There’s a chance to see one of Charles Dodgson’s photographs up close at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston between now and August 5 this year. “Xie Kitchin Asleep on Sofa,” taken on July 14, 1873, is a recent acquisition by the museum and has been included in their new exhibition, Silver, Salt, and Sunlight: Early Photography in Britain and France. Other photographic pioneers celebrated include William Henry Fox Talbot, Edouard Baldus, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Francis Frith.
Salon.com has posted a slide show of exhibition highlights in an article entitled Postcards from the Dawn of Photography. The main article features an interview with Anne Havinga, the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh senior curator of photographs at the museum. Havinga gives some interesting background to the exhibition and mentions Dodgson’s picture in particular: “…that’s our newest acquisition, so we’re very proud of it. Lewis Carroll’s work has a market beyond the photography world, so these images are expensive.”
The exhibition has also been reviewed by Mark Feeney for the Boston Globe.
Xie Kitchin Asleep on Sofa, Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Silver, Salt, and Sunlight: Early Photography in Britain and France
Museum of Fine Arts Boston from February 7 until August 19, 2012
Alice in Wonderland is increasingly popular as a wedding theme on reality television and in life (one “credit crunch” bride has even described it as recession-defying). As ever, some couples go further than others. This week many blogs have been reposting these pictures of newlyweds Erin and Matt – a couple with a vision, to be sure. You can see many more pictures at BitRebels.
Back in Issue 83 of the Knight Letter we mentioned the incredible underwater photographs of Elena Kalis, but I wonder how many of you have actually had a chance to see them? Elena’s images are copyrighted but she is happy for people to share them on blogs like this. Three of my favorites are below and you can find many more on her website. The series is called “Alice in Waterland” and the model is Elena’s daughter Alexandra, who seems to be uncommonly good at opening her eyes underwater.
You can purchase the images as a calendar from Red Bubble.
Avax News is a website for interesting photos. Their mission is clearly stated:
Every day, Lord Almighty is responsible for hundred thousands of fascinating and mysterious events in our earthly existence, which people gaze upon with wonder through the lenses of the camera. The most gripping of those images you can find within these pages. Nothing less, nothing more. It’s just you and the images you see.
Earlier this year they posted a nice collection of high-quality Carroll-related photos under the sub-heading “Appealing.” There are images of Carroll, by Carroll, and of various stage productions. If you are looking for high quality images of a decent size, it may prove very helpful indeed. I would only caution against venturing away from the Carroll images via other sub-headings such as “Sad” or “Disgusting.” You know the internet. You have been warned.
Baby Leroy as "Joker" in the Paramount production of “Alice in Wonderland” (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). 1933
"Starfield" by Los Angeles artists Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French is among the "Circumspect" works on view at E6 Gallery. - SF Chronicle
This new Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French photography exhibit in San Francisco at the E6 Gallery is said to be “Lewis Carroll … inspired” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The exhibit, called Circumspect, was also described by Photograph magazine as “Fellini’s take on Lewis Carroll.” And Charbonneau says, “Our vision of the solar system and the universe based on a very simple idea: How would you view it as a child or see it in a tangible form that you can interact with?” The art looks lovely, even if the relation to Carroll is merely high-concept. (Could any art featuring girls in wondrous lands be considered in some way related to Carroll?)
Circumspect runs through September 14, 2011: 12-6pm Wed.-Sat.; 12-5 pm Sunday; at E6 Gallery, 1632 Market Street, San Francisco, California.
Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French: Circumspect, at E6 Gallery, San Francisco
Any 6-year-old girl obsessed with Disney Princess merchandise will tell you that Alice was not one of the princesses (‘princi‘?). However, it turns out a real princess seems to have been interested in Alice. At the center of the media spotlight right now is Prince William’s royal fiancée Kate Middleton, to be wed in a few short weeks, and guess what? She did her thesis on Lewis Carroll. The Daily Kate, a blog about a breadth and depth of topics as long as that topic is related to Kate Middleton, posted in June 2009 “Kate’s Lewis Carroll Dissertation Revealed.”
Posters on the internet have been circulating links to the title of Kate Middleton’s university dissertation in recent days. The topic of Kate Middleton’s project should shock no one who knows of her interest in art history and photography: it was a study of the photographic representations of childhood created by Lewis Carroll, author of the famous Alice in Wonderland books.
