The Politics of Focus

The Politics of Focus

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Starting with Walter Benjamin's analogy of photography with magic, this text reconstructs 19th-century photography by considering its history and theorization, with reference to both the figure of the child and the photographs and photographic practices of Victorian women. It provides an interdisciplinary perspective of the subject and its "politics of focus", focus serving both as a photographic condition, and as a sign for broader questions of historical and cultural emphasis, in accounts of photographic discourse. The text examines: amateur and professional practitioners; different genres; men and women photographers; documentary and pictorial modes; different sitters and subjects; and developing technologies. These themes cut across many of the central concerns of conventional critical history of Victorian photography.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 170 x 240 x 12.7mm | 408.23g
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0719042615
  • 9780719042614

Table of contents

Introduction: 'That old black magic': Exorcising photography's histories . 1. The politics of focus: Feminism and photography theory. 2. 'This old house': Julia Margaret Cameron and Lady Clementina Hawarden. 3. 'Lady sings the blues': The woman amateur and the album. 4. 'Me and my shadow': The double in nineteenth century photography. 5. 'Take back your mink': Lewis Carroll, child masquerade and the age of consent. 6. The shoe-black to the crossing sweeper: Victorian street Arabs and photography. - Notes - Index
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About Lindsay Smith

Lindsay Smith is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex
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