Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
BTW, no historical figure and many current day are not available to "defend themselves" so 90% (if not more) of any discussion about anything except the weather involves talking about people not here to defend themselves. Sad, but true.
Photography leaves a legacy, an unavoidable circumstance all photographers should be aware of. In Carroll's case, he wrote some rather disturbing letters exhorting the family to have Alice pose for him. So he left a written record as well as the photos. He didn't need the money, so another motive is clear from the letters themselves.

Did he molest her? Probably not. Did he have a fetish. Certainly. Is this using today's ethical framework to unfairly judge a person who lived a long time ago in an era of different morality? Let's just say that Alice's mother was obviously concerned about Carroll's attentions. It is crystal clear in the letters that his attentions were found objectionable, but the family of Alice was in a dilemma as to how to treat this famous peer without losing face and hard-won prestige in an era where that was the prevailing social currency. Carroll's manipulations to get Alice to pose is largely based on him throwing his fame around, utilizing fear of shame by the family by turning down a famous man. He threw his weight around.

So what if he cannot defend himself? The evidence is quite incriminating as to his objectionable, sexually charged behaviour towards a young girl. He left the evidence in his own hand. It is simple logic that defending yourself is impossible from the grave, so what physical or written record of your life will be the historical testimony. His is a cautionary tale for both subject and photographer alike.