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WINk magazine interview

23 April, 2010

The newest edition of WINk Magazine has an interview with me about my book Darwin’s Camera. The interview runs from pages 53-56. The writer, Charlie Fish, had some interesting questions that no one else has ever asked me. For example, Charlie wondered if Rejlander made any money working for Darwin. I was sorry to tell him that even though Rejlander was one of the best known and most respected artists of his day, he died a painful death just two years after finishing his project with Darwin (probably from a form of diabetes), and without a penny to his name. Darwin paid him for his work of course, and later gave him some money to help him out, but Rejlander was deeply in debt and donations had to be raised to pay for his funeral. Some people also tried to raise money for his widow Mary, who was left with nothing except a set of her late husband’s photographs. When she exhibited them in London, Peter Henry Emerson, one of the great photographers of the next generation, wrote a scathing review. Emerson was nothing if not opinionated. In any case if that isn’t a cautionary tale, I don’t know what is. Rejlander was hugely influential, widely celebrated, and he worked with great people like Charles Darwin, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Lewis Carroll. But some people always hated his work, and he lived in abject poverty.

Darwin’s Camera was published at the end of 2009 and has been getting great reviews, including being mentioned as one the best art and architecture books of the year by the New York Times. WINk is a new quarterly magazine that showcases cutting edge and alternative photography. It’s well worth checking out, and not just because I’m in it.

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