaissance source and the morally uplifting theme, distanced the work from ordinary photograhy and aligned it with painting." Despite its notoriety, however, Rejlander made few more moralizing pictures. Like many photographers, his main means of support was portraiture.
Physiognomy Insane asylum
Oscar Rielander
animals and humans
similarity in experiments

Below: The two ways of life


Below: The two ways of life 1857, Photogravure 5.85 x 7.85

Below: Photograph of Rejlander's friend famous author Charles Dodgson better known by his pen name Lewis Carrol


Below: Rejlander photo graveur

  1. Kimbei Kusakabe

Anthropological photography

Beado =Orientalism

  1. Roger Fenton

War Photography
Roger Fenton Crimean War

Below: Roger Fenton's Crimean war photographs


Below: Roger Fenton's Crimean war photographs


Below: Roger Fenton's Crimean war photographs


Below: Roger Fenton's Crimean war photographs

  1. Matthew Brady

Below: Matthew Brady civil war photograph


Below: Matthew Brady civil war photographs


Below: Matthew Brady took the only known photograph of Abe Lincoln at Gettysberg


Below: Matthew Brady took the only known photograph of Abe Lincoln at Gettysberg


Below: Matthew Brady panorama

  1. Southworth and Hawes Nudes

Below: Southworth and Hawes


Below: Southworth and Hawes postmortem


Below: Southworth and Hawes portrait


Below: Southworth and Hawes nude




Below: Southworth and Hawes postmortem mother and father and deceased child.


nudes :Experience teaches many collectors to accept the occasional spot in the interior of a plate and avoid making a fetish out of superficial perfection. Sometimes color does survive a chemical bath; other times an undercoating, sickly yellowish is color remains on the plate (I recall being offered a dag of a sailor with a buff-yellow shirt, the color of which was probably blue before ill-advised intervention). It is a sad truth that many great daguerreotypes were stripped of their highly artistic tinting. Alas that is especially true of the decorative nude stereo daguerreotypes created in France from 1845 to 1860 — an important chapter in early photography. It is therefore a delight to find an example in nearly pristine condition, such as this ''Girl with Tambourine,'' formerly in the Uwe Scheid and Paul Benarroche collections.1


the triangle used by classicist

Agaze ethographic photographer in Asia
debate about genetic similarity
polygenisis : racist
Using photography to prove and disprove evolution



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