Inventing Scotland: Photography, Landscape, and National Identity

Monteiro, Stephen, 2014, Inventing Scotland: Photography, Landscape, and National Identity, in: Crăciun, C., Bostenaru Dan, M. (ed.), ‘Planning and Designing Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes’, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht

  • Author : Monteiro, Stephen
  • Year : 2014
  • English Title : Inventing Scotland: Photography, Landscape, and National Identity
  • Published in Book : Planning and Designing Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes
  • Abstract in English : This article considers architectural and topographical photography’s role in the formation and expression of national identity in Great Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. It examines opposing depictions of national imaginaries in the 1840s by the English inventor of negative-positive calotype photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, and several Scottish practitioners of that process, including John and Robert Adamson, David Octavius Hill, and the amateur photographers of the Calotype Club of Edinburgh. Talbot’s book, Sun Pictures in Scotland, exercised an English claim to photography by following the visual rhetoric of the picturesque in reducing Scottish identity to the ruins and landscapes associated with the work of Sir Walter Scott. The Adamsons, Hill, and the members of the Calotype Club embarked on photography projects that eschewed such British interpretations of Scottish culture, focusing instead on contemporary figures and events, historical sites, and sustained land use. This article concludes that, al-though early Scottish photography promoted a cohesive national identity, it set in motion the paradoxical potential for signs of national character and action to be absorbed into a larger, hegemonic narrative of an anglicized Great Britain.
  • Outline in English : Introduction Sun Pictures in Scotland The Picturesque The “Tartan” Album The Studio of Hill and Adamson Conclusion