Colonial Copyright and the Photographic Image: Canada in the Frame

Philip Hatfield


Philip Hatfield (2011) Colonial Copyright and the Photographic Image: Canada in the Frame.

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Under Colonial Copyright Law, the British Museum Library acquired a substantial collection of Canadian photographs between 1895 and 1924, taken by a variety ofamateurs and professionals across Canada. Due to the agency of individual photographers, the requirements of copyright legislation and the accumulating principleof the archive, the Collection displays multiple geographies and invites variousinterpretations. Chapter 1 discusses the development of Colonial Copyright Law and its application to photographic works, examining the extent to which the collection was born of an essentially colonial geography of knowledge. The chapter outlines the theoretical underpinnings of the thesis in relation to scholarship on colonial regulation, visual economies and Canadian historical geography. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the evolution of the Collection and provides a discussion of research strategy, focussing on how its diverse contents may inform understandings of Canada’s changing landscape, cities and people. The substantive core of the thesis examines the contents and genres represented in the collection through a series of linked studies. Chapter 3 considers the photographic representation of Canadian cities, focussing on the use of the camera in Victoria and Toronto to explore the political and commercial aspects of urban change. Chapter 4 explores the interaction of the camera and the railroads, two technologies at the cutting edge of modernity, examining how photography both promoted the railway and depicted the impact of railway disasters. Chapter 5 explores the visual economy of the photographic image through the medium of the postcard, with reference to the Canadian National Exhibition and the Bishop Barker Company of aviators. Chapter 6 considers a variety of views of Native American peoples, the result of the intersection of various photographic impulses with Colonial Copyright Law. The final chapter returns to the Collection as a whole to consider its agency in the digital age.

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This is a Accepted version
This version's date is: 01/02/2011
This item is not peer reviewed

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Item TypeThesis (Doctoral)
TitleColonial Copyright and the Photographic Image: Canada in the Frame
AuthorsHatfield, Philip
Uncontrolled KeywordsPhotography; Canada; British Library; Visual economy; imperial history; colonial history
DepartmentsResearch Groups and Centres\Geography\Social and Cultural Geography Group
Faculty of Science\Geography

Deposited by () on 06-Jun-2011 in Royal Holloway Research Online.Last modified on 15-Feb-2017


(C) Philip Hatfield whose permission to mount this version for private study and research is acknowledged.