Revealing that nineteenth-century photography goes beyond the functional to reflect the aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural concerns of the time, this study proposes that each photographic image of architecture be studied both as a primary visual document and an object of aesthetic inquiry. This multi-faceted approach drives Architecture in Nineteenth-Century Photographs: Essays on Reading a Collection. Despite three decades of post-colonial, post-structuralist and gender-conscious criticism, the study of architectural photography continues to privilege technical virtuosity. This volume offers a thematic exploration of the material, and a socio-historical examination that allows consideration of questions that have not been addressed comprehensively before in a single publication. Themes include exoticism and "armchair tourism"; the absence of women from architectural photography; the role of photographs as commodities; vernacular architecture and the picturesque; and historic preservation, urban renewal, and nationalism. Micheline Nilsen analyzes photographs from France and England”the two countries where photography was invented”and from around the world, representing a corpus of over 10,000 photographs from the Janos Scholz Collection of Nineteenth-Century Photographs of the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame.
'The relationship between photography and architectural subjects - especially in the nineteenth century - has received some analysis by contemporary writers, but primarily within the context of the work of individual photographers or as a component of a general survey. Michele Nilson’s book […] provides a much-needed framework for an expanded discussion of this subject by offering categories and objectives that should be defined when assessing early architectural photography.' Visual Resources
Contents: Introduction; Photography as a medium; Documenting historic buildings; Urban renewal; Photographs of historical events and their imprint on the built environment; Photographs of progress and industry; Constructing new buildings; Photographing the 'other'; Vernacular architecture; Historic preservation; Tourism and photographs; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.