An engaging and provocative account of photography’s first commercial applications in England and their global implications. This book addresses a persistent gap in the study of photography’s history, moving beyond an appreciation of single breakthrough works to consider the photographic image’s newfound reproducibility and capacity for circulation through newsprint and other media in the nineteenth century.
“Can we now devise a history for photography built around the logic of movement and transformation, migration and dissemination, rather than that of origin and singularity? Can we at last abandon the familiar safety of a history restricted to the photograph alone, and allow the structure of our narratives to emulate the sometimes illicit flow back and forth across boundaries and identities that has always characterised both the photographic image and modern life and culture? Writing a story worthy of this dynamic—a history for photography rather than a history of photographs—is, I believe, the challenge that historians like me now face. This book is a fledgling attempt to take up that challenge.”