Tourist photographers and the promotion of travel: the Polytechnic Touring Association, 1888–1939

Dominici, S. (2015) Tourist photographers and the promotion of travel: the Polytechnic Touring Association, 1888–1939. Photography and Culture, 8 (3). pp. 297-323. ISSN 1751-4517

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The Polytechnic Touring Association (PTA) was a London-based, originally philanthropic turned commercial travel firm whose historical origins coincided with the arrival of the Kodak camera in 1888 – thus, of popular (tourist) photography. This article examines the PTA’s changing relationship with tourist photographers, and how this influenced the company’s understanding of what role photography could play in promoting the tours, in the late nineteenth and early twenty century. This inquiry is advanced on the basis of the observation that, during this time, the PTA’s passage from viewing tourists as citizens to educate, to customers to please, paralleled the move from using photography-based images to mixed media. Such a development was certainly a response to unprecedented market demands; this article argues that it should also be considered in relation to the widening of photographic perceptions engendered by the democratization of the medium, to which the PTA responded, first as educator, then as service provider. In doing so, the article raises several questions about the shifting relationship between “high”, or established, and “low”, or emerging, forms of culture, as mass photography and the mass marketing of tourism developed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online 7 December 2015
Uncontrolled Keywords: Polytechnic Touring Association, tourist photography, travel marketing, history, popular culture;
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
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Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2015 09:50
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2017 22:02

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