Beyond the view: reframing the early commercial seaside photograph

Shepherdson, K. (2014) Beyond the view: reframing the early commercial seaside photograph. In: Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century, 14th-15th March, University of Oxford.

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For the latter part of the 19th and much of the 20th Century, commercial photographic companies represented and reflected the heritage of British seaside culture. The research upon which this paper is based, seeks to provide new insights into an overlooked form of demotic photography, revealing rich seams of imagery and offering new perspectives on working class coastal history.

The paper provides an insight into commercial seaside photographic practice from 1860-1920, offering a visual exposition of the British seaside, as represented through the refracted lens of the ‘beach’ photographer – also often derogatorily referred to as a ‘Smudger’. The photographs are frequently evocative, drawing the viewer into a nostalgic past shaped by visual half-truths. Half-truths that too readily can become amplified from a view to the view and to the experience. Cloaked in conventions, expectation and mythologisation of what seaside photography should present, the images taken originally sought to immerse the viewer in sunny days of bustling resorts full of beaming adults and never fractious children. Such an edited past is one where it is all too easy to deny a broader contextualisation of limited opportunities, particularly for the working class, with elitism and class boundaries still firmly fixed. The paper seeks to reframe and recontextualise these ‘sunny snaps’, providing visual and text-based content that rewards scrutiny and critical engagement.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0204 Modern history, 1453- > D0299 1789- > D0351 19th century. 1801-1914 > D0394 1871- . Later 19th century
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N0002 General
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Media
Depositing User: Dr Karen Shepherdson
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 12:21
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:12

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00