BA Phot

I&P: Part 1, Page 3: Origins of photographic portraiture

Back - Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3

Project 1, Historic photographic portraiture - Exc 1.1 - Project 1.2 Typologies - Exc 1.2 - Exc 1.3 - Exc 1.4 - Conclusion - Upsum

New online course material - Exc. N1 - Exc. N2 - Exc. N3 - Exc. N4 - Exc. N5 - Exc. N6 - Exc. N7
Spence and Martin portrait analysis - Bate, five elements

Arbus - Bellocq - Bey - Bird - Callahan - Cameron - Campt - Cohen - Evans - Fiskin - Hardman - Höfer - Hoppé - Huebler - Mapplethorpe - Medley - Mertin - Nadar - Sander - Schmid - Zaidi -

interpretation - Reflective Writing - Square Mile - Standard Six - Surface - Typologies - text - text

Preamble - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Asg.1 - Asg.2 - Asg.3 - Asg.4 - Asg.5 - C&N - EyV

Portraiture and the archive

spellchecked 13Nov

[8Sep20, I&P p.30, Np.46] the section opens with a quote from Williams & Bright, 2007 (on order) describing the historic ubiquity of portrait studios on Britain's high streets. The cmat notes that many of the studios' archives have been stored by local authorities, libraries etc. and mentions two examples, 'Liverpool holds two important portrait archives: the Edward Chambré Hardman (1898-1988) Archive in the Liverpool City Library and the Keith Medley (1915-2004) Archive at Liverpool John Moores University' (I&P p.30).

Keith Medley
b: 1915 / d: 2004
Liverpool Museums

Keith Medley

A 2013 exhibition, Double Take, curated by Mark Durden and Ken Grant used the Medley Archive (the book still sells for £30, so I won't be buying that). We are told that a lot of Medley's work consisted of 'twin-exposed 5x4 glass plates, mainly depicting portraits for identity purposes'. In the illustration shown (fig. A1) the rejected image from the pair (the subject's eyes have closed) has been scratched through with an "X" to make it unusable. The cmat refers to this as 'killing' the negative, a term applied to Stryker's editing of negatives made for the FSA project, where he punched holes in those he rejected. We will encounter a similar approach below with the Bellocq Storyville portraits.

Keith Medley Hardman
Box A
1. from the Keith Medley archive
2. from the Hardman portrait archive
3. E. J. Bellocq from Storyville Portraits
© the artists, their agents or their estates
images 1 and 2 from from the course material
image 3 from

[29Sep, p.31] And we're back — C&N has been submitted for assessment.

Edward Chambré Hardman
b: 1898 Dublin / d: 1988 Liverpool
Hardman's House - Wikipedia

Edward Chambré Hardman

The Hardman portrait archive covers the period from 1923 to 1963 and comprise >10,000 negatives and, vitally, registers of the subjects photographed. The registers have been digitised, allowing searches revealing pairing such as figs. A2, the same subject in 1939 and 1949, before and after WW2. The cmat labels this a chronotype, depicting the passage of time.

To make fine portraits by photography one must never lose sight of the ultimate aim, which is to produce a characteristic likeness or expression of the sitter’s personality. Hardman is quoted as saying, Edward Chambré Hardman

E. J. Bellocq
b: 1873 New Orleans /
d: 1949 New Orleans
MoMA - Wikipedia

[9Oct, p.33, Np.48]

E. J. Bellocq

Next, E. J. Bellocq who worked as a photographer for a New Orleans shipping firm in the 1910-20s. After his death, 89 negatives were found depicting local prostitutes. The cmat notes that some of the negatives had been killed as with fig. A3.. Friedlander bought the archive, printed the negatives and exhibited them at MoMA in 1970.
There's a long and interesting online article from 2017 on Bellocq and the exhibition by Christian Waguespack here.

Joachim Schmid
b: 1955 Balingen
Site - Wikipedia
Box B
Joachim Schmid,
from Very Miscellaneous, 1996
© Joachim Schmid
image from

[9Oct, Np.49] There's an additional page of new material dealing with more recent activity in the new cmat. This involves found images, defined as 'an image not made by the individual currently using it' (I&P, Np.49). First up is Joachim Schmid, who we met in C&N. This entry concerns a 1996 project, Very Miscellaneous in which he worked with the archives of George Garland, a Sussex-based studio photographer who worked from the 1920s though to the 1970s. Schmid chose a number of portraits and and displayed each next to a local, contemporary but not directly related news story, with some of the text obscured by blurring. This links to the relevant page on Schmid's web site, from which fig. B1 below is taken. The cmat states that this, 'almost forces a narrative to emerge between portrait and text' [I&P Np.49]: I have only seen what Schmid shows on his site, but my immediate view is that a local archive covering this extensive period is interesting enough in itself and time might have been better spent looking up some real information about the subjects. Perhaps Schmid's thrust is to suggest that an image reinforces and personalises text (at least, to a person used to black-and-white reporting who retains a vestigial trust in the medium) irrespective of an actual link.

Tina M. Campt
b: ? - Wikipedia

Next Tina Campt who deals with haptic images. The cmat does not really define the concept but it seems to involve the extension of interaction with imagery to beyond the purely visual. Perhaps a more visceral manifestation of Barthes' punctum. The cmat describes Campt's view as photographs having '"resonant frequencies" inherent within the images [that] have historically often been either dismissed or disregarded' [I&P Np.49]. Campt works particularly with the African diaspora in this regard.

Lorna Blackburn
22nd March 2019

Exercise 1.4

is shown on another page.


[6Nov] There's some interesting work done with archives. Some projects are more meaningful than others - it is just as possible to be pretentious with someone else's work as with your own.

Part 1 Upsum

[6Nov] Portraits were once luxuries but are now commonplace. Opinions differ on what (if anything) portraits reveal of the subject. Photographers tend to work within (sometimes multiple) typographies. The study and plundering of archives is sometimes interesting


References for Part 1 are shown on the first page.

Page created 08-Sep-2020 | Page updated 08-Jan-2021