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Title: Picturing hunger : photography and the Irish famine 1945-50
Author: Bamford, Ian
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2013
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Enduring for more than five years, the Great Irish Potato Famine, an apparently intractable humanitarian catastrophe characterised by substantial population displacement, widespread starvation and mass mortality throughout the island of Ireland, produced multiple crises for the emerging structures of modernism. Prevailing ideological concepts surrounding social organisation, the limits of governmental intervention, economic orthodoxy, as well as religious and moral responsibility in response to distant suffering, were all challenged by the advent of a disaster of this magnitude within the boundaries of a modem state. Yet, this subsistence crisis occurred during a decade of technological innovation that saw the advent of both pictorial journalism and the emergence of photography within the metropolitan core. Thus, the Famine was the first time that middle class viewers were confronted with images of distant suffering through the auspices of the newly formed illustrated press. In particular, the Illustrated London News published numerous images depicting the effects of starvation and suffering throughout the continuing subsistence crisis. These images have been associated with influencing British public opinion in regard to the appropriate response towards this humanitarian crisis and can also be directly linked to the visualisation of suffering today. While photography was not used to directly depict the ravages of starvation in a manner akin to photojournalistic representations of distant suffering, it was utilised by members of the aristocratic elite in the post-Famine decade to represent the land and people in a manner that responded to official attempts to impose modem structures upon Ireland. Therefore, although the Famine remains unrepresented photographically, this initial attempt to visualise distant suffering within modernity had a profound impact upon the development of representative strategies that resonate today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available