Dr. James Leon Williams (United States, born 1852): "The Old Lock at Welford"

Photogravure, 7.25 x 9.5 inches, 1892

Williams was a dentist and a scholar, the inventor of modern dentures, and a photographer of considerable talent. He was one of the first American photographers to grasp the artistic potential of the photogravure process. Williams' work follows the precepts of the "Naturalistic" school of photography founded by Peter Henry Emerson. Emerson advised photographers to keep the central subject of the composition sharp, allowing the focus to drop off in the background. The resulting atmospheric effect was thought to be more "natural," because Emerson believed the human eye could concentrate its focus on only a single plane.

"The Old Lock at Welford" is from Williams' tour de force, The Home and Haunts of Shakespeare (Scribner's, New York: 1892) , a splendid folio that includes 45 full-page photogravures and more than 165 other illustrations.


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