keys on the piano will not bring forth any coherent music, nor will the mere opening of the camera shutter produce a picture. The camera itself has no vision, and it is high time that art critics took cognizance of this fact. If photography were mechanical, half a dozen photographers taking the same view or the same object would produce six identical pictures. But no, quite on the contrary, their individuality manifests itself in their choice of viewpoint and treatment of the subject.
Like the painter, the photographer has his individual style, which is the expression of his judgement, taste, and feeling. His judgement is evident in the selection of the hour of the day at which the object or view is shown in the best light. His taste displays itself in the selection of the most favourable viewpoint; his feeling is exhibited in the choice of the subject itself. All this will be immediately apparent to anyone who has seen a representative selection of a photographer's work.
However, more convincing than any argument are the photographs themselves. Perhaps after looking through this selection of Victorian photographs you may be more inclined to agree with my contention that they have a far better claim to being works of art than the artistic pretensions of a great many Victorian painters, famous in their day. A recital of their names evokes the ghosts from the cellars of our national galleries: Landseer, David Roberts, Rossetti, Millais, Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown, Val Prinsep, Burne-Jones, Dicksie, Leighton, Poynter, Alma Tadema. But whereas Landseer was of the opinion that 'Photography will always be a foe-to-graphic art', I believe that Landseer was a foe to art.