Totem and Tableaux: The Elegiac Photography of Hannah Maynard

By Matt Bennett.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 3, 2016 $US5.00

Although there is no evidence that Canadian photographer Hannah Maynard (1834–1918) produced post-mortem photographic images in her fifty-year-long career as a portraitist, she did create a kind of recurring elegy to the dead in many of her experimental images. Apparition-like photo-statuary of living subjects posed in typical Victorian allegories of death appear frequently in her work. She also created complex multiple exposures, some of which include purposefully placed portraits of dead family members, photographed in life. Maynard’s images, employing techniques of collage and “re-photography,” work to level distinctions between the living and dead. This article, itself an elegy of sorts, seeks to transform Maynard’s status in art history from a mere trace to a full presence, as powerful as her appearances in her self-portraiture.

Keywords: Hannah Maynard, Photography, Death, Canada, Elegy, Photomontage, Photo-Statuary, Self-Portraiture

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.55-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 3, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 890.755KB)).

Matt Bennett

Assistant Professor, Electronic Media Communications, University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash, Ohio, USA