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We are pleased to announce a major new initiative involving the digitisation of family photo albums from the late Victorian period to the early 1950s from across Europe and North America. These sometimes innocuous and occasionally spectacular volumes tell many stories, from the personal narratives of anonymous people, stranded in their histories by the passing of time, to the specific tales of journeys and relations in tenderly compiled, often hand-made, albums. Many of them confirm Diane Arbus’s musings from 1968, when she wrote that families are 'painful and heartrending' and ‘all are creepy, in a way’. The project is also about the role of photography in our lives – the formality of the Victorian portraits in the albums of early albumen prints and cartes des visites enshrines a sense of occasion and posterity, in stark contrast to the snapshot ease of the later portraits.
This is the fifth offering, a two volume bundle, of our online archive and history of the family photo-album.
Part of the The Family Album collection.