Die rol van neentiende-eeuse fotografie in eietydse bewaring : William Roe en Graaff-Reinet

Malherbe, Johanna Francina (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aims to understand the role that 19th century photography can play in the reconstruction of an era and in the conservation of cultural heritage in the 21st century. The photo collection of William Roe, a photographer from Graaff-Reinet, is used as an example. The origin and development of Graaff-Reinet is used as background information and major events such as the Great Trek, the arrival of the railway, the Anglo-Boer War, the First World War and the Great Flu are touched upon. Aspects such as education, churches, the library and the hospital in Graaff-Reinet complement the study. An overview of the development of photography covers several early photo-making processes. These include the daguerreotype process, Talbot's paper negative process, collotype and the popular carte de visite photographs. Photography specifically in South Africa is also conferred, with particular reference to the first photographers working in the country. Reference is made to the important influences major events like the discovery of diamonds and gold as well as the Anglo-Boer War had on photography. The discussion of William Roe as human being and his legacy as a photographer forms an integral part of the study. The Victorian period is discussed since this was the period in which Roe worked and lived. It had a formative influence on his workmanship. An overview of the Victorian period in England is followed by specific focus on South Africa during this time. The rush to the diamond fields, issues with language and the trends of the times are pointed out. Many of these trends are specifically indicated and discussed as they appear in Roe’s photos. The photos have been categorized to clarify analysis of the different cultural phenomena. The architecture and historical background of Graaff-Reinet’s churches and public buildings are discussed. Streetscapes and images of the town as a whole show the development and daily activities that took place. Photos of clothing represent a reconstruction of the fashions of the concurrent Victorian era and those of public events such as sporting events, celebrations, plays and a gathering during the Anglo-Boer War, display the social life of the community. The role of human memory in the writing of cultural history is compared with the “memory” role of photographs. At the same time the ability of photographs to reflect not only physical culture, but also abstract concepts, receives attention. The use of these abilities of photography in the preservation of culture is a challenge for conservationists of the 21th century.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het ten doel om die rol wat 19de-eeuse fotografie kan vervul in die rekonstruksie van ’n era en in die bewaring van kultuurgoedere vir die 21ste eeu, aan te spreek. Die fotoversameling van William Roe van Graaff-Reinet word as voorbeeld gebruik. Die ontstaan en ontwikkeling van Graaff-Reinet word as agtergrond behandel en belangrike gebeurtenisse soos onder meer Die Groot Trek, die koms van die spoorlyn, die Anglo- Boereoorlog, die Eerste Wêreldoorlog en die Groot Griep word uitgewys. Aspekte soos opvoeding, kerke, die biblioteek en hospitaal is aanvullend bestudeer om ’n volledige beeld van Graaff-Reinet daar te stel. ’n Oorsig oor die ontwikkeling van fotografie dek verskeie vroeë fotoprosesse soos die daguerreoproses, Talbot se papiernegatief, die calotipe-fotoproses en die gewilde carte-devisite- foto's. Fotografie in Suid-Afrika word bespreek met spesifieke verwysing na die eerste fotograwe wat in die land werksaam was. Daar word verwys na die invloed wat belangrike gebeurtenisse soos die ontdekking van diamante en goud, asook die Anglo-Boereoorlog, op fotografie in Suid-Afrika gehad het. Die ondersoek na William Roe as mens sowel as sy nalatenskap as fotograaf vorm ’n belangrike onderdeel van die studie. Die Victoriaanse era word bespreek aangesien dit die tydperk was waarin Roe geleef en gewerk het, en dus ’n vormende invloed op sy werk gehad het. ’n Oorsig oor die Victoriaanse era in Engeland word gevolg deur ’n beskouing van dié era in Suid-Afrika. Die stormloop na die diamantvelde, taalkwessies en heersende modeneigings word uitgewys. Baie van die modeneigings word tydens die ontleding van die kultuurverskynsels op die Roe-foto’s opgemerk en bespreek. Die foto’s vir die ontleding van kultuurverskynsels is in kategorieë ingedeel. Die argitektuur en historiese agtergrond van kerke en openbare geboue word bespreek. Straat- en dorpsbeelde dui die ontwikkeling van en bedrywighede op die dorp aan. Kleredragfoto’s bied ’n rekonstruksie van die modes van die Victoriaanse era terwyl die foto’s van openbare geleenthede soos sportbyeenkomste, feesvieringe, toneelopvoerings asook ’n samekoms tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog die sosiale lewe van die inwoners van die dorp aandui. Die rol van die menslike geheue in kultuurgeskiedskrywing word vergelyk met die rol van foto’s as “geheue”. Terselfdertyd word die vermoë van foto’s om nie net fisiese kultuur te weerspieël nie, maar ook abstrakte konsepte te verteenwoordig, behandel. Die aanwending van hierdie eienskappe van fotografie in kultuurbewaring is ’n uitdaging vir bewaringskundiges van die 21ste eeu.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95870
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