Reading Photography in French Nineteenth-Century Journals
This article explores how photographs published in the French medical and, to some extent, the popular press helped readers to interpret expressions and gestures as signs of emotional states, morbid conditions and physiological and psychological processes. The ﬁrst two sections examine the use of photography to visualise normal and pathological bodies through measurements and experiments in the medical press, particularly Nouvelle Iconographie de la Salpêtrière, Archives de Neurologie and L’Année Psychologique. The next two sections study how the development of new photographic processes such as the magnesium ﬂash and chronophotography created new conditions in which the body could be visually scrutinised in the medical press as well as popular journals such as Le Théâtre and the general scientiﬁc journal La Nature. This analysis results in two main ﬁndings: 1) medical journals used photography to assert their own disciplinary identities, and 2) photography acted as a potential bridge between audiences, as some medical and popular journals shared the same beliefs regarding photography’s ability to represent the human body, but approached photographic innovations from different, albeit complementary, ways.
Open access article
Citation : Beatriz, P. (2018) Reading Photography in French Nineteenth-Century Journals. Media History, Special Issue "Working with Nineteenth-Century Medical and Health Periodicals", online first.
ISSN : 1368-8804
Research Group : Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC)
Research Institute : Institute of History
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities