The Open Door, April 1844
William Henry Fox Talbot
salted paper print
Printed by Nicolaas Henneman
18.9 x 23.2 cm; image: 14.6 x 19.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 33487.33)
Talbot worked on the composition of "The Open Door", one of his best known photographs, for at least three years. The image is engaging both for its vernacular subject matter and its deep, inviting shadow. Talbot himself expressed its appeal: "We have sufficient authority in the Dutch school of art, for taking as subjects of representation scenes of daily and familiar occurrence. A painter's eye will often be arrested where ordinary people see nothing remarkable. A casual gleam of sunshine, or a shadow thrown across his path, a time-withered oak, or a moss-covered stone may awaken a train of thoughts and feelings, and picturesque imaginings."