Disability and the Victorians

When we think of ‘the Victorians’, we’re actually often thinking of a very specific group of people. This is a usually a representational issue. White, upper-class, able-bodied people are the ones we see in most photographs of ‘the Victorians’ (though not all). These are ‘the Victorians’ most often depicted on-screen, or written about in neo-Victorian fiction. If these are the ‘typical’ … Read more

Stereophotography: The Victorians in 3D

One of the joys (and sorrows) of research is all the interesting information you find on one topic while doing research on something completely different. While researching spirit photography, for instance, I came across this fascinating account of the Victorian stereoscope in the art book for National Museums Scotland’s exhibition ‘Photography: A Victorian Sensation’.* If you … Read more

‘I’m just a guy on the internet’: An Interview with Kevin J. Weir

On this blog I’ve previously written about Travis Louie and Dan Hillier, two fine artists whose work I’ve been researching. I also wrote a post for the Victorianist on Colin Batty, who paints monsters onto old Victorian cabinet cards. A fourth artist whose work I’m writing about is Kevin J. Weir, though he wouldn’t necessarily … Read more

The Paper Time Machine

In a previous blog post, I mentioned the Ellis Island immigrant portraiture of Augustus F. Sherman. I wrote: Sherman was an amateur photographer working as Chief Registry Clerk at New York’s Ellis Island station from 1892 until 1925, and he photographed some of the twelve million immigrants to pass into the USA before the station closed in 1954. … Read more

Photographs from Aeroplanes

This week I’m taking a break from research blogging to celebrate an important milestone. It’s been two years since I accepted a PhD bursary at Cardiff University, and also two years that my partner and I have been living apart. Happily, after much job hunting, he also found work in the UK, and we have just … Read more

Meet the Family: Colin Batty’s Victorian Cabinet Cards

This post originally appeared on the Victorianist, the postgraduate blog of the British Association for Victorian Studies, on 22 April 2016. It is reposted here with the kind permission of the editors. I have long been a fan of photomanipulation. I like the way it disturbs our preconception of the photograph as a faithful representation of reality. It’s an … Read more

Immigrant Portraiture and the Art of the Alien

Just over ten years ago, in 2005, a new book collecting the work of Augustus F. Sherman was published to much media interest and online fanfare. Sherman was an amateur photographer working as Chief Registry Clerk at New York’s Ellis Island station from 1892 until 1925, and he photographed some of the twelve million immigrants … Read more

Giving the Past a Photographic Afterlife

I’ve long been a fan of Jo Teeuwisse’s Ghosts of History project, where she overlays present-day locations with old archive photographs. I’m also a big fan of the recent trend where contemporary artists insert monsters and pop culture icons into thrift store paintings. In that same trend, while researching my current chapter, I came across the image series ‘Dancing with … Read more