Henry Peach Robinson by Niamh McInally

Who was Henry Peach Robinson?

Henry Peach Robinson (23 December 1830 - 6 December 1901) was an English Pictorialist photographer who was known for his pioneering combination printing, which joined multiple negatives or prints to form a single image; an early example of photo-montage. Robinson's Pictorialist photographs and writings made him one of the most influential photographers of the 19th Century.

A portrait of Henry Peach Robinson.

What processes was he known for?

The name itself (Pictorialist) came from the thought of Robinson. In his desire to separate photography as art from the scientific ends to which it had been applied, Robinson suggested appropriate subject matter and compositional devices, including the joining together of sections of different photographs to form a single "composite" image. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Henry-Peach-Robinson

Fading Away (1858) is one of Robinson's most famous photographs and was a skilfully printed composite photograph which was made from five negatives.

What equipment did Henry Peach Robinson use?

An early form of photo-montage, the technique of creating a combined print involved a very intricate process whereby several negatives were exposed onto the same paper. This process is known as gum bichromate, which is a 19th-century photographic printing process based on the light sensitivity of light dichromates. Gum bichromate involves multiple layers of light sensitive chemicals on watercolour or printmaking paper, rendering a painterly quality to the image.

Linked below are two videos which explain and show the gum bichromate process - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL6rkKxFcaM


How to emulate the Pictorial process digitally;

Unlike times past, applying this Pictorial process does not require the use of a large room, developing and art supplies, nor does it require long hours of careful image manipulation by hand. This Pictorial process can now be accomplished thanks to the many photo editing software programs widely available.

Linked below is a YouTube tutorial explaining how to create a black and white vintage effect on Adobe Photoshop -


Created By
Niamh McInally

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