The Making of English Photography, Allegories

Edwards, Steve (2006). The Making of English Photography, Allegories. Pennsylvania, USA: Pennsylvania State University Press.



Bringing together an array of early photographs, recent historical and theoretical scholarship, and extensive archival sources, The Making of English Photography, Allegories sheds new light on the prevailing conceptions of photography as well as, more generally, the antimonies of art and work in a world marked by social division. This book examines the development of English photography from 1835 as an industrial, commercial and, most problematically, artistic enterprise. Concentrating on the first thirty-five years of the medium’s history, the book tracks the pivotal distinction between artwork and document as it emerged in the thought of the ‘men of science’ and professional photographers, suggesting that this key opposition is rooted in social fantasies of the worker. Through a close reading of the photographic press in the 1860s, I reconstruct the ideological world of photographers and employ the unstable category of photography to cast light on art, class, and industrial knowledge.

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