The Postal Service, Circulating Portfolios and the Cultural Production of Modern Networked Identities

Dominici, S. 2021. The Postal Service, Circulating Portfolios and the Cultural Production of Modern Networked Identities. History of Photography. 44 (2-3), pp. 111-127. https://doi.org/10.1080/03087298.2021.1907959

TitleThe Postal Service, Circulating Portfolios and the Cultural Production of Modern Networked Identities
TypeJournal article
AuthorsDominici, S.
Abstract

The launch of the Royal Mail’s parcel post service in 1883 was concurrent with the increase of amateur photographers in Britain, supporting new ways for this group of practitioners to come together: the postal photographic clubs. This article explores the influence that members’ active participation in assembling and distributing the portfolios that each club shared had on photographers’ understanding of their own role in the production of photographic meanings and values. It does so by discussing the postal service as a technology of communication and transport; the virtual space created through circulating portfolios as a modern network; and the conjoint acts of writing, reading and looking at photographs that constituted each portfolio as reframing photographers’ idea of self. It covers the period that goes from the early 1880s to the early 1910s, by which time postal photographic clubs had become almost ubiquitous in Britain. The article demonstrates that this process implicitly challenged the institutionalisation of this period’s dominant photographic discourse.

Keywordsamateur photography
circulating portfolios
modern infrastructures
parcel post
photographic network
postal photographic clubs
postal service
Royal Mail
JournalHistory of Photography
Journal citation44 (2-3), pp. 111-127
ISSN0308-7298
2150-7295
Year2021
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/03087298.2021.1907959
Web address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03087298.2021.1907959
Publication dates
Published17 Jun 2021

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