|Title||The democratisation of photography and the promotion of tourism: the Polytechnic Touring Association (1888-1939)|
The aim of this thesis is to explore a specifi c aspect of the relationship between photography and tourism, that is, how the democratisation of photography infl uenced the marketing of tourism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It focuses on the fi rst fi fty years of activity of the Polytechnic Touring Association (PTA), an initially philanthropic turned commercial travel fi rm, whose historical origins coincided with the Kodak-led emergence of popular photography in 1888. During this period, the travel fi rm moved from using photography-based images to rely increasingly on mixed media, including drawings and graphic design. This use of new representational media was certainly a response to new market demands; if and how a new approach to photography also infl uenced it, however, is still an unexplored question. By taking as its principal primary source the PTA archive, this research thus seeks to establish the extent to which such a shift can also be explained by accounting for the transformed perception engendered by new photographic practices. The thesis begins with an examination of how practices of photographic production and consumption might relate to changing understandings of photography and travel, and their consequent infl uence on the demand for and representation of tourism. It then moves on to consider this relationship between tourism and tourist practices in the context of the social and cultural changes that saw the emergence and development of mass photography, tourism, and tourism marketing from the late nineteenth century. The specifi c representational choices made by the PTA to promote its tours are then investigated against this historical background. Specifi cally, these are explored in relation to the changing function of the tours, and, in a related way, to the perception of tourists as evidenced by their practices, in particular photographic ones.
Overall, this investigation argues that the multiplicity of photographic perspectives engendered by the democratisation of photography, and a related transformation of the value attached to the photograph, resulted in an organisation such as the PTA reconsidering how best to represent itself in light of a shift from broadly educational concerns to emergent commercial imperatives.