Making Images

in Whose Fair?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226293103
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226293127 | DOI:
Making Images

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Photographs and stereographs taken of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition provided vicarious experience for those who could not attend, just as much as newspaper and journal articles and novels and guidebooks did. Published images shaped expectations and affected experience itself, refiguring what had been seen, depicting what should have been seen, or offering an ideal perspective that only the photographer could record. Photographs embellished memory by substituting tangible and reproducible pictures for fleeting mental images. This chapter looks at the photographic record of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, which is available in a variety of formats: photographic postcards, official photographs, shots taken by professional photographers, and, in particular, the scarcely used but huge stereographic record. It argues that these different formats depict very different impressions, experiences, and purposes, and seem to show several different Fairs, rather than a singular, coherent vision. The chapter focuses on the struggle of photographers to understand and depict the extensive anthropological displays of peoples and cultures.

Keywords: photographs; stereographs; images; Louisiana Purchase Exposition; St. Louis; experience; memory; postcards; photographers

Chapter.  8070 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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