Homer purchased his first camera (now in the Worcester Art Museum) during his stay in England in the early 1880s. By 1890 Homer’s older brother, Charles, had given him an Eastman Kodak box camera, and both men took photographs on their fishing excursions to Florida and the Adirondacks. This photograph, which is an enlargement from the original negative or print, was likely taken during their trip to Florida in 1904. The scene of trees draped with Spanish moss along a waterway displays distinct similarities to other photographs and watercolors by Homer of the Homosassa River. Despite his evident engagement with photography, Homer’s photographs are rare. Moreover, he was silent on his interest in the medium, on whether it influenced his art, and on whether he considered his own photographs as fine art or simply as personal snapshots. As such, attribution of photographs to Homer (most of which have been passed down from the Homer family collection) presents difficulties.
—Susannah Maurer, graduate intern for Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History and member of the Class of 2006, Graduate Program in the History of Art co-sponsored by Williams College and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute