Suspended Conversations : The afterlife of memory in photographic Albums

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2001-08-01
Publisher(s): McGill Queens Univ Pr
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Albums are treasured by families, collected as lively illustrations of the past by museums of social history, and examined by scholars in sociology, folklore, art history, and cultural studies for what they can reveal about attitudes and sensibilities. Most agree that albums are stories that come to life in the retelling but when no one is left to tell the tale, the intrigue of the album becomes a frustrating puzzle, a suspended conversation. Langford argues that oral consciousness provides the missing key. By correlating photography and orality she shows how albums were designed to work as performances and how we can unlock their mysteries.Suspended Conversationsbrings to light a rich collection of photographic travelogues, memoirs, thematic collections, and family sagas compiled between 1860 and 1960 and held by the McCord Museum of Canadian History. Martha Langford not only provides a fascinating glimpse of a previous century's preoccupations and mores but brings photography into the great conversation about how we remember and how we send our stories into the future.

Author Biography

Martha Langford was the founding director and chief curator of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Table of Contents

Preface: Hellohellohello vii
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Show and Tell 3(19)
The Idea of Album
The Album as Collection
Memoirs and Travelogues
The Idea of Family
Orality and Photography
``Photographs'' 1916--1945
Conclusion: Remembering to Tell 198(4)
Appendix 1: A Note on the Photographic Collections at the McCord Museum of Canadian History 202(4)
Appendix 2: The Photographic Albums Illustrated in the Text 206(9)
Notes 215(12)
Bibliography 227(10)
Index 237

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