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The colonial family album : photography and identity in Otago, 1848-1890 : a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand Preview this item
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The colonial family album : photography and identity in Otago, 1848-1890 : a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Author: Jill Marie Haley
Publisher: 2017.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Otago
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
This thesis looks at photography and album culture in Otago, New Zealand, between 1848 when the first Otago settlement colonists arrived and 1890 when snapshot cameras became widely available. It builds on work by Elizabeth Siegel and Martha Langford on nineteenth-century photograph albums, looking at their use as oral devices for self-representation. Additionally, it investigates album culture in a colonial context
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Details

Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Jill Marie Haley
OCLC Number: 1005740732
Notes: University of Otago department: History and Art History.
Description: 2 volumes (various pagings) : illustrations ; 30 cm
Responsibility: Jill Marie Haley.

Abstract:

This thesis looks at photography and album culture in Otago, New Zealand, between 1848 when the first Otago settlement colonists arrived and 1890 when snapshot cameras became widely available. It builds on work by Elizabeth Siegel and Martha Langford on nineteenth-century photograph albums, looking at their use as oral devices for self-representation. Additionally, it investigates album culture in a colonial context and situates photography in Otago within broader discussions on nineteenth-century immigration, identity and modernity. A material culture approach, which uses objects as evidence for exploring human behaviour, has been applied to 89 carte de visite and cabinet card albums holding approximately 6,000 photographs in the collection of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. These have been supplemented by albums and photographs from other collections. This thesis examines in-depth two albums from the 1880s; one compiled by an Otago-born woman of Scottish ancestry and the other owned by a Māori (Kāi Tahu) family. It argues that during the late nineteenth century immigrants to Otago, their Otago-born children, and local Kāi Tahu used photographs and albums to create and communicate their colonial identity and community.

The first photographer began working in the colony in 1855, and by the Otago gold rush of 1861, several professional photography studios had been established in Dunedin, the settlement's urban centre. Shortly after carte de visite albums were commercially available overseas, they were being sold in Dunedin. Much of Otago's photographic activity paralleled developments overseas. However, local practices emerged that were shaped by the colonial experience. Through their albums the residents of Otago portrayed themselves as members of a successful colonial society and part of a modern world that extended across and beyond the British Empire. By engaging in such activities as compiling albums and collecting photographs of celebrities, they positioned themselves as part of a global imagined community of photographic consumers. Through exchanging photographs and viewing albums, they built, maintained, consolidated, and demonstrated their local connections and membership in real communities. For colonial-era Kāi Tahu, albums illuminated their "middle ground" lives and identities that blended aspects of customary and colonial life. The title "The Colonial Family Album" summarises the argument that albums were used to create a new form of colonial family of connected people in the local Otago context.

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