The Art of the Photogravure
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Niépce and Fizeau
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The History of the Photogravure
Emerson & Naturalistic Photography

THE INVENTION OF THE Talbot-Klic process coincided with Peter Henry Emerson's pursuit of Naturalistic Photography. Emerson, a physician turned photographer, was the proponent of controversial ideas concerning photography and art. In his book entitled, "Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Arts" (1889) Emerson claimed that a sharp and uniform image does not accurately represent the way the world appears to our eyes. He believed that for a photograph to be "truthful" it should be soft and impressionistic, bringing it closer to what he considered the appearance of nature.

Because grain-gravure prints are not as sharp as actual photographs, Emerson preferred the gravure process. He admired the softened image and liked the delicate tonal scale possible with gravure. It was Emerson who first believed that gravures should be considered original prints.

Emerson's gravures were used to illustrate five books between 1887 and 1895, and can be considered some of the earliest examples of pictorial and fine art photographs.



Peter Henry Emerson, The Poacher
Peter Henry Emerson, 1856 - 1936. Denotes An Original
The Poacher. 1888.
Photogravure print.
23.5 cm x 28.4 cm