Contesting Images: Photography and the World's Columbian Exposition

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9780816514106: Contesting Images: Photography and the World's Columbian Exposition
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The prevalence of photography at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 demonstrated that it was a technology in transition. Photographs were used in innovative ways and on a scale never attempted at previous exhibitions. The special British Loan Collection featured preeminent photographers of the new pictorial art movement, while the most recent French developments in color photography and in criminal photography were on display. Key photographic manufacturers in the United States, including the Eastman Company, staged elaborate exhibits, and photographers such as James Landy, Julius Caesar Strauss, and Emma Farnsworth showed their work. Contesting Images reveals that there were also competing uses of photography at the fair. The Exposition was a stage for the internal politics of both the official organizers and the photographers and manufacturers as they competed for their respective spaces. In addition, the Exposition regulated photography for commercial consumption by licensing concessions and restricting the equipment used by professional and amateur photographers.The role that photography played at the World's Columbian Exposition opens up a new window on the dynamics that drove this event, providing an insider's view of how the fair worked for both exhibitors and spectators.

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About the Author:

Julie K. Brown was the 1989-90 Fanny Knapp Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Rochester.

From Library Journal:

Photography was central to the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Not only did many of the exhibits feature photographs, but photography was the medium by which the exposition itself was documented. Behind the scenes, exposition officials licensed photographic concessions and regulated the equipment used. As might be expected, considerable competition for exhibition space ensued among various photographers and between photographers and manufacturers. Brown has researched an important aspect of the World's Columbian Exposition, revealing how the fair was organized, managed, and received by visitors. Most important, she documents the exposition's individual exhibitors (many of them women photographers), manufacturers, and competing photographic salons. The book's many newly reproduced and fascinating illustrations, excellent notes, appendix of exhibitors, and wide-ranging bibliography will be very useful to photohistorians. Highly recommended for photohistory and American popular culture collections.
Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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