Theses Doctoral

Posing, Candor, and the Realisms of Photographic Portraiture, 1839-1945

Rudd, Jennifer Elizabeth Anne

This study offers a history of the concept of realism in portrait photography through the examination of a set of categories that have colored photographic practices since the origins of the medium in 1839: the posed and the candid. The first section of this study deals with the practices of posing in early photography, with chapters on the daguerreotype, the carte de visite, and the amateur snapshot photograph. Considering technological advances in conjunction with prevailing cultural mores and aesthetic practices, this section traces the changing cultural meaning of the portrait photograph, the obsolescence of the pose, and the emergence of an "unposed" aesthetic in photography. The second section of this study examines three key photographers and their strategies of photographic representation, all of which involved candid photography: it looks at Erich Salomon's pioneering photojournalism, Humphrey Spender's politicized sociological photography, and Walker Evans' complex maneuvering of the documentary form. Here, the emphasis is on the ways in which the trope of the candid informed these three distinct spheres of photography in the early 20th century, and the ways in which the photographic aesthetic of candor cohered with--or contested--political and cultural developments of the interwar period in Germany, Britain, and the United States.


  • thumnail for Rudd_columbia_0054D_12236.pdf Rudd_columbia_0054D_12236.pdf application/pdf 1.36 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Tucher, Andrea Jean
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 24, 2014