Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Photo by Frederick Rolfe Baron Corvo


It's always nice to be the first to realise the significance of something. This was an accidental find but a very welcome one. It was found in a copy of The Sketch from 1895. The Sketch was something like The Illustrated London News or The Graphic, an illustrated newspaper which, like all the others had to grapple with what to do with this new-fangled method of reproducing pictures 'the photograph'


What's nice, I think, about this photo in particular is that it shows, whilst Rolfe may not have been the best photographer of the time, that he was up there with the most experimental. We know that he experimented with some success in colour photography, underwater photography and flash light photography. This, to my knowledge, is the first example of Rolfe attempting outdoor photography at night. Clearly this is a reproduction 'from a photo' and it's obviously had to have a lot of remedial work done in the plate for the printers, nonetheless it's not a bad attempt.


The accompanying text reads:


"The Electric Avenue is familiar to all Brixtonians, but very few have witnessed any attempt to photograph it by night. The Baron Corvo has done, with what success the accompanying reduced reproduction of his photograph shows."


I have mentioned before on this blog that there is, in production, a book of Rolfe's photos. Unfortunately it's not my project so it's not my place to provide news but rest assured I will be letting people here know as soon as I hear that it's out.

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