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Konsten att tämja en bild: Fotografiet och läsarens uppmärksamhet i 1800-talets Sverige
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics. (Forskarskolan i estetiska vetenskaper)
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Taming of an Image : Photography, Attention, and Reading in Nineteenth-Century Sweden (English)
Abstract [en]

The present study inquires into the problematization of attention in the reception and distribution of photography in 19th-century Sweden. It investigates how photography’s alleged abundance of detail and indiscriminate reproduction became a problem in the reception of the medium. The problem became urgent when photographs were put to use by established discourses; specifically, when used in printed publications meant for a public. The thesis therefore argues that the problem of attention had a profound influence on how printed photographic or photographically illustrated editions (photo-texts) were modelled and arranged. For this purpose, the study affirms a particular focus on attention practices: the various ways in which the printed editions aim to regulate the reader’s attention before the supposedly distractive image. Specifically, the thesis focuses on how texts in these printed editions are arranged or juxtaposed in relation to the image, how they speak of and to the images, what values they reflect, and what effects they could be said to produce.

Consequently, the present study is more than an investigation of a problem; it is also an inquiry into the various attempts to overcome this problem. The problem and its responsive practices will have different characteristics in the various contexts of individual discourses. Therefore, the study situates the problem of attention in four prominent genres of 19th-century photography: the topographical albums of photographic views, art books with photographic reproductions, the scientific atlas, and the photographically illustrated travelogue. These genres and forms of publication, as well as the discourses of attention relating to them, are discussed in separate chapters. Every chapter departs from a specific Swedish photographic edition from the nineteenth-century.

In sum, the thesis aims – with its focus on the problematization of attention – at giving a new historical perspective on the emergent relation between photography and the printed word.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Mediehistoria, Lunds universitet , 2015. , 336 p.
, Mediehistoriskt arkiv, ISSN 1654-6601 ; 29
Keyword [en]
Nineteenth century, photography, attention, the printed word, photo-texts, photographically illustrated books, discursive practices, media history, subjectivity, picturesque, idyllic realism, art reproductions, objectivity, cloud atlases, travel writing, religious revival
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116564ISBN: 978­-91-­981961­-3-­9OAI: diva2:806803
Public defence
2015-05-29, Auditorium 215, Humanistvillan, Frescativägen 24, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-05-07 Created: 2015-04-21 Last updated: 2016-05-25Bibliographically approved

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Bremmer, Magnus
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