“Take Only Photographs”:
by Matthew Brower
1. The conception of nature as a space from which humans must be excluded is influenced by the myth of the Garden of Eden. The myth positions nature as innocent and humans as guilty and fallen. Thus their entry into nature is corrupting. On the political implications of this myth see Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s,” in The Haraway Reader (New York: Routledge, 2004), 7-45.
2. For an argument against this contemporary understanding of nature, which also acknowledges its seductive appeal, see William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness, or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” in Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, ed. William Cronon (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1995), 69-90.
6. The logic of animal imagery discussed by Berger parallels the logic of the spectacle articulated by Guy Debord in The Society of the Spectacle. The spectacle offers a commodified image in the place of a now inaccessible real relation. Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (Detroit: Red and Black Books, 1977).
11. Bill McKibben, “Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi,” Harper’s, 295.1770 Nov. 1997, 19-24. See also Nature Photography: A Focus on the Issues, ed. Peter Friederici (Jamestown, NY: Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, 1993).
14. Derek Bousé has suggested that such behavior stems from the inappropriate conception of animals promulgated by wildlife representations. Derek Bousé, “False Intimacy: Close-ups and Viewer Involvement in Wildlife Film,” Visual Studies, 18.2, 2003, 123-132.
16. On Llewelyn’s family history see David Painting “J. D. Llewelyn and his Family Circle,” History of Photography, 15.3 autumn 1991, 180-185. On Llewelyn’s photography see Richard Morris John Dillwyn Llewelyn, 1810-1882: The First Photographer in Wales (Cardiff: Welsh Arts Council, 1980).
19. Estelle Jussim and Elizabeth Lindquist-Cock, Landscape as Photograph (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 31. Jussim and Lindquist-Cock also suggest that this reading may be the result of “some intense human desire typical of the alienated, overcrowded twentieth century,” implying that, at the very least, a particular kind of historical consciousness is necessary for such a reading.
28. Live, that is, at the time of the photo, the heron being certainly dead now. On the relation between the temporality of the photograph and death see Roland Barthes Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, R. Howard (trans.) (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981).
32. Hammond, Twentieth Century Wildlife, 14. Audubon was simply the most programmatic example of this phenomenon. He killed his subjects, wired them to grids for accurate depiction, and then would often eat them when done Hammond, Twentieth Century Wildlife, 19. See also Hume, From the Wild, 15.
33. It is only post ecology that the live animal comes to be a marker for the health (reality) of nature. We might position Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as the origin of a North American mass consciousness of the animal as the marker of ecological health. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002).
34. U. C. Knoepflmacher and G. B. Tennyson, “Introduction,” in U. C. Knoepflmacher and G. B. Tennyson (eds.), Nature and the Victorian Imagination (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), xvii-xxiii, xxi.
39. Bill Readings discusses the manner in which Wordsworth’s inscription of meaning into the landscape underwrote its capitalistic exploitation through tourism. Bill Readings, The University in Ruins (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), 96. I discuss the implications of Readings’ argument for thinking animal imagery’s charging of the wild animal with symbolic meaning in Matthew Brower, “Robert Bateman’s Natural Worlds,” Journal of Canadian Studies 33.2 (Summer 1998): 66-77.
48. Orvell’s caution in many ways parallels John Tagg’s arguments on the historically constructed nature of photographic meaning. John Tagg, The Burden of Representation (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988).
49. Among Llewelyn’s images is a photograph of a sporting print that may be by Landseer. http://www.swanseaheritage.net/article/gat.asp?ARTICLE_ID=1174
50. The aim of emphasizing the deer’s nobility could also be ascribed to the taxidermist. However, Llewelyn’s composition of the photograph with its emphasis on the deer’s head and antlers indicates his complicity in this construction.
51. The difference in function between Landseer's and Llewelyn’s deer could also be because Llewelyn’s deer is dead. However, what is decisive is the shift in the image’s function. The deer fails as an evocation of idealized nature. Treating this failure as productive I argue that the image presents a different conception of the animal and of nature. I would further argue that it is due to the change in the conception of the animal brought on by photography that Landseer’s deer now seem overly sentimental and anthropomorphized.
53. James R. Ryan “‘Hunting with the Camera:’ Photography, Wildlife and Colonialism in Africa,” in Chris Wilbert and Chris Philo (eds.), Animal Spaces, Beastly Places (London: Routledge, 2000), 203-221, 214.
58. In locating the relationship between photography and taxidermy as being between animal photography and taxidermy, Ryan backs off from Hauser’s larger claims. Hauser’s arguments operate on the level of photography and taxidermy’s structure of representation -- that both are “non-consensual” appropriations of surfaces from the world intimately related to death. “Coming apart at the Seams”.
60. On the depiction of landscape as an Imperial form see W. J. T. Mitchell, “Landscape and Imperial Power,” in W. J. T. Mitchell (ed.), Landscape and Power (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 5-34.
62. Millard suggests that picturesque photography was localized in England and ended by the mid 1880s as the development of photographic technology brought made the practice of photography widespread.
63. I analyze the relation between photography and hunting trophies in Matthew Brower, “Trophy Shots: Early American Non-Human animal Photography and the Display of Masculine Prowess,” Society and Animals 13.1, (2005): 13-32.