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Photographic Cities and the Photographic Production of Space: Eugène Atget’s Paris and Thomas Annan’s Glasgow

Rizov, Vladimir (2018) Photographic Cities and the Photographic Production of Space: Eugène Atget’s Paris and Thomas Annan’s Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This text is concerned with the origin of documentary photography, and its relation to urban space and archival institutions. In order to examine the interrelations between the three, two conjunctures have been identified – that of Paris post-Haussmannisation in early 20th century and Glasgow mid-slum clearance in mid-19th century. First, this project argues for the significance of the relationship between the structural logic of space and visibility in relation to photography. In order to demonstrate this, a notion of the photographic city is put forward as the idea that modern Western cities are constructed on principles of transparency, order, and legibility, which not only facilitated modern photography, but also, in turn, allowed it to reproduce the city as exemplary of those same principles. Second, a discussion of documentary photography, through the analysis of archived photographs by Eugène Atget of Paris (examined in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London) and by Thomas Annan of Glasgow (examined in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow), will be provided. The photographs comprising the two case studies will be examined in a threefold manner: first, as images; second, as material products of a practice; and third, as institutional documents. Third, the production of photographs as documentary will be related to a theoretical discussion of photography as a spatial practice by drawing on the work of Henri Lefebvre. It will be argued that documentary photography is a practice of producing knowledge of and meaning about the space being documented, and thus it will be demonstrated that both photographers engaged in practices of appropriating the space they are representing. Finally, a theoretical argument will be defended for the photographic production of space. Ultimately, this project puts forward an argument for considering the spatial practices that constitute documentary photography, while engaging with photographs and their production, storage, and interpretation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Sociology (York)
Depositing User: Dr Vladimir Rizov
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 13:47
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 13:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23988

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