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Domestic Photography

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The picture, which I started off with, was taken as a ‘souvenir’ for Graner. He was known for being camera-obsessed and taking pictures of anything and everything. As these pictures were taken for personal use, you could say that it is “domestic photography” which later turned into being “photojournalism”.


History of Domestic Photography

Photography started to become popular at the beginning of the 1840s, when images of the unexplored and exotic world decorated the walls of middle-class families. It was “as much part of home entertainment as television is today”.

Pictures of their times away from home and journeys around the world, of course only those who could afford it, formed the family albums.  “The feminine domesticity of the extended family was visibly sustained by masculine adventure, both military and entrepreneurial.”

Seeing as people most people didn’t have the means to travel around the world, they decorated their houses with places that took they found beautiful, of places they haven’t been to and people they didn’t know.

Of course, it didn’t take long for someone to turn this into profit. William Henry Fox Talbot opened the first person to open a workshop that printed photographs for sale. He was the person to invent a photographic print process called Calotype. This involved:

“…the exposure f sensitized paper in the camera from which, after the processing, positive paper prints could be made.”

This process was not used much in England in those days because of “Talbot’s own patents” but it was later properly developed and taken advantage of by David Octavius and Robert Adamson in Scotland.

Photographs of stunning views became more and more popular as time went on, creating a booming industry.
Towards the 1920s photography started to become available to everyone and transport became easier through, for example, cars people got the chance to travel further than ever before. Middle-class artistic travelers complained about the accessibility of this to “vulgar sightseers” claiming that they “ruined the very views that they had come to discover”. This comment seems quite elitist, however there was some truth to this as the unspoilt landscapes seemed to disappear and turn into a tourism based profit industry.


Now, more than ever, photography is available to everyone, especially since digital photography. Photographs are easier to take, easily deleted and mostly don’t need to be developed as they are largely kept on the computer. Most of the time they are uploaded onto social networking sites, which also hold responsibility for adding a whole new dimension to domestic photography. An example of this is the fact that traditional family albums have turned into digital albums on Facebook.




[Liz Wells (1998). Photography: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge. p.120-125]

[ accessed 24/11/2010]


Written by coskufertingercmp

November 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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