About the Photograph as Historical Source Cover Image

A fénykép történeti forrásként való alkalmazhatóságáról
About the Photograph as Historical Source

Author(s): Orsolya Elek
Subject(s): History, Cultural history, Local History / Microhistory, Oral history, Social history, Modern Age
Published by: KORALL Társadalomtörténeti Egyesület
Keywords: history;photography;

Summary/Abstract: Photography is a unique medium that can convey information about events and actors of the past for the present. This is where its primary value lies as a historical source; and this is what can be used in historical research in versatile ways. At the same time, a photographic image can go beyond its primary documentary character by also attesting to its past and present audience as well as cultural, ideological, and power relations. The essay explores the statement that a photograph – as any narrative or visual representation – is both interpretation and selection at once. Further, Elek examines the ways in which a photograph can interpret and select, that is, the layers of meaning that the very characteristics of the medium has to offer for historical research. Following a brief overview of the theory of photography, the essay moves on to tackle questions of the visual turn, and the attributes of the technical image. The author then turns to the issue of memory in photography from the angle of memory studies, which have been the subject of increasing attention in historical research in general. The study aims to demonstrate that using photography as a historical source necessitates uncovering a number of various meaningful layers. Raging from the motifs found in the image, the subject of the image, and the technological fac- tors, through the institutional background conceiving and adopting it, to the paradigms of the history of science, many factors are involved in the ways we integrate visual sources into the study of past and present society.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 73
  • Page Range: 5-17
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Hungarian