Book Review, Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life

Woolley, Dawn (2017) Book Review, Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life. Photography and Culture, 10 (3). pp. 309-312. ISSN 1751-4525

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Annabella Pollen examines and interprets mass-participation photography events using, as a pre-digital case study, the charity-supporting One Day for Life photography competition in which contestants sent, with an entry fee of £1, a photograph taken on 14 August 1987 to ‘capture’ the essence of Britain in the pattern of their lives. 348 ‘winning’ photographs were selected for inclusion in the One Day for Life book (published November 1987) and an overall winning photograph was chosen to appear on the cover. Money was raised for British cancer charities through entry fees and book sales. The One Day for Life archive, now housed in The Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex, consists of almost 55,000 photographs. Pollen attempts to define a place for the archive within contemporary scholarship in vernacular photography using a broad range of theoretical and interpretative tools from anthropology and ethnography, literary criticism, photography theory, and cultural studies. This interdisciplinary approach aims to “locate the missing context for the photographs, to flesh out their cultural biography and to situate them in their historical period.” (Pollen, 2016, p. 209)

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Vernacular photography, collective history, competition
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dawn Woolley
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 15:22
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58

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