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    A previously unexplored encounter: the English judiciary, carte de visite and photography as a form of mass media

    Moran, Leslie J. (2018) A previously unexplored encounter: the English judiciary, carte de visite and photography as a form of mass media. International Journal of Law in Context 14 (4), pp. 539-558. ISSN 1744-5523.

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    Studies exploring the link between the representation of judges, photography and mass media tend to focus on the appearance of cameras in courtrooms and the reproduction of the resulting photographs in the press at the beginning of the 20th century. But more than 50 years separates these developments from the birth of photography, in the late 1830’s. This study examines a previously unexplored encounter between the English judiciary and photography that began in the 1860’s. The pictures where known as ‘carte de visite’. They were the first type of photographic image capable of being mass produced. It’s a form of photography that for a period of almost 20 years attracted a frenzy of interest. Drawing upon a number of archives, including the library of Lincoln’s Inn, London’s National Portrait Gallery and my own personal collection this article has two objectives. The first is to examine the carte portraits of senior members of the judiciary that were produced during that time. What appears within the frame of this new form of portraiture? Of particular interest is the impact the chemical and technological developments that come together in carte photographs had on what appears within the frame of judicial portraits. The second objective is to examine the manner in which they were displayed. This engages a commonplace of scholarship on portraiture; the location and mode of display shape the meaning of what lies within the frame of the picture. Carte portraits were produced with a particular display in mind: the album. They were to be viewed not in isolation but as part of an assemblage of portraits. Few albums survive. Those that do offer a rare opportunity to examine the way carte portraits of judges were used and the meanings they generated through their display. Three albums containing carte portraits of judges will be considered.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): judges and visual culture, photography, carte de visite, display, audiences
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Les Moran
    Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 09:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:47


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