David Young and Unknown Man, Newhaven

Photography Studio Hill and Adamson British, Scottish
Robert Adamson British, Scottish
David Octavius Hill British, Scottish

Not on view

This double portrait by the painter David OctaviusHill and the early photographer Robert Adamson is one of some 130 images they would make of the inhabitants of Newhaven and other small fishing villages near Edinburgh, Scotland. Entitled “The Fishermen and Women of the Firth of Forth,” their project constitutes the first sustained use of photographs for a social documentary purpose. During the age of the Industrial Revolution and its attendant social problems, Hill and Adamson presented Newhaven as an exemplar of village life—a community bound by tradition, mutual support, honest labor, and the continuity of generations. The artists attempted to emphasize these qualities by the careful posing of figures and by embracing the graphic strength and gritty effect of the paper negative (calotype) process. Here the focus is on a pair of young fishermen and the traditional willow basket used to haul their catch up the hill to the bustling market in Edinburgh.

David Young and Unknown Man, Newhaven, Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848), Salted paper print from paper negative

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.