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History of Design Research Seminar Series: A Cultural History of Combined Technologies: Photographing and Cycling in Late Victorian Britain

14 November 2018 | 2pm – 3.30pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Dr Sara Dominici, Lecturer in Cultural Studies, School of Humanities, University of Westminster

This talk presents new research looking at the relation between camera and cycle technologies in late Victorian Britain. Despite the challenges of carrying heavy and fragile glass-plate cameras on likewise heavy and laborious to ride machines, in this period combining cycling and photography was felt so close that contemporary commentators could write of ‘cyclo-photographers’. A reason for this popularity was the confluence of new ways of moving and seeing that the engagement with these two modern cultural technologies had made possible, and that photographers embraced as a condition of being modern. This influenced profoundly the development of camera technology and its uses from the late nineteenth century. As the talk shows, this was because cycling enabled a new experience of visualisation as individual expression that, in turn, shaped how cyclo-photographers thought of camera practices and what they expected of camera technology.

The V&A/RCA History of Design Research Seminar Series provides a forum for engaging with new thinking in the history of design and material culture, including cutting-edge research in related fields such as anthropology, economic history, the history of art and architecture, medical humanities and the history of science and technology.

All seminars are free; external attendees are asked to contact [email protected] to reserve a seat. This event has been organised by the V&A/RCA History of Design Programme. Please contact [email protected] for more information.