Victorian Photography

Haven’t posted anything in a while, the opposite of what reading week was invented for!  Now we’re back into the swing of things at uni, I’m getting really stuck into to the research poster we have to do for the end of the year.  I’m currently busy looking at Victorian photography and what photographers during the age of this new technology chose to photograph and record.  They were a busy lot I’ll tell you that.  I’m obviously looking into the prominent reasons – to document and record travel in foreign lands, for scientific purposes and professional reasons, or simply for nostalgic and sentimental reasons of photographing tradition and rural scenes in an age where cities were expanding rapidly.  What I found the most interesting, of which there is not a lot of information, is the use in asylums in Britain to photograph the mentally insane.  Dr Hugh Diamond, a founder of the Royal Photographic Society, and who primarily worked at Surrey County Asylum, believed that through looking at photographs of themselves, mental patients at the hospital would be better enabled to see an accurate self image of their illness.  These are some of the images I came across, which puts across a totally different perspective of Victorian society.  They obviously loved a good freak show as in France, images of patients were circulated in order to sell and raise money for the asylum!  Seems a bit sick in this modern day and age.  The third and fourth images shown are used as before and after photographs to show patients improvement – clearly a wash and a haircut is all it takes to make you sane again!


Some more weird Victorian antics go in the form of aristocratic ladies’ photocollage albums, very high brow of course.  Be sharing my findings on that very soon…


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