Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and other beloved children’s books. But before achieving fame as an author, Dodgson was a prolific and sophisticated photographer, acutely engaged in the art world of Victorian England. This beautifully illustrated book is the first to examine Dodgson’s photographs not as the sideline of a celebrated writer, but as the creations of a serious photographic artist — and to demonstrate their importance to the history of photography.
Douglas R. Nickel traces the evolution in thought about Dodgson’s photography in the period since his death, demonstrating the ways it has been viewed largely through the filter of his literary reputation. Key to this have been certain preconceptions built up around Dodgson’s attitudes toward children, especially Alice Liddell, the inspiration for his first book and the subject of a number of his photographs. Nickel demonstrates how, by overturning the modern myths that have attached themselves to Dodgson’s photography, the works themselves can be seen again as they were by their original Victorian viewers. This analysis reveals not only Dodgson’s signal achievement in the medium, but also a new understanding of Victorian art photography in general.