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Norfolk Broads

Photographer: Peter Henry Emerson (1856 - 1936)

'Coming home from the marshes, c.1886' 

Emerson was passionate and dismissive in turn about photography’s status as an art form. 

He wielded huge influence in the photographic world of the 1880s and 1890s and chose to reproduce the photographs in his first and most famous book in platinum. While probably chosen partly on account of its permanence compared to silver prints, this was an inspired choice. No other process could summon up so effectively the flat brooding light of the Fens as the delicate grey tonalities of the platinum process.

Emerson was a Cuban-born photographer who spent most of his youth in New England. He moved to England in 1869 where he attended King's College London, and Clare College, Cambridge. He abandoned his career as a surgeon to become a photographer and writer.

Platinum print

From Peter Henry Emerson, Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads (London [1886])

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