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Old February 12th, 2013, 12:52 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Charles Darwin Portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron, today, Dawin's Day!

This day February 12th is designated Darwin's Day. An 1868, the British naturalist Charles Darwin rented a cottage from by Julia Margaret Cameron, the famous Brish portraitist and then went to her chicken house to sit for his portrait and he paid her for it!. Darwin Day, an international celebration of science and humanity, is today,12th February and the Economist picture Desk, chose this picture for today's, picture of the day!




Julia Margaret Cameron: Charles Darwin


Charles Darwin is famous for his studies on the forms of life that evolve under environmental selective pressure, with survival of only the fittest in competition for resources, location and food.

Just in case you think that Darwin was some great genius, who thought up natural selection, it actually goes back to pre christian times to the time of the Greeks. This was already in the works of Epicurius but became known in the first century before Jesus, though the epic 6 part poem by Lucretius, from a privileged patrician family in Rome. Darwin's grandfather was already familiar with that latin poem! This argues that creatures do not arise de novo but instead compete and evolve over thousands of years with the strongest surviving. This poem was constantly being confiscated and destroyed by the church till it was lost altogether for 400 years. Then, in 1417, Poggio Bracciolini, a brilliant copyist, (who became free from work, as his employer, the current Pope got booted out of office! He had means now, and he devoted himself passionately to finding old documents. He re-discovered the last remaining copy of Lucretius' lost poem in a Gregorian Monastery. This one poem held the keys to understanding of chemical structure, of atoms and molecules and the nature of life and death and the universe. It reinvigorated scientific and philosophical thinking. It influenced Gallileo, atomists leading to the notion of modern chemistry and the infinite nature of the universe in which the earth was just a minor player.

So here's to Darwin for actually going out to document what Luctretius had advocated 500 years earlier!
"When Darwin was asked late in his life if he had ever read Lucretius, he stated to the incredulous questioner that he had not. But it is all there in Lucretius, whether Darwin had read it or not." Source. Well, by then Lucretius was already embedded in our culture and for sure, Darwin's grandfather knew about the poem and its implications.

So anyone with a brilliant idea has to know that there's a huge gap between brilliant thinking and then executing that idea! Everyone who nurtures an idea and helps sustain it is to be praised!

Asher
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Old February 12th, 2013, 01:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Julia Margaret Cameron
b. 1815 Calcutta, India, d. 1879 Sri Lanka
photographer
British


"After receiving a camera as a gift, Julia Margaret Cameron began her career in photography at the age of forty-eight. She produced the majority of her work from her home at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. By the coercive force of her eccentric personality, she enlisted everyone around her as models, from family members to domestic servants and local residents.

The wife of a retired jurist, Cameron moved in the highest circles of society in Victorian England. She photographed the intellectuals and leaders within her circle of family and friends, among them the portrait painter George Frederick Watts, the astronomer Sir John Herschel, and the Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She derived much of her subject inspiration from literature, and her work in turn influenced writers. In addition to literature, she drew her subject matter from the paintings of Raphael, Giotto, and Michelangelo, whose works she knew through prints that circulated widely in late nineteenth-century England. Summing up her influences, Cameron stated her photographic mission thus: "My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real and Ideal and sacrificing nothing of the Truth by all possible devotion to Poetry and beauty." Source
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Old February 12th, 2013, 01:14 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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This is Julia Cameron's, (as she says), "first success in photography"!




Julia Cameron: Annie

British, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, January 1864
Albumen print
7 1/16 x 5 5/8 in.
Getty Museum
84.XZ.186.69


Enjoy more of her pictures from the Getty Museum collection here.

Now your comments and favorites too!

Asher
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Old February 12th, 2013, 01:20 PM
Chris Calohan Chris Calohan is offline
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I love albumen printing...even the old school process of separating the eggs, dipping and turning the paper, applying the silver...it's such a nice, earthy process. And the yolks make a beautiful creme brulee. You get to have your print and eat it too.

Julia Cameron...just great stuff. Nothing to be added to a long tome of praise and adulation.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 02:16 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Now your comments and favorites too!

