Once described as "the father of the British School of Landscape Photography," Alfred Horsley Hinton was born in London to Alfred and Mary Witherington Hinton in 1863. By 1875, he is sketching and painting landscapes, and within seven years, the young man is photographing them. Therefore, it is a natural progression that he would open his own photographic supply business in 1885. At the age of 24, he became editor of the Photographic Art Journal, and in so doing became one of the first photojournalists. After the publication folded, Mr. Horsley Hinton became a protege of renowned pictorial photographer Henry Peach Robinson, and began managing his son’s studio as well as operating his own Guildford portrait studio.
However, by the 1890s, Mr. Horsley Hinton divided his time between photography and journalism, and was named editor of Amateur Photography, a position he held until his death. He also becamse a founding member of the Linked Ring Brotherhood photographic society, and participated in its first exhibition at the Dudley Gallery. In 1894, he received a medal at the Royal Photographic Society for his Harvesting the Reeds exhibit. His popular brooding landscapes illustrate the artistic power of pictorial photography, which he believed should be manipulated to achieve greater aesthetic impact. However, his photographs present an appealing compromise between the extremes of sharp and fuzzy photography that his pictorialist contemporaries favored. His foregrounds of skies and clouds were as poetic as they were visually compelling, and upon seeing the easily identifiable characteristics of his landscapes, exhibit patrons could be heard to declare, "That’s a Horsley Hinton, I’m sure of it."
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, Mr. Horsley Hinton focused primarily upon writing, becoming a frequent contributor for The London Times, Yorkshire Post, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Graphic. He also authored several critically acclaimed photography textbooks such as Handbook of Illustration, Practical Pictorial Photography, Gelatino-chloride Printing, and Platinotype Printing. His articles, books, and lectures grabbed the attention of early pictorialist champion Alfred Stieglitz, who included two of his articles in his publication Camera Notes. Mr. Horsley Hinton became an international ambassador of British pictorialism, when he traveled to the United States to exhibit his photographs at the St. Louis Exhibition in 1904. While touring America, he took a series of photographs of Niagara Falls that became world famous.
Sadly, 45-year-old Alfred Horsley Hinton died at his Essex home on February 25, 1908, and a shocked global photographic community grieved over his passing. Photographer Alexander Keighley summed up the collective sentiment best when he observed of his colleague, "His untimely death will be mourned by a very wide circle, to whom his help and encouragement were so freely and generously given, and even more so by those who had the great privilege of his intimate friendship." Though largely forgotten today, early twentieth-century photojournalist Henry Snowden Ward placed Mr. Horsley Hinton along with David Octavius Hill and Julia Margaret Cameron in an elite "pantheon of the greatest British photographers."
1908 The Amateur Photographer, Vol. XLVII (London: Hazell, Watson, & Viney), p. 219.
1905 Art in Photography (London: Offices of ‘The Studio’), p. 6.
2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), p. 664.
1978 Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art), p. 382.
1908 Photographic News for Amateur Photographers, Vol. LXIII, (London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin), p. 222.
1908 Photography, Vol. XXV (London: Kodak Ltd.), p. 175.
1908 Wilson's Photographic Magazine, Vol. XLV (New York: Edward L. Wilson), pp. 178-180.
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