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Oscar Gustave Rejlander
Two Ways of Life
Carbon print, composite
National Science and Media Museum
The Royal Photographic Society, Ref Number: 2003-5001/2/20758
The photograph shows two young men and their father, the men choosing between a righteous or an immoral way of life. The group on the left of the scene represent the evil path, a pair of men gamble and two sirens try to tempt the man. On the right Religion, Knowledge and Mercy are among those who represent the righteous way of life.
The photograph is a composite image, assembled from 30 individual negatives printed onto one large piece of paper. First exhibited at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857, the image proved controversial for its depiction of nude men and women in the same image. Queen Victoria, however, bought a copy for Prince Albert.
For an analysis of this photograph: Juliet Hacking (ed.), 2012, Photography: The Whole Story, (Prestel), pp. 116-117