Henry Peach Robinson
[Photographer, b. 1830, Ludlow, Shropshire, England, d. 1901, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England.]
It must be confessed that it takes considerable skill to produce the best kind of lies. It is in the hands of first-class photographers only—and perhaps the indifferent ones—that photography can lie.
... any “dodge,” or trick, or conjuration of any kind is open to the photographer’s use so that it belongs to his art and is not false to nature. If the dodges, tricks, etc., lead the photographer astray, so much the worse for him; if they do not assist him to represent nature, he is not fit to use them. It is not the fault of the dodges, it is the fault of the bungler.
The aim and end of the artist is not truth exactly, much less fact; it is effect... There is no doubt he [the photographer] best gets his effect by way of truth, but he uses it as he would a servant, not a master.
Men usually see little of what is before their eyes unless they are trained to use them in a special manner. (1867)
It may be said that there is scarcely anything our art cannot accomplish, even to seeing things invisible to ordinary senses and photographing the living bones of which are frames are made. (1896)
The means of producing pictures in our art [photography] are as good as those of producing paintings in Raphael’s time; and nothing but a deep and earnest study is required to make our pictures rank with the works of the most famous men. (1860)
It is [the photographer’s] imperative duty to avoid the mean, the base and the ugly, and to aim to elevate his subject... and to correct the unpicturesque... A great deal can be done and very beautiful pictures made, by a mixture of the real and the artificial in a picture. (1867)
The photographer must not let his invention tempt him to represent, by any trick, any scene that does not occur in nature; if he does, he does violence to his art, because it is known that his finished result represents some object or thing that has existed for a space of time before his camera.