Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Art Heroes - Southworth & Hawes Photography

Some of the most inspiring (and oldest) photography was done by the photography firm of Southworth & Hawes  ( Albert Sands Southworth (1811–1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (1808–1901).  They were primary active between from 1843-1863 in Boston.

These guys really amaze me. I love the way they arrange their subjects. The sitters seem a lot more real then most of the Victorian photography I've seen before. They photographed some of the most famous people of the time including Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Daniel Webster. But the daguerreotypes that really stand out for me are the everyday people...the "unidentified" people.

Unidentified Child, circa 1850
The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Family, 1849

"The artist, even in photography, must go beyond discovery and the knowlege of facts; he must create and invent truths and produce new developments of facts. "
--A.S. Southworth, 1870
Death of Pain (first public administered Ether anesthesia)1847

Rollin Heber Neal

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1857

Alice Mary Hawes, 1852

"Learn to look and see the difference under different lights in the same faces. Learn to see the fine points in every face, for the plainest faces in the world are human faces, belonging to human beings... "
--A. S. Southworth, 1873
Unidentified Girl with Ringlets, circa 1850's
Unidentified Woman, circa 1850
Unidentified Dead Child, Circa 1855

"In the nice production of light and shade which is the perfection of modelling, the Daguerreotype will be found to surpass the Artist's best efforts, being capable of representing independently, action, expression, and character to a great extent; and in some instances approaches very nearly, if it does not equal these higher branches, thus developing beauty in grace of motion and in repose, which is the first object and the supreme law of all Art."
--A.S. Southworth, 1855

Two Women Posed with a Chair, ca. 1850 
Unidentified Woman, 1852
Laura Bridgman, 1855

Winchester Family Tomb, Mount Auburn Cemetery, circa 1853

Unidentified Girl, 1850
Winter Portrait with Fur Coat and Gloves

Unidentified Child, 1850

Of course this is only a tiny bit of work by Southwork & Hawes. You can find more in the book, "Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes. You can also see more Photographs in this flickr set from the George Eastman House.

I hope these daguerreotypes have inspired you as much as they inspire me. 

Now, I'm off to work on a custom portrait...

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