The intertwined development of popular photography and cycling in Britain was felt so close that, in the 1880s, contemporary commentators could write of ‘cyclo-photographers’. The camera apparatus available at this time, bulky and fragile, was largely impractical to carry on a ride, and thus cyclo-photographers joined outdoor photographers in asking manufacturers for simpler and easier to operate cameras. However, a close reading of primary sources reveals that such demands were also the result of a new engagement with the possibility of seeing enabled by cycling itself. What was the cyclo-photographers’ experience of visual modernity? This article explores whether, and in what ways, the parallel emergence of a desire for compact cameras was linked to the new, and interconnected, ways of moving and seeing that the engagement with these two modern cultural technologies had made possible.
|Keywords||camera manufacturers, camera technology, compact cameras, cycling, cyclo-photographers, popular modernism, popular photography, visual modernity|