Oct 22, 2007

Kom Ombo

Egypt, Sinai and Jerusalem: A Series of Twenty Photographic Views, with Descriptions by Mrs. Poole and Reginald Stuart Poole

Kom Ombo

c. 1858

Francis Frith

(British, 1822-1898)


William Mackenzie

Albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 39.5 x 49 cm (15 9/16 x 19 5/16 in.); Matted: 61 x 76.2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1986.193



Frith often emulated the drawings of David Roberts in selecting monuments to illustrate and positions from which to shoot. Both artists encountered the temple at Kom Ombo still more than halfway buried in sand. “It reminds you of some grand old giant, buried to the shoulders,” wrote Frith, “not dead yet, but overpowered and imprisoned by some potent spell—majestic in his helplessness.” In his photographs, however, Frith cared less about emotional impact and more about the accuracy of his depictions. “A truthful record is of more value than the most elaborately beautiful picture,” he proclaimed.

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