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Death

The final rite of passage, death itself, permeates the Victorian family album. Throughout the 19th century it was common practice, following the death of a relative, to commission memorial photographs. The overwhelming majority of these memorial photographs feature the person as living, not dead.

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5.6.4 Wedding anniversaries

Silver and golden wedding anniversaries were often commemorated with a portrait. Many examples follow the pattern of the studio portraits taken for engagements and weddings, with the couple taken individually and together.

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5.6.3 Honeymoons

Image 65 Photographer/Painter: Alfred Pettit, Keswick. Subject: Ben Naylor and his new wife Carrie, née Birchall, on their honeymooon in the Lake District, c.1880.<
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5.5.3 Birthdays

Image 49 Photographer/Painter: Warwick Brookes, Manchester. Subject: Portrait of Max Witte.
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5.5 Rites of passage

Image 44 Photographer/Painter: Anon. Subject: William Arthur Brown, the son of James Brown standing in the doorway of Brown & Sons Studio, 148 Camberwell Road, London, c.18
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5.3 Prized possessions

Image 42 Photographer/Painter: Hawkins, York. Subject: Details unknown.

Prized possessions also feature in the family album. Family pets, cats and
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4.12 Key concepts

We can conclude that the ideas relating to idealization, positive characterization and sexual stereotyping had a significant influence on the treatment of all 4 components of the portrait: expression, pose, background accessories and lighting.

Victorian family photographs (like most other primary sources) are therefore selective, partial and biased. Early photographers regarded it as part of their proper function to emphasize those aspects that were considered at the time to be good and
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Purpose

By now you have sufficient familiarity with early portraits to know that photographers regularly used painted backdrops and accessories to create a sort of stage set within the studio. These backgrounds came into widespread use with the introduction of the carte de visite in c.1860. Until the Second World War, 2 scenarios remained popular: the interior setting with windows, curtains, table and chair; and the parkland setting with trees, balustrade, rustic bench or stile. This choice of backdr
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4.4 Groups

If we agree that the posing of individuals carried messages for the viewer it makes sense that the posing of family groups can similarly be made to convey suggestions about the family and its character.


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4.3 Characterisation and sexual stereotyping

The choice of pose was also intended to echo the limited positive characterization of the expression. Distinctions were inevitably drawn between poses regarded as suitable for males and those considered appropriate for females. Men were allowed greater variety of poses than women.

The pose of a lady should not have that boldness of action which you would give a man, but be modest and retiring, the arms describing g
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3.3 Limited positive characterization

The painted portrait was, however, perceived to be more than a mere ‘map of the face’. It was also meant to reveal aspects of the inner as well as the outer being.

Figure 10
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3.2 Idealisation

There were fundamental principles of painted portraiture that affected every element of the portrait, from expression and pose to background and lighting. The first imperative was the need to idealize the sitter.


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2.4 National variation

Relatively little research has been undertaken by photohistorians in the field of domestic photography. However, we should be aware that photography developed in different ways in different countries. So, for example, in Britain the daguerreotype remained a luxury article, as high prices restricted sales to the comfortable classes, whereas in America, because of early mass production techniques, studios could offer 4 daguerreotypes for 1 dollar.

Photography was, however, a European inve
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2.2 Photographs as primary sources

As a primary source of historical evidence the still photograph remains largely unexamined and unexplored. Many academic historians remain wedded to the written word and are often mistrustful or dismissive of the still image. Photographs continue to be used merely to prettify or to provide necessary breathing space in dense texts. In fact, the task of finding ‘illustrations’ is often only considered after a book is written. What could indicate more clearly that the photograph has n
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2.1.1 Card mounted photographs 1860–c.1914

Figure 3
Image 3 Photographer/Painter: Anon.
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1 How to avoid damage when handling photographs

Remember to treat your photographs with the consideration demanded by their age and fragility. Careless handling and storage will cause damage.

  • Handle photographs at the edges: the skin carries chemicals which cause deterioration (professional archivists wear cotton gloves).

  • Hold a photograph in both hands or support an unmounted print with a piece of cardboard to avoid unnecessary handling.

  • Never write on a photograp
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Introduction

Most of us today take photographs for our family albums. The lucky ones among us have also inherited family photographs from the past. These photographs provide another type of record that can offer insights into our family history. But what can they tell us? How can we elicit the information they hold? And how do we analyse or evaluate that information? The purpose of this unit is to suggest how to approach the interpretation of the photographic record.

Please keep referring to your ow
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3 Conclusion

In this unit you have been introduced to the main components of prose fiction and have been given the opportunity to develop and practise your critical and analytical skills. These are essential skills you will need to continue your stufdies in this area.


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2.5 Characterisation

How do writers of prose fiction make us respond to the imaginary people they create? In order to encourage us to continue reading writers must force us to react in some way to their characters, whether it is to identify, empathise or sympathise with them, to dislike or disapprove of them, or to pass judgement on their actions, behaviour and values. As we have already seen, the fundamental question we repeatedly ask when we read a story is what happened next. Equally importantly we want to kno
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1 Why do we read prose fiction?

Prose fiction, whether in the form of the novel or the short story, is unarguably the most popular and widely consumed literary genre. One only has to see the proliferation of bookstalls at railway stations and airports, for example, and the predominance of novels over other forms of writing made available in such locations to realise the appeal of fiction.

Take a few moments to think about Why we read fiction? What do we hope to gain from reading stories about imag
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