Focusing the lens: the role of travel and photography in the personal and working lives of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant

Field, Claudia Louise (2015) Focusing the lens: the role of travel and photography in the personal and working lives of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis addresses how the photographic image contributed to the formation of the public and private identities of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. I propose that Bell and Grant primarily conceptualised photography as a medium of movement and it is this element that defines photographic images of them and their circle. Further, I suggest this definitive photographic element of their work situates them and the Bloomsbury Group in the development of English modernism in a new way.
Chapter One explores the presence of movement in travel and tourism related photographic images from Bell and Grant’s own generation and previous generations in their families. It compares images of alpine adventures, colonial life and first journeys to Europe alongside sections of personal correspondence by both generations offering a ‘verbal sketch’ of the sights and sounds of the travel experience.
Chapter Two considers how the photographic reproduction informs the development of public identity through an analysis of how Bell, Grant, Clive Bell and Julia Margaret Cameron used photographic images in the public arena and how contemporary media used photographs in assessments of their work.
Chapter Three focuses on the nature of private physical and psychological photographic exchanges among both Julia Margaret Cameron’s circle and the Bloomsbury Group and looks at paintings by Bell and Grant that were inspired by personal and private photographs in their possession.
Chapter Four examines how the visual expression of monumentality and movement in photographs taken by Bell, Grant and their predecessors demonstrates a clear interest in making connections with past artistic and photographic traditions. The culmination of this discussion identifies defining features of the Bloomsbury photograph as created by Vanessa Bell and shows how it incorporates movement as a primary element of her photographic aesthetic.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Art History
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general > NX0440 History of the arts > NX0456 20th century. General works > NX0456.5 Special aspects or movements, A-Z > NX0456.5.M64 Modernism
T Technology > TR Photography
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2015 15:47
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2015 15:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/57242

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