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DR-278065-21

University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Laurie Matheson (Project Director: August 2020 to present)
Photographic Presidents: Taking History from Daguerreotype to Digital by Cara A. Finnegan

Photographic Presidents tells a history of photography through stories of how presidents shaped and participated in transformative moments in the history of the medium. Cara A. Finnegan analyzes a wealth of newspaper and magazine articles, letters to the editor, trial testimony, books, and speeches produced by viewers in response to specific photos they encountered in public. Finnegan treats the photograph as a locus for viewer engagement and constructs a history of photography's viewers that shows how Americans used words about images to participate in the politics of their day. As she shows, encounters with photography helped viewers negotiate the emergent anxieties and crises of U.S. public life through not only persuasion but action as well. Telling a new story about a medium and an institution that have largely grown up together, this book offers readers an accessible, visually engaging story about photography, the presidency, and public life.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Communications; Communications; Political History

Program:
Fellowships Open Book Program

Division:
Digital Humanities

Totals:
$5,500 (approved)
$5,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 6/30/2022