All The Names: Collections and Historical Research. The Magalhães Nobre Stereo Collection

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There is no history of photography without the preservation of past photographs. This article addresses the politics underlying the admissions of photography collections by public museums and their role in shaping the history of photography. It particularly focuses on photography collections with anonymous authors in Portuguese public institutions. Although there has been much change during recent decades regarding the acceptance of photographic collections by unknown photographers, the majority of the collections mapped by the recent Lusófona University study on Portuguese stereo visual culture have well-established authors. We argue that anonymous productions are important to the understanding of the Portuguese visual culture because they mostly represent common uses of the media. This article presents one of these collections, the Magalhães Nobre Collection. The first part discusses the results of the study regarding the origin of Portuguese stereo collections and their admissions. In addition, the role and historical identity of museums and archives are debated. This is followed by a discussion on the relevance of a visual culture approach, based on contemporary trends in historical research in photography. Finally, we analyze the Magalhães Nobre Collection, its relations to the tourist gaze, to landscape and family photography, and to stereoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPhotography and Culture
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • history of photography
  • museology
  • photographic collections
  • private photography
  • stereoscopy
  • unknown authors


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