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Victorian print media coverage of violence against women

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James C. Howell Elizabeth A. Immigration Policy and the Shaping of U. Flint also associates flash with other forms of artificial lighting that produced a more sustained burst of light, such as early uses of limelight or the magnesium flash. This association with explosive violence extended beyond the invention of the far safer flashbulb. But it also productively turns our attention from photography as image and toward photography as event — one that extends beyond the momentary exposure of light-sensitive materials whether in the form of noxious smoke or collateral damage and is not fully recorded in the resulting image.

Broadly speaking, photographic theory most often characterizes the photographic imaginary as the desire to freeze a moment in time in the form of a tangible image that can be reproduced and circulate into contexts far beyond the original. She ties this dramatic effect to everything from late-nineteenth-century banquet photography to atomic tests. If the flash involved performance and theatricality both theoretically and practically , one might expect to see flash represented in Victorian theatre.

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But, though versions of flash photography appeared in a number of literary texts, theatre in particular was a lagging indicator of photographic advancements. However, despite this, in the space remaining, I want to suggest that Victorian theatre may have been the form best equipped to capture the ephemeral and performative associations of flash, even and especially where flash photography did not appear.

The wildly popular musical Belle of New York anticipates the kind of mutual performance that Flint argues characterizes the relationship between celebrities and paparazzi photographers in the twentieth century, as well as the intersection of fame, notoriety, and print culture. In a scene with loud meta-theatrical overtones, a troupe of actors and actresses stage poses for the benefit of a newspaper man and his flash-photographer, Mr Snooper and Mr Peeper, as part of a larger effort to manipulate a media-narrative about Harry Bronson, who has left Cora Angelique the Prima Donna of the Opera Comique at the altar.

Mugg, the gentlemanly comedian of the Cora Angelique Comic Company, sprang forward and struck the villain a stinging blow in the face. Snifkins, father of the fair Miss Angelique and one of our leading operatic managers, confronted the groveling wretch and denounced him in unmeasured terms. Snifkins strikes attitude—Flash.

My Harry, why do they do this? Peeper takes another flash. The coordinated work of writer and photographer anticipates the centrality of flash photography to celebrity print culture. And yet, on stage, the effect and experience of flash are quite different. Rather than catching them in the act, it catches them acting. But second, what we are left with is not an image or record of performance but only a pose briefly illuminated by a flash — both of which quickly disappear as the actors move and move on to the next pose or scene.

In this case, rather than stopping time in order to enable the reproduction and circulation of celebrity poses, when performed on stage, flash photography emphasizes its own ephemerality and its alignment with an equally ephemeral theatrical performance. Even if most plays featuring photography do not engage directly with flash, they share a number of overlapping tropes, such as the association between flash and crime Adder gets him down and stabs him. In the play, the gun and camera go off at the same time at the scene of a murder. This simultaneity and association with guns applied to the flash as well.

Other plays infuse their representations of photography with the intrusiveness if not the sudden illumination of the flash. If the studio produces nothing but the ostensibly empty performances of photographic gestures, Buttons is prolific. Whether capturing actors or criminals, whether fraudulent studio photography or snapshot snooping, photography on stage foregrounds the performative and interactive aspects of the photographic experience — both on stage and for the audience.

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Katherine J Anderson | Western Washington University -

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