We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


A marsh farm

circa 1885


Peter Henry Emerson

Cuba, United States of America, England

1856 – 1936

No image
  • Details

    circa 1885
    Media category
    Materials used
    platinotype photograph
    21.8 x 29.0 cm image/sheet; 28.7 x 40.7 cm card
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Accessioned 1983
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Peter Henry Emerson

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Peter Emerson made a significant contribution to Victorian photography. He argued that a photograph should imitate the eye and in so doing be naturalistic in affect. Emerson contended that a photograph should be taken slightly out of focus in order to achieve the effect of a distinct sharpness at the centre of the image and a slight blurriness at the periphery.

    Emerson's work is testament to the artistic qualities of photography and its purpose outside of documentation. However, Emerson was stringent in his dedication to naturalism and berated any sense of emotion in a photograph. Therefore, whilst Emerson and fellow photographer George Davison agreed with the redundancy of sharpness in photography, Emerson was openly critical of Davison's impressionistic aesthetic.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Peter Henry Emerson

See all 6 works