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Themesicon: navigation pathPhoto/Byteicon: navigation pathPhotographic/Post-Photographic

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whose hegemony was not forced open until the 1950s and 1960s with the advent of television. [23] It began in the 1850s with the distribution of portraits of prominent figures and stereographs, and experienced a further thrust in the 1880s through the beginnings of shutter photography and the illustrated press.

Facial society

In 1854 the photographer Alphonse-Eugene Disdéri patented a process that allowed taking several portraits in succession on one plate. He rationalized and reduced the cost of portrait photography in this way, which consequently experienced a tremendous boom. [24] The small-format carte de visite, the term for the cut-to-size portrait cards, were used less as a personal keepsake than for communicative exchange. Portraits of prominent figures, whose spectrum ranged from ruling families, writers, musicians, scientists and actors to demimondes, were especially popular. Collecting and looking at the cards became a parlor game that leveled off social hierarchies by juxtapositioning images that had been choreographed in a similar way. The portrait of prominent figures


anticipated the modern portrait of stars and was thus incipient of a «facial society,» in which «the faces of politicians, generals, managers, athletes, artists or products advanced to portraits of stars and brand names, to logos with public appeal.» [25]

Modern observer

In 1851, Sir David Brewster introduced a transportable viewing device at the London World's Fair that allowed merging together slightly displaced paired photographs to create one image, which appeared to be three-dimensional. [26] Brewster's stereoscope became a huge success, and «soon thereafter thousands of greedy pairs of eyes bent over the stereoscope's openings like over the skylight to infinity.» [27] The stereograms [28] mass produced in the period following the stereoscope's introduction for the most part showed historical monuments, landscapes and urban scenes—tourist views from countries near and far that could be quasi ‹virtually› traveled via the stereoscope. In addition, they allowed the middle class a visual appropriation of foreign countries and cultures, which was already taking place through colonization.

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