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Camera as Historian : Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination, 1885ndash;1918

ISBN: 9780822351047 | 0822351048
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Duke Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 3/23/2012

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In The Camera as Historian, Elizabeth Edwards explores the role of photography in the formation of historical imagination and identity in Britain. She does so by examining the photographic survey movement in England, from its origins in the 1880s through the First World War. The survey movement was composed of hundreds of amateur photographers who sought to record the material remains of the English past so that they might be preserved for future generations. Approaching the movement and its social and material practices ethnographically, Edwards reveals how the amateur photographers understood the value of their project. She links the surveys to the rise of popular photography, concepts of leisure, and understanding of the local and the national, and she examines how the photographers negotiated between scientific objectivity and aesthetic responses to the past. Edwards argues that the survey movement was as concerned with the conditions of its own modernity and the creation of an archive for an anticipated future as it was nostalgic about the imagined past. Offering a new perspective on the forces that shaped Victorian and Edwardian Britain, The Camera as Historianis an important contribution to debates about cultural identity, nationality, empire, material practices, and art.

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