Staff View
Primitive camera

Descriptive

TitleInfo
Title
Primitive camera
SubTitle
Adam Clark Vroman and the status of photography in late-nineteenth-century America
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Shannon
NamePart (type = given)
Heather A.
NamePart (type = date)
1974-
DisplayForm
Heather A. Shannon
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
author
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Sheehan
NamePart (type = given)
Tanya
DisplayForm
Tanya Sheehan
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
chair
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Sidlauskas
NamePart (type = given)
Susan
DisplayForm
Susan Sidlauskas
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Zervigon
NamePart (type = given)
Andres
DisplayForm
Andres Zervigon
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Fabian
NamePart (type = given)
Ann
DisplayForm
Ann Fabian
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
outside member
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
degree grantor
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
School of Graduate Studies
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
school
TypeOfResource
Text
Genre (authority = marcgt)
theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (qualifier = exact)
2017
DateOther (qualifier = exact); (type = degree)
2017-10
CopyrightDate (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2017
Place
PlaceTerm (type = code)
xx
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO639-2b); (type = code)
eng
Abstract (type = abstract)
From 1895 to 1904, Pasadena bookstore owner Adam Clark Vroman (1856–1916) made eight summer trips to photograph the landscape and indigenous peoples of the Arizona and New Mexico Territories. In Southern California, his contemporaries recognized him as a local photographer of note and an authority on Southwest Indian cultural practices. Vroman consolidated his distinguished national reputation by forming working relationships with the staff of the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology. The Bureau, established in 1879, was the key institutional proponent of social evolutionary theory in the United States. Adherents to the theory sought to map the development of the human mind as it evolved from the meanest state of savagery to middling barbarism and finally to fully realized civilization. The material cultures and social practices of the living indigenous peoples of North America were highly important to social evolutionary theory; they were cited as contemporary proof of the baser mental phases through which the civilized mind had long since evolved. Fully engaged with Smithsonian anthropology, Vroman endeavored to produce work relevant to the activities of the Smithsonian in the Southwest. These scientific aspirations fundamentally shaped his approach to picture-making, resulting in a body of work marked by directness, precision, and detachment—aesthetic qualities that scholars, underemphasizing the actual causes, have cited as evidence of artistic exceptionalism on Vroman’s part. This dissertation proposes a significant shift and correction in our view of Vroman and his work. It demonstrates that although certain aesthetic aspects of Vroman’s art may now appear to be exceptional and forward-looking, his photographic practice was in fact fully embedded in, motivated by, and reflective of contemporary anthropological discourses. Moreover, Vroman’s association with the Smithsonian casts new light on the photographic literature of the time: It reveals the great extent to which that literature—both technical and critical—adopted the language of social evolutionary theory in an effort to prove the medium’s rapid evolution from a savage to a civilized art. This has important ramifications for our understanding of Vroman’s photography and its early reception. In contemporary photographic circles, the characteristics for which Vroman’s photographs are now admired were then understood as the hallmarks of an amateur. The amateur photographer was held responsible for the field’s developmental stagnation and was denounced, in social evolutionary terms, as a savage. Vroman was keenly aware of such characterizations, and he agitated against them. His attempt to balance the demands of science against an implicit aesthetic repudiation accounts for the extraordinary complexity and ambivalence of his work. The first chapter uses Vroman’s photographs of the Hopi Indian Snake Dance to demonstrate that social evolutionary theory informed contemporary efforts to trace the origins of photography. Chapter 2 explores Vroman’s first collaboration with the Smithsonian. The chapter underscores a set of ambiguities that, from the start, characterized his photographic project. Most central was his amateur status in two fields—photography and anthropology—that were quickly professionalizing. Chapter 3 expands on the uncertain future of Vroman’s photographic endeavors, addressing his status as a self-taught amateur operating outside the salon system. The chapter serves to demonstrate that, at the turn of the century, the amateur was held responsible for the field’s developmental stagnation and was rebuked, in social evolutionary terms, as a savage. Chapter 4 focuses on Vroman’s dogged pursuit of photographing desert clouds. As an avid reader of ethnologies of the Pueblo Indians, Vroman understood the significance of clouds to the Southwest’s indigenous peoples. Although in contemporary critical terms Vroman’s technique may have been decidedly primitive, his cloudscapes represent an unprecedented approach to landscape photography, one informed by Puebloan cosmology. The conclusion uses the insights gained from the case of Vroman to propose a new perspective on modernist photography in the United States. It considers whether post-World War I anthropology might be a useful theoretical tool with which to understand the development of modernist photographic discourses.
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Art History
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Photography--United States--History--19th century
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = RULIB)
ETD
Identifier
ETD_8350
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = gmd)
electronic resource
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
InternetMediaType
text/xml
Extent
1 online resource (xv, 269 p. : ill.)
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
Note (type = statement of responsibility)
by Heather A. Shannon
Subject
Name (authority = LCNAF)
NamePart (type = personal)
Vroman, A. C.--(Adam Clark)--1856-1916
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore10001600001
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3QJ7MF2
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
Back to the top

Rights

RightsDeclaration (ID = rulibRdec0006)
The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
Shannon
GivenName
Heather
MiddleName
A.
Role
Copyright Holder
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2017-09-13 18:59:00
AssociatedEntity
Name
Heather Shannon
Role
Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
AssociatedObject
Type
License
Name
Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
RightsEvent
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2017-10-31
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = end)
2018-05-02
Type
Embargo
Detail
Access to this PDF has been restricted at the author's request. It will be publicly available after May 2nd, 2018.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
Back to the top

Technical

RULTechMD (ID = TECHNICAL1)
ContentModel
ETD
OperatingSystem (VERSION = 5.1)
windows xp
CreatingApplication
Version
1.4
ApplicationName
Mac OS X 10.9.5 Quartz PDFContext
DateCreated (point = end); (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2017-09-13T22:45:09
DateCreated (point = end); (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2017-09-13T22:45:09
Back to the top
Version 8.4.8
Rutgers University Libraries - Copyright ©2022