James Downs (ed.), A Carnal Medium: fin-de-siècle essays on the photographic nude. Portsmouth: Callum James Books, 2012.
A Carnal Medium. Fin de siècle essays on the photographic nude is a collection of ten articles originally published in three journals during the period 1893-1898. These articles were addressed to a specialist (though not necessarily professional) readership rather than a general one, but then – as now – there was a large crossover between amateur and professional in photography. The writers could therefore assume a degree of knowledge of techniques and processes on the part of the readership which is not generally held in the digital age of the twenty-first century.
The articles all address the problems – both practical and ethical – presented by photographing the nude figure, but taken together they also generate a discussion on the role of the nude in photography and on the relationship of photography to painting. While this is mainly general, it also includes one photographer’s replies to specific points raised in an article by a fellow photographer to create an interesting public dialogue. Continue reading
The following CFP may be of interest to Edwardian scholars:
Workers and Consumers: The Photographic Industry 1860-1950
Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester
24-25 June 2013
The history of photography has largely been dominated by concerns about aesthetic production and its political framings. Such ‘art historical’ approaches have marginalised the study of the economic base of the medium manifested through a developing photographic industry, its related trades and its mass consumers. Work is now emerging in this field, scattered across a number of disciplines: history, anthropology and history of science in particular. While there has been extensive research on both the politics and the affective qualities of popular photography, family albums, for instance, the missing component in the analysis is often a detailed and empirically informed understanding of the social and economic conditions of product development, labour forces, marketing and consumer demand. Continue reading
‘Cromwell Road, 1906′(detail) by Edward Linley Sambourne
As reported by The Guardian earlier this week, Kensington and Chelsea Libraries have discovered a new set of photographs by the political cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, documenting Edwardian street style. These works are held, along with along archival material relating to Linley Sambourne, at Kensington Central Library. A selection of the photographs can currently be seen at their blog. Recommended for fans of Edwardian photography, fashion, and literary women.