The introduction of the wet plate process and the relaxation of Talbot’s patent restrictions led to an explosive increase in the number of people making their living from photography.1 During the 1850s, some of England’s most notable photographers, including Roger Fenton, Robert Howlett, and Henry Peach Robinson, abandoned their amateur status and turned professional. Photography had become a business with a widening division of purpose between amateurs and professionals. The professionals were motivated by market forces to produce salable products. The amateurs pursued their personal inclinations and claimed the moral high ground of art, beauty, and truth, relegating the professionals to the corner of crass commercialism. The professionals perceived the amateurs as elitists who ignored the basic photographic needs of the majority of people. Amateur groups, such as the Royal Photographic Society of London, championed their role of pursuing photography for its own sake. The publication of Sir William Newton’s article, “Upon Photography in an Artistic View” (1853), brought to a boil the issues surrounding the purpose of photography (see Chapter 3). Was photography the handmaiden of art or could it be an art unto itself? Was it a technical process or did it possess its

own syntax that set it apart from other mediums? Was photography’s purpose to objectively reproduce what was before the camera or could it be controlled for artistic concerns?2