The Making of English Photography: Allegories (Hardback)
  • The Making of English Photography: Allegories (Hardback)

The Making of English Photography: Allegories (Hardback)

Hardback 368 Pages / Published: 05/10/2006
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Since the production of the first negative by William Henry Fox Talbot in Wiltshire's Lacock Abbey in 1835, English photography has played a central role in revolutionizing the production of images, yet it has largely evaded critical attention. The Making of English Photography investigates this new enterprise--and specifically how professional photographers shaped a strange aesthetic for their practice.

The Making of English Photography examines the development of English photography as an industrial, commercial, and (most problematically) artistic enterprise. Concentrating on the first decades of photography's history, Edwards tracks the pivotal distinction between art and document as it emerged in the writings of the "men of science" and professional photographers, suggesting that this key opposition is rooted in social fantasies of the worker. Through a close reading of the photographic press in the 1860s, he both reconstructs the ideological world of photographers and employs the unstable category of photography to cast light on art, class, and industrial knowledge.

Bringing together an array of early photographs, recent historical and theoretical scholarship, and extensive archival sources, The Making of English Photography sheds new light on the prevailing discourses of photography as well as the antinomies of art and work in a world shaped by social division.

Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN: 9780271027135
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 1361 g
Dimensions: 254 x 178 x 25 mm


"The Making of English Photography is based upon close readings of key nineteenth-century photographic journals, particularly The Photographic News, which was the most important of the numerous publications sponsored by the photographic associations of the day. Edwards's vigorous attention to this extensive literature forms an invaluable contribution to art history's grasp of the development of photography."

--Ellen Handy, CAA Reviews

"This is an important book. Edwards makes connections between Victorian photographs and the social and cultural transformations of machine labor that future scholarship will need take into account."

--Joanne Lukitsh, Victorian Studies

"Perhaps the greatest service this book provides is to enable and encourage departures in the intelligent directions its author has chartered for us here."

--Douglas R. Nickel, Art Bulletin

"Edwards' book is extremely well written, and there is definite energy in his use of analogy and the methodological exactitude of his research."

--Sarah James, Art History

"This is an ambitious and complex book, addressing a neglected area of photographic discourse and scholarship. Edwards sets out in very clear terms the methodology and ambitions of his project and delivers a rich and rewarding analysis of the ideological conditions that framed the rise of photography in Victorian Britain."

--Russell Roberts, Head of Photography & Senior Curator of Photographs (National Museum of Photography, Film & TV)

"One can hardly dispute any of the arguments Edwards puts forth in the book; the labor of meticulous research is not only clear at the level of the sentence, but the arguments are nuanced and very finely wrought."

--Zahid R. Chaudhary, British Studies

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