'Two Ways of Life'
Composition pictures (where several different negatives were
used to make a print) were somewhat controversial in the 1850s, some
photographers believing them to be 'cheating'.
But this photo, produced from 32 negatives by OG Rejlander and submitted to
the Photographic Society of Scotland's 1857 Exhibition, was more
controversial than most.
- O G Rejlander considered his photography to be
- The photo had been highly praised when exhibited in Manchester.
- However, the PSS Hanging Committee declined it because of its
semi-nude female figures.
- The Daily Express was vexed with the decision and
“O G Rejlander's
‘Two Ways of Life’ was exhibited in the Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester.
The Prince Consort has three copies of it.
Sir David Brewster, the President has one copy.
It will scarcely be credited that the amateur ‘hanging committee’ of PSS
rejected it because there were half-draped female figures in it.
Call at Mr
Wood’s, 88 Princes Street, where
the rejected photograph may be seen.”
A compromise may have been reached. I have
read a report that the picture was displayed with one half hidden behind a
draped cloth, though I'm not sure where it was on display in this way.
Professional photographers tried for more
representation on the 'Hanging Committee, but were not successful, so they began
to hold their own informal meetings.
In 1861, they, together with a number of amateur
photographers, formed Edinburgh Photographic
Society, and from then on, the earlier society, The Photographic Society of
Scotland, began to go into decline