(b. 27 January 1832; d. 14 January 1898)
Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an English writer and brilliant mathematician perhaps best known for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, written in 1865, and “Through the looking glass”, written seven years later.
He was a lecturer in Mathematics at Christ Church Oxford, and a clergyman. In his diaries he records that he learned photography by following his uncle, himself a photographer, on expeditions in the mid fifties.
His specialty became portraiture, and among his subjects were some leading people of the day, including Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Holman Hunt, the painter. He also photographed children. Alice Liddell, a daughter of the Dean of his college, was one of his many subjects, and it was she who became the model for Alice in Wonderland.
To have one’s portrait taken was often a pretty daunting business. Lewis Carroll described it very aptly in a poem:
“From his shoulder Hiawatha took the camera of rosewood. Made of sliding folding rosewood; Neatly put it all together…. Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges, Till it looked all squared and oblongs…. This he perched upon a tripod, And the family in order, Sat before him for their picture, Mystic, awful was the process.”
Nevertheless, Carroll’s portraits of children do not show this tension; doubtless he had a fund of stories which would enable them to relax and with exposures still in the order of 30 – 40 seconds, he was remarkably successful. The pictures of Alice Liddell are particularly delightful characterizations, with lovely pensive moods.
Carroll in fact had a Naturalistic approach to photography well ahead of his time. Some of his prints are to be found in the Guildford Museum in Surrey. Lewis Carroll and relationships with children.