Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Real Alice

With all the hub-ub of Tim Burton's rendition of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) is man of the hour. I myself, a fan of both Burton and Carroll, have seen the 3-D movie twice (a bit nerdy, I know). That being said, yesterday I took my lunch break at the ICP museum store and stumbled upon the photographic works of the latter. I never knew he was a man behind the lens.

Carroll became involved in photography in 1856 and used it as an entree into social circles, where he took portraits of some notable figures.

He did photographic studies of men, women, children, and landscapes and some studies of nude children have surfaced, although there is little evidence of any motives of perversion. It is said that Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was based on a girl of platonic (again, controversial) interest, and a frequent photographic subject, Alice Liddell, as photographed in the two pictures here (above with her sisters).

Carroll ceased all photography in 1880, and the reason why is still unknown. Most of his work was deliberately destroyed.

See more of his work, here and here.

All images: Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson); From top: On right with Sisters circa 1859, dressed up as a beggar maid 1858.

1 comment:

aestiegman said...

I love your blog. As to Dodgson I can recommend the outstanding biography Lewis Carrol: A biography by Morton Cohen. There are in fact many of Dodgson's photos around though by now most are in private collections and museums (some would appear at auction back in the 80s as I recall), what he destroyed were the nudes of which, as you rightly point out, only about a half dozen or so still exist (Cohen has a platge of them in his biography). He destroyed them because he realized that it might be viewed poorly in the Victorian age in which he lived. Notably, none of the them were of Alice Liddel, in fact he was never with her unescorted. Keep up the great work.

-Al Stiegman