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Mediated Landscape/Mediating Photographs: Surveying the Landscape in Nineteenth-century Canadian Topographical Photography

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Mediated Landscape/Mediating Photographs: Surveying the Landscape in Nineteenth-century Canadian Topographical Photography

Cavaliere, Elizabeth Anne (2016) Mediated Landscape/Mediating Photographs: Surveying the Landscape in Nineteenth-century Canadian Topographical Photography. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The photographs produced as part of Canadian topographical and geological surveys between 1858 and 1890 have teetered between readings of document and art. This is further complicated by the archival and museum collections into which they have been absorbed, institutional divisions that reinforce the distinctions between historical document and aesthetic artwork. This thesis addresses such unresolved tensions by considering topographical photographs as both mediated and mediating in their ability to bridge and accommodate a nexus of antithetical readings – maker and viewer, authorial intent and collective imagination, art and document, subjective and objective, land and landscape. The survey work of four photographers is examined: Humphrey Lloyd Hime (1833-1903) on the 1858 Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Exploring Expedition; Benjamin F. Baltzly (1835-1883) on the 1871 Geological Survey of Canada expedition; Alexander Henderson’s (1831-1913) commissions to document the structures of the Intercolonial Railway, the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa & Occidental Railway, and later as superintendent of photographs for the Canadian Pacific Railway; and Charles George Horetzky (1838-1900) on various expeditions between 1871 and 1877 with the Canadian Pacific Railway Survey. In each case study, the photographs are understood as oscillating between functions and readings of science and art. Special attention is given to the texts left behind by each photographer. Biographical histories are compiled from archival findings in order to develop a network of relationships. The circulation of the photographs in scientific, governmental, artistic, and popular arenas is also traced. This thesis argues that by studying nineteenth-century Canadian survey photography within art history what emerges is the foundation of a mutually influential relationship between not only photography and painting, but also between art and document, and the Picturesque and the Romantic. My intention is to demonstrate that while survey photographs can reveal historical context, they also reveal art historical context in the ways that land becomes a landscape through visual representation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Cavaliere, Elizabeth Anne
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art History
Date:15 September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Langford, Martha
ID Code:981892
Deposited By: ELIZABETH ANNE CAVALIERE
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 13:50
Last Modified:15 Sep 2018 00:00
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