Frederick Evans (British, 1853–1943) was a man of deep intellectual inquisitiveness. His delicate but intense platinum and photogravure prints represent the conjunction of at least two streams of philosophical inquiry dear to the Victorians: the conundrum of natural laws and their relevance to and manifestation in the physical world and the connections between the various branches of scientific and artistic expression. Through his picture taking, Evans sought a spiritual harmony between these apparent dichotomies.
While he earned a living for a period of time as a bookseller, his interests extended beyond literature to music, art and the philosophy of natural science. His first foray into photography was in 1883, when he bought himself a camera with which to make photomicrographs.
As he acquired greater mastery of the process of photography, he also honed his powers of observation, capturing with ever increasing rigour cathedral interiors and facades, forests and landscapes. He was also a printer of sublime sensitivity, making prints that lead the eye across the “infinitely related planes” of Gothic columns at one moment, and then in another, into the complex details of dense foliage.
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada