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Photography In Advertising And Its Effects On Society

14 Pages 3610 Words

to the possible industrialization of forgetting” and that “we will not only miss history…we will also long to go back to space and times past.” (Virilio)
The desire to stop time and preserve the way things were are the primary reasons why the majority of photography in the late nineteenth century focused on documenting dying traditions, practices, and ways of life. In 1874, the Society for Photographing the Relics of Old London was founded. In 1897 the National Photographic Record Association was founded by Sir Benjamin Stone with the aim of “documenting dying rural ceremonies and traditional festivals in England.”(McQuire 125) Even as early as 1855, Sir Fredrick Pollock, in a speech to the Photographic Society of London stressed the importance of the camera in its role to forever preserve history:

It is not too much to say that no individual – not merely
individual man, but no individual substance, no individual matter,
nothing that is extraordinary in art, that is celebrated in architecture,
that is calculated to excite the admiration of those who behold it,
need now perish, but may be rendered immortal by the assistance of
Photography. (Harwath-Booth 9)

Walter Benjamin argues that the industrial boom of the nineteenth century was also the death of oral tradition. According to Benjamin, oral tradition was dependant on a “community of listeners,” people who listened to the stories and retold them in the future. These people were the image and the printed text of history before the printing press and the instant photo even existed. The noisy factory and long hours of tedious labor forced upon society by the industrial revolution effectively killed oral tradition and created a void that would be filled by photography. (McQuire) With the death of oral tradition, photography became a widely used means of passing history through the generations.
Anthropology has been one major way in which pho...

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