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Title: Engineering and the corporate photographic archive : a study of the albums of S. Pearson & Son, 1880-1930
Author: Santana, Noeme
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 3090
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis considers the uses of photography by, and the photographic archive of, the British civil engineering conglomerate S. Pearson & Son, between 1880 and 1930. Photography, widely perceived at the time as being accurate and objective, allowed engineers to record and to disseminate, to a variety of audiences, representations of infrastructure as it was built. The firm's photographic archive offers a uniquely rich record of these applications of photography and allows for an examination of the production, dissemination, and consumption of photographic albums, in both professional and commercial contexts within the engineering industry. Drawing on scholarship in historical geography, history of technology, and the history of photography concerned with the materiality of photographs, the thesis considers the company's use of photographic albums to manage long distance communications, and to project expertise and excellence. Chapter 1 outlines the themes in the thesis and focuses on the historiography of the company and the social biography of its photographic archive. Chapter 2 discusses the conceptual frameworks underlying the study of photographs and albums produced in industrial contexts, and the methodologies employed to survey the collection. Chapter 3 outlines the broader relationships between photography and civil engineering, and considers the various uses of photography by industrial corporations such as Pearson. Chapter 4 develops an original typology of the firm's photographic albums. Chapter 5 considers the use of albums as working documents and tools of business communication. Chapter 6 examines the use of photography to promote the firm's corporate image externally. Chapter 7 concludes the thesis by summarising its main themes, considering the changing role of the Pearson photographic archive and the implications of digital technologies for future uses. Through its focus on the production, circulation and consumption of engineering photographs within various networks, this thesis suggests new ways of understanding photographs of industry and infrastructure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available