The Photocaptionist Manifesto: ‘Phototexts: A History in Theoretical Perspective’

by Federica Chiocchetti

3 Feb 2017

After my MA in Comparative Literature (2010-12), where I explored the relations between Fin-de-siècle Spirit Photography and Ghost Literature, in 2012, I started a PhD research entitled ‘Phototexts: A History in Theoretical Perspective’ at the University of Westminster in London, with the supervision of Professor and photoartist David Bate. This research is the Photocaptionist’s Theoretical Manifesto and has evolved into an ambitious international touring exhibition and publication, from Hippolyte Bayard to Jason Fulford, with the support of fascinating partners such as the Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature and photopoetry book collector David Solo. More exciting details will be announced soon, meanwhile I am delighted to share a number of intriguing ‘proto-phototexts’ of the early days of photography that I have discovered and studied along this intense photo-text journey.

Hercule Florence, Masonic Diploma, photographic copy, Brazil 1833

William Henry Fox Talbot, Copy of a stanza from the “Ode to Napoleon” in Lord Byron’s hand, photogenic drawing negative, UK prior to 4 April 1840

Henry Collen, Chinese characters of the Treaty of Nanking, photographic copy for the Queen, UK 1842

Anna Atkins, British Algae: Cyanotypes Impressions, hand-lettered preface text, UK 1843

William Henry Fox Talbot, Fac-simile of an Old Printed Page, Plate IX, The Pencil of Nature, UK 1844-45

If you are interested in the project don’t hesitate to contact us. Stay tuned!