Dr Sara Dominici from the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture has published a new book, Travel Marketing and Popular Photography in Britain, 1888-1939 (Routledge), partly based on Sara’s research in the University of Westminster’s own archives.

Taking as its touchstone the image archive of the Polytechnic Touring Association, a London-based, originally philanthropic, travel firm, the book reveals the role that people’s increasing familiarity with the camera played in the travel industry’s shift from using lens-based images to mixed media.

Above all, this investigation uncovers the photographic desires of a new group of camera users – tourist photographers: what photographs they took and why, and how this shaped how they experienced an increasing production of travel images. The book explores lantern shows, the photography, travel and advertising press of the day, the work of official tour photographers, tourists’ personal photographs and commercial photographic competitions. It charts how the desires of tourist photographers responded to educational concerns and commercial imperatives and successively defined the expected function of travel images.

As the book reveals, the relationship between popular photography and travel marketing was shaped by the different desires and expectations that consumers and institutions projected onto photography, in what became, effectively, a struggle over the interpretation of the travel image itself.

About the author

Dr Sara Dominici is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Course Leader for the Art and Visual Culture MA at the University of Westminster, London. Her writing focuses on the history and culture of photography, the relationship between photography and the archive, cultural technologies and modernity, and, more broadly, the interdisciplinary study of visual culture and cultural studies.

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