William Golder’s The New Zealand Survey (1865): the relation between poetry and photography as media of representation.
William Golder’s The New Zealand Survey (1865) includes an epic poem recounting the origin and evolution of New Zealand as a landmass which becomes, with the arrival first of Maori and then British settlers, the scene and basis for the origin of a new nation and the advancing of human civilisation through the application of scientific and moral knowledge. Golder’s thinking about the role of poetry in this process is expressed through analogies with other media of representation which precisely define his aim in writing. His repeated and traditional metaphor for the linguistic work of the poet is that of clothing ideas with words; but in The New Zealand Survey, his third volume of poetry, he offers two other analogies, both tehnological — printing and photography — which extend the other traditional metaphor of picturing into the era of technical process and scientific invention.
References to photography occur in the third and fourth volumes of poetry published by Golder, The New Zealand Survey (1867), and The Philosophy of Love (1871).1 Using the photograph as an analogy for poetic representation is, in one respect, simply consistent with Golder’s constant enthusiasm for the new knowledge produced by the discoveries of science and its technological applications, and the new human and social capabilities which developed progressively in association with that knowledge. It can also be seen as an updating of the ut pictura poesis theory of the relation between verbal and visual media, a new example of the sister arts as they have been traditionally theorised in western aesthetics. But recent investigation of the relations between poetry, painting and photography in the first half of the nineteenth century have emphasised that this period marks a profound break with early modern theorising about the visual.2 Lindsay Smith affirms that, after 1839, the camera’s “novel presence transforms acts of looking, most obviously calling into question the concept of a faithful transcription by the artist of the external world . . . relations between the visible and the invisible, the empirical and the transcendental, are newly conceptualised.” He observes that, as a result of the tendency to consider the still photograph as the forerunner of the movie, “photography has received surprisingly little attention in interdisciplinary discussions of Victorian culture when in fact nineteenth-century visual and optical discourses, and - most centrally - photographic ones, have ramifications for literature and painting.”3
Photography, at its inception, like any new cultural technology, was an invention the implications and potentials of which were perceptible more through what Golder calls imagination and the English inventor of photography, William H. Fox Talbot, calls “floating philosophic visions”4 than in its initial products. Part of the excitement attaching to it was the way in which it unsettled established relationships in the whole field of representation, and how it was demonstrated that the extremely powerful claims for realism and the scientific mode of relating to nature which the products of photography appeared to endorse were not essential to the photographic process. Jennifer Green-Lewis proposes that “Perhaps the best evidence of the pervasiveness of photography in the nineteenth century remains its appropriation by [positivist realism and metaphysical romance]; photography’s power lay in its potential to be identified either as validation of empiricism in its surface documentation of the world or, conversely, as proof that any visual account inevitably represents the world inadequately. Realism’s triumph over the meaning of photography in general was ironic in that science deemed reliably truthful a process of representation that had achieved notoriety and popularity through its potential to lie.”5 With respect to Golder’s response to photography, it is nonetheless from the imbrication of photography with the culture of science that the values which he places on the term and its significance for our understanding of his poetic and cultural aims are derived.
Talbot coined the term “photogenic drawing” to signify what for him was the principal characteristic of the new method for making images, its independence from any human intermediation between “the objects of external nature” and their representation.6 The analogy with drawing is explicitly made in the title he gave to a series of photographs published under the title, The Pencil of Nature. In his work, a distinctive intersection occurs between art, printing, and scientific description of the natural world. Images produced by traditional means, whether drawn, painted or engraved, provide the context for thinking about the new medium and its difference from them. The photograph is, like other images, an arrangement of signifying marks on a surface; but it is most like the printed surface of black marks and white spaces because of the interposition of a mechanism, the camera or the printing press, between writer/artist/light and the representation.
