A Stiff Pull

A Stiff Pull

A farmer guides a plow behind a team of two horses as he tills the earth in the English spring countryside. England’s Victoria & Albert Museum notes of this work included with this second-edition portfolio:

In 1889 Emerson published his controversial book ‘Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art’ without images. ‘Naturalistic Photography’ examined his purist approach to photography, derived from his fascination with Naturalism in art, and attacked the prevailing artificial aesthetic in art photography. After its publication Emerson felt that his opponents had misunderstood his ideas. So, in 1890 he selected 10 plates from his book ‘Pictures of East Anglian Life’ (1888) that best illustrated his theories, and presented them loose in a portfolio dedicated to the ‘photographic student’, with the same title and cover of the book. He then donated copies of this portfolio to every photographic society in the country.


Included in the folio as plate # III, A Stiff Pull was also reproduced as a line engraving on the recto of the oversized canvas board folio, but with the odd inclusion of the ocean with sailboats and gulls flying overhead on the horizon.

print notes recto: signed within lower right corner of image: P.H. EMERSON; labeled in graphite at lower right corner of mount: III

A Stiff Pull

Image Dimensions20.7 x 28.8 cm shown cropped to plate marks

Support DimensionsDetail: 34.1 x 42.6 cm stipple-textured on recto, moderately-thin plate paper