Favourites? This one:

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Old February 12th, 2013, 03:43 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Favourites? This one:

Jerome,

This is so classically informed. It reminds me of a Christ child adoration! Obviously she was a very well educated person... and had the talent to draw on those resources for this picture.

Asher
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Old February 13th, 2013, 08:50 AM
Jarmo Juntunen Jarmo Juntunen is online now
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So anyone with a brilliant idea has to know that there's a huge gap between brilliant thinking and then executing that idea! Everyone who nurtures an idea and helps sustain it is to be praised!
Darwin is certainly to be praised for shedding light in the dark. If it wasn't for brave man and women such as him the mankind would still be living on a flat earth not knowing how to use fire to cook.
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Old February 13th, 2013, 09:43 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Jarmo Juntunen View Post
Darwin is certainly to be praised for shedding light in the dark. If it wasn't for brave man and women such as him the mankind would still be living on a flat earth not knowing how to use fire to cook.
Jarmo,

What's sad is that, on the way, we ignored or destroyed the worlds of Lucretius who, almost 2 millennia earlier, already told us the world was round, and not the center of the universe and nor was man! Imagine all the great ideas that were similarly burned, suppressed or ignored. We have a built in resistance to believing "foreign" ideas. Indeed, part of what we call "creativity" is the openness to novel ideas. Conservative dogma can be the enemy of free observation and rational thinking. However, many religious people have manage to become great scientists, philosophers and thinkers beyond the sphere of religious code.

Asher
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Old February 13th, 2013, 03:56 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
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I'll second Asher's extolling of Titus Lucretius Carus C.98 - c.55 BC.

I have his "On the Nature of Things", books I to VI, on a close at hand library shelf. Reading the original latin is slow going for me so I appreciate H. A. J. Munro's fine english translation. I doubt that most of the ideas in this great work are original to Lucretius himself.

The text reads like a distillation of the best accumulated thoughts of worldly, clever, preceptive, and intelligent men making sense of the pre-Christian world about them. The absence of dogma and superstition is refreshing. And the genius of Lucretius was to render it all into cogent, memorable, and persuasive verse.

Like Lucretius before him Charles Darwin wove together existing intellectual threads, added incisive original research, and synthesised the Origin; again without dogma and superstition.
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Old February 13th, 2013, 09:12 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
I'll second Asher's extolling of Titus Lucretius Carus C.98 - c.55 BC.

I have his "On the Nature of Things", books I to VI, on a close at hand library shelf. Reading the original latin is slow going for me so I appreciate H. A. J. Munro's fine english translation. I doubt that most of the ideas in this great work are original to Lucretius himself.
Maris,

So pleased I have discovered another thing in common between us! I also decided to read the regional in Latin. It's hard but not impossible. I wish I had a translation that had the latin one side and the translation on the other. There are a number of translations. They read like Shakespeare's verse. I will look at the Munro version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
The text reads like a distillation of the best accumulated thoughts of worldly, clever, preceptive, and intelligent men making sense of the pre-Christian world about them. The absence of dogma and superstition is refreshing. And the genius of Lucretius was to render it all into cogent, memorable, and persuasive verse.
Most of the 6 part poem, in Latin, follows the original prose text by Epicurius, in Greek. Epicurius wouldn't go for poetry as it was not straightforward. Lucretius used poetry as the "honey around the bad-tasting medicine one gives to a child". This was the way to spread the word in a society that believed in a flat world, with devils and spirits, worms that sprung forth from the ground from nothing when it rained and death with the possibility of heaven but the overwhelming risks of damnation in hell. The order of the ideas was originally exactly as written by Epicurius but as Lucretius worked he created extra sections and changed the order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
Like Lucretius before him Charles Darwin wove together existing intellectual threads, added incisive original research, and synthesised the Origin; again without dogma and superstition.
Brilliant work. He denied having read Gregor Mendel's work on free assortment of factors that are inherited and the nature of recessives and dominants. Another genius who's work was almost lost. when Mendel died, the new Abbot, (of the monastery where he had served as Abbot), burnt all his papers to get out of an argument over allocation taxes to the government and most of his original documents were lost. Great he's already published much of his findings. Still, hardly anyone noticed and the work was forgotten for many decades too!

Asher
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