Better Than the Oils

“I find I often like the photographs better than the oils—they are perhaps mechanical, but they are honest. The artists add and deduct: the artists fool with nature. . . . I think I like the best photographs best.”

He would often comment about how photography was part of an emerging democratic art, how its commonness, cheapness, and ease was displacing the refined image of art implicit in portrait painting: “I think the painter has much to do to go ahead of the best photographs.”

 “They have photographed me all ages, sizes, shapes: they have used me for a show-horse again and again and again.”

Walt Whitman


 Portraits of Walt Whitman by Thomas Eakins