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The orthodox pilgrim on the Holy Land

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Francis Frith (1822-1898)
Френсис Фриз

For fifty years, Frith was the most productive landscape photographer in England. he has often been seen as a mere mass-producer of images, or even as a "non-photographer". The fine early series of photographes which resulted from three trips to the Near East between 1856 and 1859.
There are striking similarities between Frith and Pre-Raphaelities. Holman Hunt, and his follower Thomas Seddon. These two artists travelled together in Egypt and Palestine just one year before the arrival of Frith. All three shared a pious desire to experience the biblical sites at first hand. Each in addition took on the problems of heat and "impalpable fetid dust" in the service of interests more peculiarly his own.. Frith, for his part, had it in mind to corner the lucrative market in "views" of Egypt and Palestine at that time dominated by lithographs of drawings done by D.Roberts in the 1840's.
In Frith's images are features similiar to those found in the Near Eastern landscapes of Hunt and Seddon: a depature from Romantic conceptions: high horizons; empty skies (which, in Frith's case were techically unavoidable); a delight in the patterns of geological structure criss-crossed with those of human impress; each component of an evocative landscape presented "as it is", in unshaded sunlight, the myriad details in no way diminishing the effect of panirama. Frith's venture was crowned with success. Publishers jostled to bring out lavish volumes of his photographs. He began his exhaustive tours of Britain and of the Continent, and produced, in due course, many more volumes, among them "The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings" (1864) and photographically illustrated edition of Longfellow's "Hyperion" (1865).

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