Utility Photographs: re-thinking the vernacular, re-reading the archive.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This essay examines the array of photographs found in the archive of a local library in the provincial town of Dunfermline in Scotland. In conceptualising these images the essay returns to the nature of vernacular photography and the theory of the archive. It proposes an alternate sense of these images designated as ‘utility’ photographs; functional and contingent. This opens out the potential readings of these images so that it becomes practicable to recognise their role as a response to the global dynamics of modernisation and modernity, a mediator in the construction of local identity, and a witness to the agency of communities during periods of social change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-341
Number of pages16
JournalVisual Culture in Britain
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Utility photography, photobook, vernacular, archive, modernisation, local, identity, agency.


Dive into the research topics of 'Utility Photographs: re-thinking the vernacular, re-reading the archive.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this