Broadway on a Rainy Day. “Anthony’s Instantaneous Views,” E. and H. T. Anthony and Co., unidentified photographer, ca. 1865. Albumen print stereograph. Courtesy: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film.

Tucker, “Eye on the Street: Photography in Urban Public Spaces,” Radical History Review 114: Walkers, Voyeurs and the Politics of Urban Space, eds. Daniel Walkowitz & Robyn Autry (Fall 2021): 7-18. [Free online access through RHR].

Abstract: “Some of the most powerful historical images of streets and the people traversing them have been served up by photographers. Public urban spaces are not merely subject matter for photography, however, since photographers themselves are actively engaged in navigating city streets fraught with politics and social meaning. This essay reflects on a few of these urban practices and spaces of photography and identifies some enduring themes through this history, from the technical challenges of depicting humans passing through static structures and built environments of the city to conflicts over access and surveillance. An exploration of the many different appropriations of public spaces for photography shows that walking in city streets has not only been a central subject for fine art photography; it also has been one of its primary historical conditions.”


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Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.

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