Naturalistic Photography:
The Theory and Practice of
Peter Henry Emerson

Naturalistic Photography - Peter Henry Emerson
Naturalistic Photography: The Theory and Practice of Peter Henry Emerson , 1999
A dissertation submitted to Sotheby’s Institute in conformity with the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine and Decorative Art.


During the last quarter of the 19th century, the development of photography changed dramatically since it was first used in the 1840’s. The production, development and printing of film plates plus simpler cameras and consumer friendly service resulted in more people starting to take up photography as a leisure activity and the introduction of the ‘Kodak No1’camera in 1888 also helped photography to become more accessible. G.B. Shaw, for example, explains why he started to take up photography in 1898. “I always wanted to draw and paint…But I could not draw well enough…So when dry plates and push buttons [cameras] came on the market I bought a box camera and began pushing the button.” Leon Warnerke commented about this contemporary development, “The modern photographer does not like any complicated manipulations. He wants only to obtain a result [as far as] possible with the least possible trouble…” Both these quotes help to explain people’s attitudes towards the more and more popular hobby of photographing, an attitude which continued throughout the 20th century. However, Peter Henry Emerson stood in contrast with this ideology and advocated a photography that related to the arts and crafts, which he explained in his instructions of ‘Naturalistic Photography for the Students of the Art’, first published in 1889.

„Naturalistic Photography:
The Theory and Practice of
Peter Henry Emerson“