The Paned Oriel Windows | Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers

The Paned Oriel Windows

The Paned Oriel Windows

One of the things that have come up for me recently is that I am someone who keeps ceratin technologies and usages alive. In my academic practice, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the history of photography. And inevitably, the more time you spend thinking and researching photography, the more apparent that the privileged and white history of photography overshadows the history of photographic practice. One book by Mark Sealy, Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time, thoroughly and painstakingly explains how photography was used to help build colonial strongholds; the photographic practice was a wholly colonial tool, particularly in countries like England and France, where they actively used these technologies to form their colonialism. 

I need it to be clear that this is something I’m thinking about, and it’s something that I would like to remind whoever is inspired by my work that to work with past technologies like this, we should bear this in mind. When we keep certain technologies alive, embedded in that practice are notions that should be challenged along the way. In this instance, I’m drawing attention to a certain book, but there are other ways to challenge photographic histories directly. It is interesting for me to see shows crop up like Bridgerton, which portrays a regent history that didn't exist in England, and imagines a past without racial prejudice. Of course, that’s not the real past, and glossing over it is ridiculous, but in some ways, it could be useful for us to imagine what possibilities could’ve been and perhaps photography could be used in the same way. In her book ​​African Fashion, Global Style: Histories, Innovations, and Ideas You Can Wear, Victoria Rovine discusses how diasporic African creatives have used time (as in portayig the past in new ways) in fashion to challenge colonial time frames. 

Outside these windows pictures here, the latticed windows at Lacock Abbey 1835, William Henry Fox Talbot took the first photograph taken in the UK.  I visited this house recently, and in the museum about photography inside the grounds, there was no mention of this colonial past in this huge stately home where photography was engaged in a race to invent itself. The race was William Henry Fox Talbot vs Louis Daguerre in France, and Daguerre won the race. 


[The Oriel Window, South Gallery, Lacock Abbey]


This is a photograph of one of my closest friends eitherside of these windows.


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