Essay about Victorian's Secret: Sexual Revelations

Essay about Victorian's Secret: Sexual Revelations

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Victorian's Secret: Sexual Revelations

Art in its various forms has developed throughout history in response to changing political trends, philosophical movements, and even technological advances. With the invention of the camera and its increased use in the Victorian era, photography became a recognized art form. As with most forms of technology that infiltrate society, photography since its creation in 1839 has brought about startlingly negative consequences. There is an ethical, moral question one must ask himself or herself – where should the line be drawn in respect to photographing children? The Victorians captured an incalculable amount of images of dead children, nude children, and children in provocative poses. When an average, modern American views a photograph of a naked or dead child, that person usually experiences feelings of disgust and repulsion, and the image is often destroyed (or at least removed from sight). If a person does not respond in that manner, he or she is deemed a pervert by society. Pornographic images are classified as such because of the sexual connotations associated with them today, which was not the norm throughout history. 1 Sexuality, especially that of children, appeared to be a taboo topic during the Victorian era, but it was not entirely ignored by the culture. Contrary to popular Victorian beliefs, children were in fact sexual creatures, as depicted through photography of the period, Impressionist paintings, and Freudian theories.

Photography developed as an art form primarily in the mid to late 19 th century, partially as an alternative to lengthy sittings for a painted portrait. As a result, many of the early photographs were formal, posed still portraits. Some view...


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...d Colin Ford. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs . Los Angeles, CA: Getty Publications, 2003.

Dunstan, Bernard. Painting Methods of the Impressionists . New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1983.

Hardy, Thomas. The Return of the Native . New York, NY: The Modern Library, 2001.

Haworth-Booth, Mark. The Golden Age of British Photography 1839-1900 . England: Aperture Press, 1984.

James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw . New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004.

Pollock, Griselda. Mary Cassatt, Painter of Modern Women . London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1998.

Rosenblum, Naomi . A History of Women Photographers . New York, NY: Abbeville Press Publishers, 2000.

Weaver, Mike. British Photography in the Nineteenth Century: The Fine Art Tradition . New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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