Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Margaret Lindauer


This thesis will explore the causes and consequences of the absence of vernacular photography from museum collections. Through historical analysis of vernacular photography and a close interpretation of a contemporary family snapshot, I will argue that vernacular photographs are important objects of great cultural significance and poignant personal meaning. Photography has always defied categorization. It serves multiple functions and roles, is studied in a vast number of disciplines, and exists in a variety of institutions and collections. Furthermore, it is difficult to classify a single photograph. Vernacular photography thus poses a challenge to museum methods of sorting documents, artifacts, and art. Consequently the photographs that are most significant in everyday life are often missing from the museum setting or are misinterpreted and stripped of their meaning.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010