Histories of Photographic Abundance

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


Early twentieth-century concerns about the then-new picture postcard centred on its ubiquity and abundance. The mass-proliferation of the form and its enormous popularity were characterised as a cultural ‘mania’. Anxieties that the world would be reduced to a series of surfaces, consumed thoughtlessly and circulated at speed, echoed contemporaneous worries about emerging popular photographic practices. The claims also prefigure alarmist thinking about mass image cultures in our own times, where digital photographs, for example, are counted in the trillions if they can be calculated at all. Images produced at such a scale tend to be dismissed by elite cultural commentators as visual noise and as popular clichés; viewed in macro, they blur into undifferentiated sameness. This presentation examines how methods and approaches for analysing historic forms of mass visual culture might offer insight into newer photographic conditions.
Period29 May 2019
Held atLondon College of Communication UAL, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational