John Ruskins Daguerreotypes of Venice

Thordis Arrhenius
Arkitektskolan, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Sweden

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Ingår i: Kulturstudier i Sverige. Nationell forskarkonferens

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 15:8, s. 97-108

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Publicerad: 2005-12-30


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper explores the connections between travel; heritage and photography. It suggests that the increasingly restless and expanding audience for heritage is directed by a yearning for closeness. The heritage tourist is driven by the perception that what is longed for is not to be found in the immediate surroundings; indeed the heritage industry feeds on the fact of distance and the promise of proximity. And yet; as anyone will discern who has travelled toexperience treasures from the past at close hand; the restrictions installed in-situ as protection – restricted access; barriers; prohibition to touch or even photograph the object in question – re-enact the delays of travel itself. The longing to be close is denied by distance; on the other hand without this distance played out in space and time; the old would be all too familiar to be desired. Using as a case-study the photographic documentation of Venice by the English writer and traveller John Ruskin; the paper speculates on how photography; since its emergence as a new technology in the first part of nineteenth century; has been implicated in generating this desire for the old.


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