William James Stillman (American, 1828 – 1901)
Reproduction print from an Albumen silver print, 1882
Number 30 in the “Atene” album, is a spectacular example of Stillman’s skill as a photographer, his adherence to Ruskin’s criteria for a picturesque image, and his interest in representing unusual and unexpected views of the Parthenon – the most commonly photographed building on the Acropolis. The strong pattern of light and shadow creates a striking visual rhythm, and is critical to the picturesqueness of any image, according to Ruskin. An interior point of view would not have been commercially available, reflecting Stillman’s goal of appealing to a more erudite audience and of his desire to reveal the technical aspects of the classical architecture.