For my second post to commemorate the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland 150 years ago, I give you ArtLark’s article on Carroll and his photography. See Alice is at it Again #1 here. The title of this post has no connection to Lewis Carroll and his enchanting character but to the song by Noël Coward, which was the first thing that sprang to mind when I wrote that first post!
Originally posted on A R T L▼R K.
On the 4th of July 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in London. Written by Victorian author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898) under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, author, mathematician and Oxford don, this fantasy novel has since made him famous all over the world. Less known is the fact that Dodgson was also an avid and early practitioner of photography. He took it up in 1856, first under the influence of his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, and later, his Oxford friend Reginald Southey.
In that first year, he made about 2,700 photographs, the last of which he finished in 1880. Half of these are photographic portraits of children, predominantly girls, while 30 percent are of adults and families. Overall, Dodgson produced a selection of self-portraits, group photographs, still lifes, landscapes, pictures of works of art, as well as featuring literary narratives and skeletons (including that of an anteater) and other props for anatomical studies. He even made a portrait of the Dodgson family doll, Tim. The majority of his surviving photos are in American collections, and 407 of those are at the Princeton University Library, which published a comprehensive album of them in 2002.
The incipient stage of photographic tools and techniques in the late 19th century gave Dodgson the inspiration for the imaginative…
‘Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!’