British photographic history

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New open-access article: "New mobile experiences of vision and modern subjectivities in Late Victorian Britain"

Abstract: The article looks at the relationship between two very popular middle-class activities in Late Victorian Britain, photographing and cycling, and explores the influence that the new technology of physical mobility had on visual experiences and related photographic practices. It focuses, in particular, on the significance that new practices of mobility and visuality had for a growing body of amateur photographers as they negotiated these experiences as a temporality of late nineteenth century modernity. Drawing on the everyday historical experiences of cycle and photography users as these were articulated at the time, the article offers new insight into the role that such body-machine interactions had on the development of what was, effectively, a modern, moving, gaze. My argument is that the sense of control over the new ways of moving and seeing enabled by cycling contributed to shape a new visual self and that, in turn, this fuelled the desire for a new visual language and means of representation that could challenge dominant photographic practices, in a manner that foresees the emergence of snapshot photography.

Dominici, S. (2019). ‘New Mobile Experiences of Vision and Modern Subjectivities in Late Victorian Britain’, Science Museum Group Journal. 12, Autumn (online open-access)

To read the article:

Engraving by John Gilbert (1817–1897) of Coventry Rotary Tricycle with bellows camera fixed to the lateral bar 

Images: © National Science and Media Museum / Science and Society Picture Library

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