The website of the School of Art History at the University of St. Andrews lists an honors dissertation by Catherine Middleton, titled “‘Angels from Heaven’: Lewis Carroll’s Photographic Interpretation of Childhood.” Kate completed the paper as a part of her master’s program in art history at the university.
The dissertation topic fits well with what we’ve learned about Kate’s interest in photography over the years. Her work with her parents’ Party Pieces company includes photographing stock for the company’s catalogue and website. She also helped to host a photography exhibition of Alastair Morrison’s work to benefit UNICEF while still living in London; both Prince William and Laura Lopes, daughter of The Duchess of Cornwall, were attendees at that function.
Kate’s interest in art and photography, I hope, will bode well for her future patronage of and work with the heritage of British arts should she and William marry.
I don’t believe the text of the dissertation is out in public, which is well and good. (It’s listed on the St. Andrew’s website here.) Her thesis topic has also been mentioned recently in a Newsweek and Daily Beast article called “Citizen Kate,” if you want to read more about her. If you’re apathetic to tabloid subjects, this may seem more or less irrelevant to anything, but it is nice that the likely future Queen has good taste.
Simon Winchester, author of the excellent book The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, is back with a book about Lewis Carroll and the Liddell family called The Alice Behind Wonderland. The new book uses Carroll’s famous 1958 photograph of Alice as a beggar-girl as a launching point for the discussion. Former director of New York’s Morgan Museum and Library, Charles E. Piece, Jr., reviewed it in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago:
To my surprise, Mr. Winchester does not appear much interested in the influence that Alice Liddell might have had on Dodgson’s creation of the heroine of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and, six years later, “Through the Looking-Glass.” He simply relates the well-known story of how Dodgson took the Liddell girls on a picnic on July 4, 1862, during which he told them the tale of a little girl who had fallen down a rabbit hole. Alice, captivated by the tale, made Dodgson promise to write the story down and give it to her as a gift. In November 1864, he fulfilled that promise.
Mr. Winchester instead focuses on the odd estrangement between the Liddell family and Dodgson in the late 1860s, a breach that has remained largely unexplained. The most dramatic fact is that Dodgson and Liddell never saw each other again after he took the 18-year-old’s photograph in 1870.
The rest of that review is here. Simon Winchester’s The Alice Behind Wonderland was released March 17th with a hardcover price of $16.95.
Who are you?
Dr Michael Pritchard, a regular contributor to the British Photographic History Blog, has alerted us to his cautionary tale about the uncertain world of eBay bidding. The above daguerreotype, which if you can’t read it is captioned “Charles L. Dodgson Christ Church 1858,” recently sold on eBay for £3,300, about $5,300. The image, if you can’t see it either, is clearly not of Dodgson, in fact the sitter looks more like a cross between Benjamin Disraeli and the Mock Turtle. The suspicious back story to the sale and the insights of the photographic experts all make interesting reading here.
This is a pretty stylish “Lomography Diana F+ Mini Wonderland Edition Camera” exclusive to Urban Outfitters. Who knew anyone was still making classy 35mm cameras? Perfect for the complete Carrollian interested in both Alice merch and photographing their child-friends.
The Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA is currently offering a two-for-one deal on Wonderland-inspired photography exhibits. (Actually, both exhibitions are free and open to the public, which makes it an even better deal.)
These Strange Adventures: The Art of Maggie Taylor
May 14 – August 21, 2010. Admission Free.
Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh
Maggie Taylor is an artist of the digital imaging process. The exhibition features 40 of her photo montages created from 2003 to 2009, including 23 works from the project “Almost Alice: New Illustrations of Wonderland.” The illustrations were united with the text in 2008 in the now hard-to-find Modernbook Editions edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You can see more of the illustrations on this website.
The great puzzle, 2006, © Maggie Taylor
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Photographs by Abelardo Morell
May 7 – June 25, 2010 (Reception June 4). Admission Free.
707 Penn & 709 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Abelardo Morell, like Maggie Taylor, sculpts digital images but the results are strikingly different. This exhibition features fifteen images which were created by combining cutouts of Tenniel’s illustrations with Morell’s own photographs. The exhibition has been organized by the Silver Eye Center for Photography as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Photographs by Abelardo Morell
People of Pittsburgh, have you seen these exhibitions? What did you think of them?