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Unlocking Photographs

Unlocking Photographs Southward, Ho! Ellen Garrison In 1450 Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized the transmission of information, and schoolchildren still honor him as the inventor of the printing press. Nearly four hundred years later, Nicéphore Niepce touched off a similar revolution when he placed a camera in his attic window and created an image of his courtyard. Few know his name. Although photographs furnish compelling documentation of life from the second half of the nineteenth century forward, few scholars have recognized the potential of photographic documentation. Fewer still have developed the skills to use photographs effectively. Too often, they have viewed photographs as fluff--used, if at all, to illustrate textual research. Editors tend to select pictures to meet the requirements of page layout. Archivists sometimes regard photographs as mere ephemera, relegated to the last box of the collection, undescribed and unindexed. Researchers, therefore, must develop what Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler calls "visual literacy."1 A 1984 survey by the Appalachian Consortium of archives in the southern mountains revealed the richness of the photographic record.2 More collections held pho- tographs than any other single type of documentation. Of the 181 repositories reporting, 138--76 percent--included photographs. As expected, most of these collections were in public libraries http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

Unlocking Photographs

Southern Cultures , Volume 1 (1) – Jan 4, 1994

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
Publisher site
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Abstract

Southward, Ho! Ellen Garrison In 1450 Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized the transmission of information, and schoolchildren still honor him as the inventor of the printing press. Nearly four hundred years later, Nicéphore Niepce touched off a similar revolution when he placed a camera in his attic window and created an image of his courtyard. Few know his name. Although photographs furnish compelling documentation of life from the second half of the nineteenth century forward, few scholars have recognized the potential of photographic documentation. Fewer still have developed the skills to use photographs effectively. Too often, they have viewed photographs as fluff--used, if at all, to illustrate textual research. Editors tend to select pictures to meet the requirements of page layout. Archivists sometimes regard photographs as mere ephemera, relegated to the last box of the collection, undescribed and unindexed. Researchers, therefore, must develop what Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler calls "visual literacy."1 A 1984 survey by the Appalachian Consortium of archives in the southern mountains revealed the richness of the photographic record.2 More collections held pho- tographs than any other single type of documentation. Of the 181 repositories reporting, 138--76 percent--included photographs. As expected, most of these collections were in public libraries

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 4, 1994

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