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Title: Archive to Educate: The Musée de Photographie Documentaire and the Institut International de Photographie in Brussels, 1901-1913
Authors: Cousserier, Annelies # ×
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Berg Publishers
Series Title: Photography & Culture
Abstract: In nineteenth-century art criticism photography was often understood as an outstanding medium to democratize art, to educate the masses and to teach 'good taste'. Also, photography met expectations of speed, systematization and accuracy. Therefore, it was soon perceived as an 'ally' of the nineteenth-century archival aspirations. This article examines an ambitious project combining both education and archiving: the Brussels Musée de Photographie documentaire, established in 1901 by Ernest de Potter and since 1905 merged into the Institut International de Photographie (I.I.P.). De Potter as well as the I.I.P.'s co-founder, Paul Otlet, fostered an unshakeable belief in the emancipatory power of knowledge and they shared a strong educational interest. They did not limit themselves to merely collect photographical images, but were also reflecting on what actually was a 'useful photograph' or a 'good collection'; finally, they sought for strategies to open up their collections for a broad public. Since the greater part of the collection was destroyed both the museum and the institute became somewhat forgotten, although a closer study of its history is certainly worth the effort. It demonstrates how the photographic archive and educational purposes were going hand in hand, both driven by social and political ideals
ISSN: 1751-4517
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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