During the course of my research this week, I stumbled upon the following quote:
“The two most amazing powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.” – William Thackeray (1811 – 1863)
William Thackeray was an English novelist and is known most notably for his satirical “Vanity Fair”.
I can find nothing to suggest that Thackeray was in anyway involved in photography. He was, however, a very skilled artist, which in my opinion more than qualifies him to have made such a statement. Certainly photography was an emerging technology during his lifetime and, as an artist, it is not inconceivable that he may have made the statement.
Whether he held an interest in photography or not, whether he himself spoke these words or not, for me they capture a fundamental truism regarding photography and its purpose.
In researching the provenance of the quote, I spent some time looking at Thackeray’s sketches. The following image is entitled “Coach and Four”.
I think this is a wonderful example of his work.
William Thackeray, date unknown. Coach and Four