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Poster display tactics as photographic arguments

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Although the use of science posters became widespread only in the second half of the 20th century, many of the tactics for displaying photographs were developed in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, in the context of photographic exhibitions. This talk addresses the methods deployed by exhibitors of documentary, science and other ‘applied’ photography that foregrounded the presentation of an argument over the presentation of pictorial content. The techniques of comparison, using multiple photographic processes, standardising presentation formats and captioning were all deployed at one time or another, and all can also be found in the use of photographs in scientific posters. Comparing exhibitions of science photography and exhibitions of survey photographs I will show how these early display tactics could be described as poster display tactics.

This talk is part of the Twentieth Century Think Tank series.

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