Henry Peach Robinson described his passionate enthusiasm for photography in these dramatic terms. He learned photography from Dr. Hugh Diamond's instructions, which had been printed in the Journal of the Photographic Society. In 1857 Robinson abandoned the bookselling trade and opened a photographic studio, specializing in portraits.
Like his friend and colleague Oscar Rejlander, Robinson made combination prints, joining multiple negatives to create a singe image. He adopted a picturesque aesthetic from painting, finding the simplest object to be a worthy subject for artistic rendering. Like many early photographers, Robinson had to give up darkroom work at age thirty-four because of a nervous condition brought on by exposure to toxic photographic chemicals.
Robinson continued an active involvement in photography. He wrote the influential Pictorial Effect in Photography, Being Hints on Composition and Chiaroscuro for Photographers, first published in 1868. In 1891 Robinson and several others formed the Linked Ring, a society of photographers who had grown disillusioned by the photographic establishment as represented by the Photographic Society. He eventually succumbed to the poisonous effects of photographic chemicals.