We think of celebrity culture as a recent development but back in the nineteenth-century celebrities were made or broken through the power of photography.
Have we always been celebrity obsessed?
We think of celebrity culture as a recent development of our media-saturated society, but back in the nineteenth-century, celebrities – or, in the case of women, ‘Professional Beauties’ as they were known at the time – were made or broken through the power of photography.
Just like today, celebrities complained about being photographed too often, objected to photographers circulating ‘bad’ or ‘intrusive’ photographs, and tried to use the Courts and libel laws to stop the sale of photographs and of magazines gossiping about them. This is the theme of recent research by one of our lecturers, Patrizia Di Bello, in a forthcoming article to be published in History of Photography next winter.