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  2. Rejlander, Darwin, and the evolution of ‘Ginx's Baby’: History of Photography: Vol 23, No 3
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For this reason, he felt evolution as theorized by Darwin was impossible. His arguments were persuasive, and he convinced a wealthy Bostonian businessman, Nathanial Thayer, to fund an expedition to document the thousands of animal species in the Amazon basin. He thought he could demonstrate theses species had not changed over the ages, proving evolution false, and planned to use photography to document his observations. The photography aspect, though, contained some pretty bizarre stuff. Needless to say, his book A Journey in Brazil , was not the evolution killer he had promised.

The photographic documentation that had interested Darwin never appeared. Darwin spent years collecting and studying photographs and paintings of the various emotions. He did obtain several usable photographs, and, of course, a lot of connections with the photographic community that help make 6 Degrees of Darwin so easy to play. Duchenne had discovered that by applying small electrical currents over the muscles of the face, he could create any type of facial expression. This was an important benefit in an era when taking a photograph required several seconds of exposure.

Darwin was quite pleased to have such good photographs of emotion, but felt that, even in his day, people might just be just a bit distracted by the electrodes and wires in the photographs. Darwin finally decided it might be better to make them engravings and leave out the electrodes and stuff. Darwin also used engravings for most of the animal expressions in the book.

Rejlander, Darwin, and the evolution of ‘Ginx's Baby’: History of Photography: Vol 23, No 3

I suppose he could have asked Duchenne to do his electrode thing with some animals. I get tickled just thinking what the lab would have looked like, oh, about 30 seconds after he decided to apply that current to a gorilla. But less than a year before publication, Darwin still did not have what he felt were acceptable photographs to illustrate most human emotions.

In Darwin settled on the well-known photographer, Oscar Rejlander, to obtain photographs for the remaining illustrations. The connection between Darwin and Rejlander was obvious. He felt photography was art and any means that allowed artistic expression was fair.

The draperies, for example, are actually the edges of a tablecloth in his studio. His best selling photograph, Poor Jo , seemed to be a spontaneous photograph of a homeless child in London. He maintained good cheer and worked diligently, but his images no longer sold well and he was struggling financially. But he had worked for some years capturing emotional expressions, especially of children, so he had a large number of stock photos already available as examples. There was also the fact that Rejlander was exceptionally good and Darwin had publication deadlines approaching.

The bottom line is Rejlander delivered and the book contains a number of is images, demonstrating exactly the emotions Darwin wanted demonstrated.


In fact, 19 of the 30 photographs in the book are by Rejlander. Several of them are actually self-portraits of Rejlander acting out various emotions. Actually, the images were more successful than the book. Rejlander sold over , prints of the images he made for the book, compared to the 7, books sold in the first edition. The picture became so famous that Rejlander sold thousands of prints in different formats, making it his most profitable photograph, ever. Rejlander, ever the jokester, later mimicked the picture showing that really laughing and crying were very little different. He even made a stereoscopic card of himself next to the picture, making a similar expression of either laughing or crying, which he sent to Darwin. Rejlander made another double print near the end of his life, Rejlander Introducing Mr. Rejlander seems to be celebrating his two best selling images. The delivery timescales do not include any customs clearing times beyond Fruugo's control. Any customs or import duties charged on delivery are solely the responsibility of the customer.

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We will notify you by e-mail once the products reach the retailer and are accepted for return. Or are you looking for Search the Archives? Back Print this record. Please complete the form to email this item. The recipient's name Recipient's email address Your name. Ginx's Baby Object: photograph. More information Download PDF version. Physical description Glass negative of a crying baby.