For Talbot, inscribed surfaces were just as much objects for photography as were natural and architectural objects, and he understood from very early in his development of photographic methods and their applications that the reproduction and circulation of multiple copies would democratise art, make remote places accessible, and provide the scientist with representations of objects with an accuracy to detail which had never before been possible. Several photographs demonstrate the objectification of inscription: an extract from a manuscript of Byron’s; a stone inscribed with cuneiform script; and books on a shelf. These objects are just as real as anything else in nature; as signifying objects, they represent Byron as author, another culture which, like nature, has yet to be deciphered, and possibly Talbot in his intellectual character.7 Light impresses itself on paper just as printing impresses language and images on paper; in both instances, the representation is thought of as objectifying what it represents.8 It is obvious that, in this set of relationships between object, medium, and language, the terms and protocols for the production of scientific knowledge are being more completely articulated, most noticeably by emphasising the displacement of the human agent of inscription by a mechanical agent.9 But treating written language as an object points in a different direction to that envisaged for photography by its advocates and interpreters who were most committed to the terms of realism and which the photograph fully instantiated through its apparently transparent production of the real as such, because it refuses the correlative of the effacement of language and human agency in representation.
As Jennifer Green-Lewis notes, “The field of perception is created from and made possible by the technologies of the day, and those who exist within it, who must perceive as that field dictates, are subject to the possibilities and limitations within which it exists.”10 A particularly helpful way of orienting our thinking about the distinctive characteristics of Golder’s writing is provided by Geoffrey Batchen, who reframes the history of photography, not as an origin story with its beginning in the making public of the technical invention of the daguerreotype or photogenic drawing in 1839, but as a question about the origin of the desire for photography. From an inquiry into a group he calls protophotographers, together with others in painting and poetry, Batchen concludes that “the desire to photograph emerges from a confluence of cultural forces rather than from the genius of any one individual . . . during the two or three decades around 1800. The inference clearly is that it was possible to think “photography” only at this specific conjuncture. . . .What had to be invented instead [of the camera obscura] was an apparatus of seeing that involved both reflection and projection, that was simultaneously active and passive in the way it represented things, that incorporated into its very mode of being the subject seeing and the object being seen. That apparatus was photography.”11
The effect of grounding the new invention in cultural and epistemic issues is that, if this desire can be recognised in other contexts than the specifically photographic, the characteristics of the photographic can be perceived to be elaborated in those other contexts as a particular manifestation of the same desire. Put another way, a democratic conception of the poet can produce a mode of plain or unartistic writing which, if classified as unliterary from within the traditions of literary accomplishment, can also be seen to be manifesting the democratic and aesthetic values which became rapidly associated with photography as a popular medium. With respect to Golder’s poetry, its rhetorical and aesthetic qualities can be defined as exemplifications of the desire for photography, so that when he comes to use the process and its products as an analogy he makes explicit what is already a fundamental characteristic of his poetic practice.
Seeing through Writing
One reference by Golder to photography, in a poem entitled “A Retrospective Reverie” which concludes The New Zealand Survey, is dated to 1859 by an explanatory subtitle, “On receiving the ‘Hamilton Advertiser’ a provincial newspaper, sent from ‘Home,’ 1859”. This poem is an extended meditation on scenes and places in the region of Scotland which he left when he emigrated to New Zealand, the newspaper’s reports on all the villages in the vicinity of Hamilton inciting “retentive mem’ry” to recover “Old friendships, and old scenes of joy”. Reference to one village, in whose school he began work as a teacher, produces the following response:
Rosebank, your scenes are photographed
Upon my heart; in retrospection,
These, oft enjoy’d, make cares a void,
As Milton, Maulslee, Haughs of Clyde,
Rise beautiful in each reflection;
As when in placid lake is seen
Bright mirror’d—scenes,—although inverted—
Of azure skies, lawns, woods, and bowers,
Above which, gleaming mansion towers,
All, beauty’s duplicate, asserted !—12
In this account the image of Rosebank is and is not exactly like the real village. The scene from the past, both reflected and reflected on, is an inverted version of its original, an exact copy which is yet more intensely real than its original because of the purity of the reflective medium. In effect, recollection as a mental process is thought of as equivalent to the way in which a camera obscura mediates between the world of things and the spectator or observer. What it shows is not exactly the real place that is reported on in the newspaper, because the passage of time and distance has created a gap between the once actually seen place, which is now an image recorded on the heart, and its ordinary state of being “active in progression”. The mental image, like a photograph, is associated with what is “old”, of a former time, static; but it is not presented as modified subjectively, unless the heightened quality of the mental image signifies the idealising of the now remote scene. What is subjective is the joy experienced in response to reading the newspaper and reading about “scenes thus long forsaken”, a joy like that which “souls” might experience on seeing paradise.
