Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Subject (Hardcover)

Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Subject By Jordan Bear Cover Image
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How do photographs compel belief and endow knowledge? To understand the impact of photography in a given era, we must study the adjacent forms of visual persuasion with which photographs compete and collaborate. In photography's early days, magic shows, scientific demonstrations, and philosophical games repeatedly put the visual credulity of the modern public to the test in ways that shaped, and were shaped by, the reality claims of photography. These venues invited viewers to judge the reliability of their own visual experiences. Photography resided at the center of a constellation of places and practices in which the task of visual discernment--of telling the real from the constructed--became an increasingly crucial element of one's location in cultural, political, and social relations. In Disillusioned: Victorian Photography and the Discerning Subject, Jordan Bear tells the story of how photographic trickery in the 1850s and 1860s participated in the fashioning of the modern subject. By locating specific mechanisms of photographic deception employed by the leading mid-century photographers within this capacious culture of discernment, Disillusioned integrates some of the most striking--and puzzling--images of the Victorian period into a new and expansive interpretive framework.

About the Author

Jordan Bear is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780271065014
ISBN-10: 027106501X
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication Date: February 16th, 2015
Pages: 216
Language: English