D. O. Hill

Hill & Adamson1843 - 1847

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In the numerous portraits made by David Hill and Robert Adamson, Hill himself was by far the most popular subject. He appeared in more than forty calotypes, often as part of a group arrangement. Photography provided him with the opportunity to quickly explore new positioning and lighting; placing himself in front of the camera made these experiments even easier. In this image he stands against the doorway of Rock House, perfectly at ease and well-composed. "I know not the process though it is done under my nose continually and I believe I never will," wrote painter David Octavius Hill of the photographic medium. Hill clearly saw his role in the partnership as providing artistic direction. Robert Adamson, concerned more with photography's chemical and technical aspects, occupied a behind-the-scenes role and, as a result, appeared in very few photographs.

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