Emma Barton (photographer)

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The Awakening, a 1903 carbon print

Emma Barton (1872 – 1938) was an English portrait photographer.

Born Emma Boaz Rayson into a working-class family in Birmingham, she became the common-law wife of a solicitor, George Barton. She was introduced to photography by the brother-in-law of her stepfather, and first became known by publishing portraits of Dan Leno, the music hall star and relative of her husband, in 1898. She then began to exhibit portraits and religious subjects, being awarded the Royal Photographic Society Medal in 1903 for The Awakening.

In the new century her photography was influenced by Old Master paintings, the Arts and Crafts movement and the Pre-Raphaelites, and she was also a pioneer of color photography using the Autochrome Lumière process.

After 1918 she ceased to exhibit and photographed only her family. She retired to the Isle of Wight in 1932.


  • James, Peter; Sidey, Tessa and Taylor, John (ed.) (1995). Sunlight and Shadow : the photographs of Emma Barton, 1872-1938. Birmingham Libraries and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. ISBN 0-7093-0207-X. 
  • McCabe, Eamonn (2005). The Making of Great Photographs: Approaches and Techniques of the Masters. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 96–7. ISBN 0-7153-2220-6. 

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