In one crucial respect, these mental photographs of Rosebank are not literally like photographs, because the recollected images are coloured with a clear intensity of the kind produced by television or computer images. The actual medium through which Golder perceives “all these represented towns” is the newspaper; the effect of reading he describes as follows:
How like a draught of water cool,
So limpid, from the rock upspringing,
Unto a parched and fev’rish soul,
Those pages are:13
Here it is not the capacity of water to reflect, but its colourlessness signifying emotional neutrality and therefore clarity of perception, which figures the quality of the verbal image. The medium satisfies a deep need for connection to a distant place by stimulating the reader’s memories with descriptions which retain their real difference from those memories. In this account, the mental photograph is a joint production of medium and reader for which the real (now and then) is the common point of reference. The newspaper page and the photograph have in common as media objects typically a white surface modified by black marks; for Golder this “cool” surface signifies the representation of the real, colour as a quality of the real and as the sign of subjective investments in the real being a supplement provided by the reader/perceiver.
The poem itself, sharing with the newspaper and photograph the black and white medium of print, mediates “coolly” in another way than through images between the poet and the distant world of Scotland. The principal effect of the newspaper report is indicated by words like see, observe, notice; it is, like the camera or any other optical instrument, a mode of seeing the real. But the poem is not a transcription or versification of the newspaper report; it refers to the places named in the newspaper, but it primarily represents a state of mind, reverie, which is indicated by words like memory, mind, learn, know, virtue, thought, deem, reviewing, musing, console, rejoice, glad, and so on.
The reader of the poem is encouraged to see the contents of the poet’s reverie with the same kind of objectness, as having the same reality, as the places, things and people described in the newspaper. By objectifying what is otherwise a private mental experience, the poem renders it typical, not unique; just as a photograph represents what Talbot calls the external forms of things, just as though we saw them, so the poem represents mind and feeling, just as though we saw them too. And, strictly speaking, this is exactly what we do, seeing the record of nature in printed light14 and the record of thought in printed language.
Seeing through Pictures
Golder provides an explicit account of his approach to reading pictures in “The Crystal Palace of 1851”, a poem in two cantos which celebrated the Great Exhibition and was published in The New Zealand Survey in 1865. The poem opens as follows:
“A PICTURE is a poem without words,”
I’ve heard it said, or somewhere have it read;
But here, I see it,—aye, and something more!
I see in this, th’ imaginary past
Of strange romantic story, as a dream
Brought to reality, as with the wand
Which necromancers in their arts employ,
To conjure up some spell;—a palace great,
Of iron pillars rear’d, inlaid with glass;
And of dimensions spacious, vaulting high
Its roof o’er lofty trees, as one would take
A child within the shelter of his cloak!15
This passage demonstrates a conjunction of dimensions of thought in its relation to nature and time which are characteristic of Golder’s writing, the aims and aspirations of which which are resonant with a statement of Ruskin’s quoted by Smith:
The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and to tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, - all in one.16
Neither Ruskin nor Golder seeks to substitute the image for language as a medium of representation, but to redefine the terms of their relationship as modes of representation of knowledge. The thing itself, perceived as itself, is the criterion against which the products of thought are to be evaluated; both writers can be seen to be working out the Baconian tradition of empiricism in English philosophy and science, in which knowledge becomes corrupted over time by being generated only from within the terms and contents of the language system, that is, from the circulation of knowledge within a closed system of society and its institutions, which are themselves the expression of the distinctively human capacity to will to be true what is desired to be true. Poetry, prophecy and religion are not evacuated and simply replaced by science, but their roles in comprehending relations between the past and the future, the natural universe and its inherent significance, the empirical and the transcendent, and human perception and intellection are reconstituted in relation to the objectness of things as apprehended by vision, especially vision assisted by optical technologies.
