Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898) is far better known as Lewis Carroll and as the writer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. However, his beginnings lie in photography, and it was as a photographer that he gained his early fame, long before he took to writing one of my favourite stories of absurd ever. It is very sad that despite having built his own fully equipped studio and having undoubtedly mastered the medium, photographing Julia Margaret Cameron and Dante Gabriel Rossetti even, only 40% of his original portfolio survive while his photography ceased abruptly in 1880.
Obviously I love him, because he is the creator of Alice and the Hatter, the Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts. But I also love his work as a photographer. He was one of the first to establish the genre of art photography, trying to define its distinct borders, separating it from documentary and simple portraiture. His subject choice speaks to me, what could be more interesting than little girls, skulls, skeletons, grapes, dolls, dogs, trees, and marble statues. In his work I can see all the greatness to come. I can see the real Alice, far more captivating than most of us could have imagined. Every picture is a puzzle, a secret glimpse through his own looking-glass, a perfect rabbit hole to the mind of a story-teller like no other.