William Henry Fox Talbot

Shadow of a Flower

1839 ?
Struggling to recall his earliest thoughts on photography, Henry Talbot wondered whether the idea "had ever occurred to me before amid floating philosophic visions." This ghostlike flower, sinuous and dancing almost like a creation in smoke, is such a vision, floating alive within a vase-shaped piece of paper. Photography's paradox is that it represents a precise point in time, but one available evermore. While the flower would have withered away within hours, it remains ever fresh in Talbot's rendition.
Title
Shadow of a Flower
Date
1839 ?
Medium
Photograph
Materials
salted paper print
Dimensions
11.1 x 7 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 1973
Accession number
33538