The first line of “The Crystal Palace” is quite deceptive because, while it might appear to contrast picture and poem, “without words” locating the reason for the superior truthfulness of the image, in fact it defines a picture as a kind of poem, a means of representation and signification, a “written” object. Furthermore, the idea itself, represented by the line of poetry, circulates in words, spoken or written. Confirmation of the truth of the proposition, which he remembers but cannot source, is through an immediately present, visible object: “here, I see it . . . I see in this”. Printed as a preface to the poem is an “Advertisement” dated March 4, 1853, which provides a succinct summary of the argument of the poem and concludes with the observation, “To me such sentiments presented themselves when contemplating a picture of the Crystal Palace.”17 The poem, therefore, is itself a representation of an act of reading as observing and producing knowledge from those observations. The structure of his concluding sentence signals once again the mechanisation of the act of perception in its concentration on an object as such and the attribution of the “sentiments” expressed in the poem to the effect of this act of seeing in bringing to the surface of awareness what is “in” the picture. The human perceiver is not rendered irrelevant; quite the contrary, it is the act of contemplation which generates knowledge from the object and it is the act of writing which makes that knowledge available to the poet and to others. But the phrasing of the statement insists that the poem is not the expression of the poet’s will that the truth should take a certain form, but that the poet is the medium through which the meaning of the picture makes itself known.
Which picture of the Crystal Palace did he have in front of him? As yet I cannot say exactly, but his references allow me to put forward a picture for the purposes of investigating his approach to reading in more detail [Ill.1]. It is an interior view from an official catalogue18 of the industrial products which were displayed in the building, and it is an engraving, the most likely form of the picture he was actually looking at.
The picture invokes a domain of knowledge and writing, that of romance and magic, imagination and fancy, which seems antipathetic to the values which I have been affirming that Golder associated with sight and representation. But here this genre and mode of apprehension serves the same purpose that it does for Talbot when he describes the images produced by the camera obscura as “fairy pictures, creations of a moment and destined as rapidly to fade away”.19 The Crystal Palace, like a photograph, is a real thing; its difference from the familiar orders of the real is marked by attributing to it a power to signify which exceeds that of ordinary things in nature and society. Here what is usually taken to be the distinctive quality of a subjective, even if collective, dream state is actually (not figuratively) seen to be the objective condition of the real. The conventional contrast between the real and the imagined, in which the creations of the imagination are intended to compensate for the defects of the real in order to gratify the mind with pleasure, is here displaced; the defects of the real still provide the point of reference for acts of the imagination, but the Crystal Palace as a new creation is itself part of the real and demonstrates that the difference between the real and its perfection can be overcome in the real, not only in fiction, whether narrative or pictorial. Hence, “in” the picture of the Crystal Palace Golder sees an object which exists in a strange zone of time and space; it is a present object located in reality but beyond any possibility of direct experience for him (“living, I may say, at the ends of the earth”), “destined like a dream/To disappear as it had never been” (104), an object which seems to come from “th’imaginary past” while “Eclipsing quite the visionary scenes/ Of fairy lore!” (86-7). The building signifies the transformation of history and of human knowledge, which he witnesses in the picture and affirms through the writing of the poem. It marks the advent of a new era, one of powers which, like traditional magic, modify (“charm”, “amaze”) the mind and its apprehension of reality. The proof of these powers and of the work they can effect in society and history is located in reality, not the imaginative or dream state traditionally attributed to poetry. The task of poetry becomes prospective, assisting those who have limited imaginative capacity — “the unpoetic mind”, the “driest prosy intellect that lived” — to grasp the implications for the future of what these instances in the present signify about the potential hidden in the future. For this potential to be realised, Golder affirms that it depends upon comprehending what the real has to tell, and applying that knowledge to the transformation of those domains of the real as yet untransformed.
