Phillip Prodger

In October 2009, Oxford University Press published my book, Darwin's Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution. The main subject of the book is Charles Darwin's use of photography, especially in his amazing illustrated book of 1872, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

Rejlander PhotographOscar Rejlander, Indignation, 1871–2, albumen print

Expression was one of the first photographically illustrated science books ever published. The illustrations, depicting human expressions such as laughter, crying, indignation, and surprise, were among the earliest action photographs. Many were made by the great eccentric photographer, Oscar Rejlander. The book traces Darwin's knowledge of art and art theory throughout his career. This sheds light on how he went about illustrating his work and reveals some of the strategies he used to lay out his theories of evolution by natural and sexual selection. At the same time, Darwin's unique illustration style helped shape the way scientists present visual information, and earned acceptance for photography as an objective medium.

Among the artists, critics, and photographers Darwin interacted with were: Conrad Martens, Augustus Earle, John Gould, John Ruskin, Charles Eliot Norton, Briton Riviere, Thomas Woolner, Joseph Wolf, Oscar Rejlander, Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne de Boulogne, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Lewis Carroll.

I have written a number of articles about Darwin and art for scholarly books and journals, including an essay about Darwin's photographs that appeared in the popular HarperCollins edition of Expression in 1998. More information about this book is in my Press section.

Phillip Prodger, Darwin's Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution, [New York and London: Oxford University Press, October, 2009]. ISBN-13: 978-0195150315.