Photography, lithography, and ideology : reproducing the daguerreotype, or figuring reality, in the July Monarchy




Pinson, Stephen C.

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A general objective of this paper is to investigate the original juncture of photography (the daguerreotype) and the graphic arts. By questioning the facile ellipsis that has continually been drawn between the reproductive roles of the artist and the camera, the problematic nature of transferring the production of 'exactly repeatable visual images' from the one (artist) to the other (camera) will be exposed. Even though such an exchange has long been absorbed into the dialectic of painting versus photography, this paper will demonstrate that the ongoing contestations between expression (as susceptibility to an artist's touch) and illusion (as simulacrum of reality) were in fact already manifest in the graphic reproduction of the daguerreotype. By unraveling the threads of touch and illusion through historical discourse, I will attempt to place them in relation to photography's seemingly inherent connection to a predetermined 'reality,' and to the various ideological ends to which that reality has been put (both in the nineteenth century and our own). And finally, I will suggest a way for understanding this 'ideology' as both inherent, and misunderstood.