Poetry as a medium through which to see assumes a prophetic capability by proposing to offer sights of the future, not as the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy but by extrapolation from objects in the present which serve as potent signs of that future. The ultimate author of these signs, which is how religion, poetry and prophecy can remain interrelated as discursive practices, is God; as Golder affirms, “in [the Crystal Palace] I see the hand of Providence/Marking the course of great events to come” (87). But this seeing, as with the writing of the poem, is not a passive action; as an observer with a poetic mind, he is responsible for revealing that hand through its compositions, especially those which have been achieved through human agency. The whole of the second canto of the poem dwells on genius and its inventive outcomes for the betterment of human life; its architect “Paxton’s genius of construction”, which is demonstrated by the Crystal Palace is just one example of how this creative work is “urged by a directing Providence.” Like Britain itself, these “active minds” are each “an instrument/For spreading truth and science through the world!” (103).
The poem provides the words missing from the picture, but Golder claims that the words of the poem express what is ‘in” the picture, that is, “reality” and the potential which it signifies. Both poem and picture are, then, presented as transcripts of the real in different media. The critical point is that, for Golder, the way each medium is employed should conform with the criteria established for accurate observation of real objects through the medium of the eye; poem and picture serve, like optical instruments, to expose the reality of the object and the tendencies in history which it signifies more fully to knowledge.20
A Monochrome Medium
In the case of the Crystal Palace, the real object is a human construction, a product of culture which eclipses nature and incorporates it in itself. It is the transformation of nature by culture which lies at the heart of Golder’s poetic work, his sense of poetic vocation and his work as a settler in New Zealand. The poem gives language to the Crystal Palace just as it gives language to nature. But Golder’s whole emphasis is not on language as the sign of the distorting intrusion of the human into nature; instead, he places language itself into nature through the tradition which interpreted the human supplementation of nature as the ability to decipher the meaning/truth of nature and to express that truth in language, making manifest the word of God written into the things of his creation.
“The New Zealand Survey”, which contains the other reference to photography on which I want to comment, was begun in April, 1864, during a survey, and it narrates the history of New Zealand from the perspective of geological time. It begins with an invocation:
Who may look back on unrecorded time,
And feel unawed at the momentous view;
When nothing but what is sublimely great
Unfolds itself in every phase and form?—
Then oh! what words can lab’ring thoughts employ
T’express the feelings felt, or ev’n pourtray
Those scenes majestic passing in review
Before th’ imagination, as we aim
To trace their causes, from th’ effects produced?—
All stereotyped, and stamped indelibly
On Nature’s ample page! From such we dare
Bring forth to light, what long has lain concealed
In darkness—deeds now buried in the past,
As deep as those in far futurity,
The subject only of prophetic lore!—
But of the past, the Muse may dare unfold,
Such deeds, traced in the foot-prints of events,
Which have transpired, and long since passed away!
