Bonds, Attachments and Networks: Photographies of Connection

There has been much recent work on photography and feeling, emotion and memory. Likewise networks of photographic practice have become almost de rigeuer in contemporary analysis. In this overview paper I bring them together to consider affection as a connective tissue within photographic practice. Drawing on my work on the late 19th and early 20th century photographic survey movement, I consider ways in which its activities were driven by networks of affection – familial and social, local, national, and international embracing both the sentimental and pragmatic. It was also driven both by a sense of potential loss and by pride and hope in the future, precisely the sentiments of personal relationships on which many photographic and survey activities were founded. Drawing on recent work on emotion as a historical modality, I shall use my survey material as a case study of the affective triangulation between people, place and photography, and ask to what extent can we write a history of photography through a history of emotion.