Conclusion: Revisiting the Eighteenth-Century Visual Uncanny
Photography reflects and abets a state of restlessness endemic to modernity. Transience of inhabitation is definitive of the modern: those with the money to do so move freely; others, with less wealth, are pushed by the need to find work in the capitalist economy, while still others are refugees and emigrants, forced because of modern political situations to leave home countries. Photography fits with the patterns in which we now live, and in this concluding chapter, I look at the history of the technology as it intertwines with colonization and industrialization, with Enlightenment ideology. I look at photography’s inception in its relationship to the forces of culture that gave rise to modern patterns of displacement. My book ends uncannily with the mirror image of where it began: interrogating conceptual and cultural shifts in the long eighteenth century that set the stage for the creation of photography also shaping the uncanny as the mode and mood of modernity. Teasing apart the sublime and the uncanny, in this concluding chapter I seek an understanding of the way that terms of visibility, essence, and science in the long eighteenth century inform the uncanny art of the photograph.