Larry J. Schaaf
The Virtues of Reality: Henry Talbot, Nature and Imagination
- University of Oxford, UK
- October 27th, Agostinho da Silva Auditorium
Much more than a scientific breakthrough, Talbot’s invention of photography was a dramatic demonstration of his fertile imagination. He started out seeking a replication of reality – the image of Nature as she saw herself – and this he soon attained. But the unexpected expressiveness of her images unleashed a flood of other ideas about the very nature of representation. Henry Talbot found himself immersed in a landscape of images that he had never imagined existed. His enthusiasm – his sense of discovery – was infectious and his influence on subsequent photographers was significant.
Larry J Schaaf, Director of the ‘William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné’, an online resource of the Bodleian Libraries, and Founder and Editor of the Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot Project. He taught photography and the history of photography at The University of Texas at Austin from 1970-1981, where he made extensive use of the Gernsheim Collection of photography and the archive of Sir John Herschel. He was the 1984-1985 Carnegie Trust Fellow at the University of St Andrews, where he obtained his PhD in Art History. He was the 2005 Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford. His published books include: Out of Shadows: Herschel, Talbot & the Invention of Photography (Yale, 1992) and The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton, 2000). He is a Professor in the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford and also a Research Associate in the History of Art Department there.