Nature’s interpreters, if Poets be,
While on their souls, as clearly photographed
Her features are,—a real image fair
Reflected, as if in a mirror’s sheen
Men see their likeness chastely shewn, and true,— (1)
The full force of the analogies Golder makes between poetry as a mode of discovery of true knowledge and the media of printing and photography are demonstrated in these lines. He does not claim for himself the quality of genius which he attributes to the inventors who are his subject in Canto 2 of “The Crystal Palace”; as a poet, his vocation — “on me imposed/By Him who made us” — “as interpreter/Of nature’s language” is similarly instrumental but it lacks agency. He thinks of himself as Talbot thinks of the camera, as a mechanism by which an external, non-human power can write the truth about the world. For both the camera and the poet, the source of the visual or verbal representation each produces is an extrinsic “impulse” communicated through the lens/eye; the specifics which are “presented to the eye” (2) are not modified in any way by the mediating apparatus. So, while the poem does not itself directly produce new objects in the world, like the inventions displayed in the Great Exhibition, it participates in the general process whereby God progressively reveals universal truths to humanity through minds receptive to the promptings of Providence.
The ability to be an interpreter or decoder of nature is represented by Golder as equivalent to the ability of the camera to produce exact images of nature. It is necessary to be able to see what is external to the poet as it is in itself. The poet’s soul is therefore likened to the sensitised paper on which light impressed or inscribed the true image of the object presented to the camera, or a mirror’s surface in which the reflected object (and hence not the object itself) is represented with negligible interference from the medium itself. While the mirror’s image does not exclude colour, the link between “true” and “chastely” makes a link between the disciplining of imagination and emotion which submission to the presented image requires, and the association between true representation and the form of an object, typically associated with line and the contrast between black and white.21
Some lines from the second Canto, compared with Moresby’s photograph of Ngauranga [Ill.2] provide a succinct example of these relationships and the specific aesthetic effect sought from them:
So here, though clothed in Nature’s vernal robes
This scene delightful, calling forth our praise,
And admiration, still, all speak of change
And revolutions buried in the past;
But which oblivion fails such things to veil,
Though such might ’scape the less enquiring eye
That doats on beauty, willing to admire! (12)
Although the exact image is the model of true knowledge, Golder also demonstrates that, without the specific capability of language, knowledge of anything but that which is immediately present to the observer within the field of actual observation would be impossible. What does it mean to “look back on unrecorded time” or into “far futurity”? Unlike the camera, which can represent nature as it is at the moment of the photograph, the poet can create a true account of nature by constructing images in the mind which are not reflective of nature as it is in the poet’s present, but which have an equivalent reality. The imagination is presented as like a cinema screen, a medium on which a narrative history of the past can be represented with complete fidelity to nature. The true representation of what is no longer fully present in the world but which can explain both the present and how the future will unfold is to be derived from traces, “the foot-prints of events” which only those who “Know how t’unravel” nature’s language can reconstitute. While vision provides the model of true representation, it is only in language that the sequence of relations over time can be expressed. Golder enters the poetic construction of this true representation of New Zealand through his situation on a “lofty ridge, which overlooks/Hutt’s upper valley”, but the panorama includes the “marks” by which “Each part . . . its own history [can] declare” (2-3). While the basic requirement is to see only what is there in nature to be seen, the poet or observer in this account is not passive. Golder’s phrase, “the roving eye” (3) invokes the active work of the traveller noticing what has not been noticed before, recognising its difference but able to do so because the mind is informed, not vacant.22
Philippe Ortel demonstrates through a contrast with representation in writing that photography’s “historical specificity” as a medium lies in the relation between light and the present in time:
the photographed present is not the entire present; it reduces it, leaving only the visible aspect. . . . its primary value lies in this reduction. In addition, unlike written accounts which tend to link given moments in time together, the photographed present is not relative to anything but exists in its own right through the picture. . . . Once it is subject to the nature of visible reality, the present can manifest itself in three ways which are found in technical operations; instant appearance, gradual materialization and finally perpetuation, which ensures that the object will be a permanent feature in the world. . . . The status of an event, the duration of its advent and the vocation of monument which characterize such a construction are an accurate analogy for the temporality of a photograph, which starts with the development of a latent image in the darkness of a laboratory, and ends with the fixation which allows the picture to be preserved.23
The example Ortel gives of the three ways in which the present manifests itself is the Eiffel Tower, a cultural and not a natural object, like the photograph itself. The Crystal Palace would serve equally well, and Golder’s poem confirms Ortel’s analysis by adopting as a theory of history and invention, natural and cultural, the same progression from latency to completed object which Ortel attributes to the photographic process. The obvious conclusion is not that Golder himself drew this equivalence, but that the cultural forces achieving embodiment and representation in his work as a settler and a poet of New Zealand are the same forces manifested in the desire for photography. When Golder inserts the term photography into his poetry, he signals in a complex shorthand his recognition of the precise cultural coordinates in relation to which his project of creating a new literature for a new nation is being directed.
