Photography

Carroll, Lewis (1832 - 1898)

Charles Dodgson became renowned as Lewis Carroll after he released the popular children’s story, Alices Adventures in Wonderland, in 1865. Not only an author and a mathematics lecturer at Oxford University, Lewis Carroll also pursued an intensive photographic activity from 1856. The Liddell sisters including Alice Liddell were his favorite sitters and the latter, his ‘ideal child-friend’. Not only did the young girl inspire his books’ main character, did she also model in theatrical as well as exotic costumes for many of his photographies. Shy and ill at ease among adults, Lewis Carroll preferred the company of children and especially young girls while almost half of his 3000 photographs represent youngsters. Some of his portraits - 30 of his whole production depict nude and semi-nude children- have shocked contemporary observers that have since questioned the nature of the photographer’s relationship with young Alice, suggesting he had pedophilic urges that he had yet never accomplished. Other specialists have defended the idea that nude children representations were quite standard in the Victorian era - Julia Margaret Cameron produced many -  as they were praised as the ultimate depiction of grace and innocence. Yet uncertainty remains, Lewis Carroll’s photographies and literature illustrate a strange inner world and reveal his erotic imagination described by Vladimir Nabokov as presenting a ‘pathetic affinity’ with that of Lolita’s narrator while, fueled by a counterculture psychedelic vision, Tim Burton believes his stories are ‘drugs for children’.

Lewis Carroll, Ethel Hatch dressed up as Turk, 1877
Lewis Carroll, Ethel Hatch dressed up as Turk, 1877
Lewis Carroll, Ella Drury, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Ella Drury, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Coates, c.1875
Lewis Carroll, Coates, c.1875
Lewis Carroll, Beatrice Hatch, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Beatrice Hatch, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Beatrice and Ethel Hatch, c.1872
Lewis Carroll, Beatrice and Ethel Hatch, c.1872
Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and her two sisters, c.1859
Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and her two sisters, c.1859
Lewis Carroll, Alice Emily Donkin, daughter of Professor Donkin of Oxford, 1st cousin to the Alice Donkin who married Wilfred Dodgson, c.1866
Lewis Carroll, Alice Emily Donkin, daughter of Professor Donkin of Oxford, 1st cousin to the Alice Donkin who married Wilfred Dodgson, c.1866
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin in Greed dress, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin in Greed dress, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin as Penelope Boothby, 1875/ 1876
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin as Penelope Boothby, 1875/ 1876
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin as Chinaman, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin as Chinaman, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin as Chinaman on tea-chests, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin as Chinaman on tea-chests, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Rosy Dreams and Slumbers Light, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Rosy Dreams and Slumbers Light, 1873
Lewis Carroll, Mrs. Rossetti playing chess with D.G Rossetti, Christiana and Maria Francesca, 1863
Lewis Carroll, Mrs. Rossetti playing chess with D.G Rossetti, Christiana and Maria Francesca, 1863
Lewis Carroll, Isabella 'Ella
Lewis Carroll, Isabella 'Ella" Maude Drury, c.1869
Lewis Carroll, Gertrude Chataway, lying on sofa, c.1876
Lewis Carroll, Gertrude Chataway, lying on sofa, c.1876
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, standing in a nightdress and crown, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, standing in a nightdress and crown, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, at about age eight, in fur-trimmed coat and hat, c.1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, at about age eight, in fur-trimmed coat and hat, c.1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin lying on sofa, 1875
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin lying on sofa, 1875
Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell,
Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell, "The Beggar Maid", c. 1859
Lewis Carroll, Amy Hughes, 1863
Lewis Carroll, Amy Hughes, 1863
Lewis Carroll, Self-portrait, 1885
Lewis Carroll, Self-portrait, 1885
Lewis Carroll, Florence Terry as a Turk, 1875
Lewis Carroll, Florence Terry as a Turk, 1875
Lewis Carroll, Irene MacDonald, Flo Rankin, and Mary MacDonald at Elm Lodge, 1863
Lewis Carroll, Irene MacDonald, Flo Rankin, and Mary MacDonald at Elm Lodge, 1863
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin with Japanese Sunshade, 1876
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin with Japanese Sunshade, 1876
Lewis Carroll, Self Portrait, half-length, seated on sofa with leaning on his right hand, c.1895
Lewis Carroll, Self Portrait, half-length, seated on sofa with leaning on his right hand, c.1895
Lewis Carroll, Emmie Drury, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Emmie Drury, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, c.1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, c.1873
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, c.1876
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, c.1876
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, c.1874
Lewis Carroll, Xie Kitchin, c.1874
close

Share this picture on