Albumen print from wet collodion negative
Image: 36.7 x 42.9 cm (14 7/16 x 16 7/8 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 71.1 cm (22 x 28 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1990.33
Roger Fenton was a versatile and prolific artist who abruptly ended his brief, 12-year career as a professional photographer to return to the practice of law. Nevertheless, his architectural and landscape photographs have brought him recognition as the greatest British photographer of the 1850s. In this picturesque scene, Fenton focused on a single figure ascending a precarious wooden bridge that hangs suspended between two craggy surfaces. He often included people in his photographs to indicate scale and to enliven the composition. Fenton's wet collodion negative rendered the texture of the riverbed in minute detail, transforming the dark tones of the rocks and the random pattern of the light-colored lichens into a lively, abstract design. The slow speed of the negative, relative to the swift movement of the stream, turned the rushing water into a dense, white cloud.
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