1 The New Zealand Survey; A Poem in Five Cantoes. With Notes Illustrative of New Zealand Progress and Future Prospects. Also The Crystal Palace of 1851; A Poem in Two Cantoes. With other Poems and Lyrics, (Wellington: J. Stoddart and Co., 1867); The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems (Wellington: W. Golder, 1871).
6 On the origin of the term “photography” and its cognates, see Geoffrey Batchen, Burning with Desire. The Conception of Photography (Cambridge, Mass. and London: The MIT Press, 1997), pp.62-69, 100-102.
7 Larry J. Schaaf, The Photographic Art of William Henry Fox Talbot (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2000), Plate 78, “A Scene in a Library”, which “might have been a self-portrait of the inventor” (p.100).
8 Larry J. Schaaf, Out of the Shadows. Herschel, Talbot & the Invention of Photography (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 161, writes that “Talbot clearly saw that the future of photography was inextricably intertwined with that of the printing press.”
9 Barbara Stafford, Voyage into Substance. Art, Science, Nature and the Illustrated Travel Account, 1760-1840 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984), p.47, on the “issue of a verbal (and pictorial) scientific style”.
10 Framing the Victorians, p.31.
13 Ibid., p.161.
14 This phrase is taken from the title to an exhibition catalogue, John Ward and Sara Stevenson, Printed Light. The Scientific Art of William Henry Fox Talbot and David Octavius Hill with Robert Adamson (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1986).
16 Victorian Photography, Painting and Poetry, p.22.
18 The Art-Journal Illustrated Catalogue of the Industry of all Nations, 1851, p.xviii.
19 The Pencil of Nature, n.p.
20 Barbara Stafford writes that, “By the end of the eighteenth century, the word illustration had become identified largely with engravings. Its meaning had been extended to embrace ‘embellishment’ as well as ‘explanation’ or ‘intellectual illumination’. . . The Baconian notion that a language stocked with the proper word for each object gives us information that could not have been obtained without that language was the overt motive behind the rise of the illustrated travel account, in which text and image were integral to the process of learning. The writer alone, however indefatigable his powers of perception, could not hope to give a complete representation of all the facets of a scene. An illustration, therefore, is a picture of the world inserted into a verbal text, and represents a gesture towards semiotic wholeness” (Voyage into Substance, p.51). For an assessment of the effect of photography in disrupting the relationship between written, drawn and printed lines, see Gerald Curtis, “Shared Lines: Pen and Pencil as Trace”, in Victorian Literature and the Victorian Visual Imagination, eds. Carol T. Christ and John O. Jordan (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 27-39. He writes that, “in the Victorian period, ‘the line’, whether drawn or written, functions as a trace that constitutes the sign of meaning” (27).
21 Lindsay Smith discusses “the complex and strategic naturalization of black and white photography [by which an] ability to see the world in monochrome entails a reading of black and white as transparent” (108) during the nineteenth century in “Photographic portraiture and the forgetting of colour”, Journal of European Studies, 30 (2000), 91-110.
22 An excellent example of this mode of informed perception is provided by William Swainson, whom Golder commemorated in another poem in The New Zealand Survey, “Stanzas To the Memory of Wm. Swainson Esq., F.R.S &c., Departed Hence, December 7, 1855”. See Smith, Framing the Victorians, pp. 32-44, on “Wanderers and Wandering Eyes”.