Sunday, 3 October 2010

Lights, Camera, Portraiture

I took The Big One to see the Camille Silvy exhibition at The National portrait Gallery as one of his birthday presents today and we both really enjoyed it.

Camille Silvy was a pioneering French photographer who moved to London and set up a wildly successful portrait studio (1857-1867), photographing a huge array of society from Prince Albert to Operatic and Theatre performers to servants and stable hands. The portraits paid his bills allowing him to experiment with street photography where he produced a series of stunningly beautiful images using and developing a range of highly technical skills.

 The exhibition runs until October 24th and if you can see it, it's quite fascinating, particularly Camille Silvy's life story. Camille became maybe one of the first 'celebrity' photographers and after 10 years at the top of his industry retired due to mental illness (now believed to be manic depression) and lived the rest of his life in a psychiatric institution where he died almost forgotten.

"The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance."
~Ansel Adams

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