From Cultural Translation to Translations inside Photographs (1860–1930)

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significant proportion of photography in Spain, from Charles Clifford's earliest days in the 1850s to 1920s industrial images, aimed to offer its audience characteristic images of the country. This being so, much Spanish photography deals in cultural translation, seeking to transfer the realities of a society and culture into a fairly small, two-dimensional version, and then to transmit that version onward to an audience. The transfer from three-dimensional objects to two-dimensional forms has another consequence, however, regarding the effects created by those shapes. I explore here how the resulting forms and structures involve a whole series of other transformations and metamorphoses within the photographs, and of things crossing or being borne across the image (translatio). Cultural translation gives rise to translations within photographs. More still, that specific variety of translatio becomes a central subject and aesthetic characteristic of the images themselves.

Bibliographic note

This was published while I was at Bristol, and a copy was deposited on their PURE site


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-164
JournalArt in Translation
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2015


  • photography, cultural translation, spain, Ortiz Echague, Laurent, Martínez Sánchez, Benlliure, Barthes, Benjamin, Javier Marías, Marín, geometry, pulsation, Aesthetics, Mulvey, larval

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