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William Jennings, Pioneer Work in Photography of Lightning, 1930

A Word on Perspective

Born in England in November of 1860, William Nicholson Jennings would become one of America's premier photographers. He was a typist and a poet, a traveler and a scientist. Jennings had a scientific mind and a creative spirit, and he used his camera to photograph his time, determined to preserve it for the benefit of the future. Poetry, journals, scholarly articles and travel writings record Jennings' thoughts and experiences, and his photography itself reveals his fascination with the written word. Viewers of Jennings' photographs of cityscapes will note that their photographer has made a conscious effort to capture the writing on billboards and street signs. Jennings believed that the inclusion of words would provide a framework for his photographs, giving his viewers a proper perspective.

You can view one of Jenning's photographs of Philadelphia by enlarging the thumbnail at right. You can also access an image of the back of this photograph, which contains Jennings' description of the hazy day on which he took this shot of "the incompleted City Hall Tower" in 1892.

Please note: The non-darkened version of Jennings' note is authentic, while the darkened version has been manipulated for convenience.