Describing and Interpreting “Fading Away” By Henry P. Robinson
The photography piece I am going to write my analysis on is an albumen print measuring 24.4cm x 39.3cm, which is one of Henry Peach Robinson’s most famous photographs, “Fading Away” created in 1858. “Fading Away” is a composition of five negatives, due to there being no way of enlarging images at the time, and also attained an attractive result that the collodion process couldn’t of achieved . The staged image depicts a young girl dying of tuberculosis and her mourning family; her fiancé, mother, and sister surrounding her. This quickly became a debatable piece of photography, and some felt the theme and subject of death and grief ,was not suitable for photography. People at the time were use to the idea of photographs as a recorded proof of incidents that took place during a certain time in reality, so to a lot of viewers, the staged “Fading Away” of a young girl dying was very shocking to viewers. It was once said by a critic that Robinson had “cashed in on the most painful sentiments which it is the lot of human beings to experience." In 1860, Robinson explained his creation process of “Fading Away” negative, to the Photographic Society of Scotland, which led to extreme displeasure and disapproval calling his piece a “realist manipulation” that was too “painful” for viewers to see. At the time, it would seem perfectly all right for painters to paint pictures on such themes, but not photographer. A painting can capture almost everything photography can represent. However, a painting cant be one hundred percent accurate, because a painter reflects his own interpretations and emotions onto the painting as well as the actual incident. Photography shows the immediate reality of what happened in a certain situation. The form of the image corresponds with the time this photography piece was created due to the monotonous color, and the formality, which intensifies the morbid theme of the...
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