Thursday, March 10, 2011

19th Century Photography

A nature photography pioneer who a lot of folks may not have heard of was Henry Hamilton Bennett (1843-1908), who did photography in the Wisconsin Dells area in the second half of the 19th Century.

Bennett took up photography as a career after a musket ball through his hand, suffered in a Civil War engagement, derailed his plans to be a carpenter. He used cameras he built himself, including stereoscopic cameras.

This Wisconsin Historical Society site has biographical information and images including the striking above: an 1886 shot showing his son leaping from a cliff across a chasm towards a rock pillar. To get this image, remarkable at this time when long exposures were still the norm, Bennett used a camera with a stop-action shutter of his own invention.

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