Molin's Fountain in Photographs, with text
- Jaeger, Johannes

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Commentary

Molin’s Fountain in Photographs, with text is thought to be Sweden’s first photographically illustrated book, the focus of which is a statue of a fountain by the Swedish sculptor Johan Peter Molin. The book contains seven photographs, each of which is accompanied by a poetic stanza, and the volume creates an especially close, indexical relationship between image and text. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the first occasions on which the typical illustrative relationship between poem and photograph is reversed: that is to say, the poem is written to illustrate the poem, rather than the photograph the poem. Magnus Bremmer has identified the book’s importance, arguing that ‘a contemporary view of the photographic image … can be discerned from the layout of the book – namely, that photography produces images too distractive and oversaturated with insignificant details to be aesthetically valuable. The visual and verbal framework for the photographs, then, arguably aims to overcompensate the distractive qualities of the image, by regulating the reader/viewer’s attention towards the sculpture and its significant details. In this ambition, Jaeger’s photobook anticipates a future aesthetic appreciation of the photograph in its own right.’ In the context of British photopoetic history, photographs at this time still required literary scaffolding to be taken seriously, and it is interesting to note the divergence here between British and European photopoetic models.

Book Details

Author: Jaeger, Johannes
Title: Molin's Fountain in Photographs, with text
Publication Year: 1866
Poets Featured: Wetterhoff, Karl ; Sätherberg, Herman
Photographers Featured: Jaeger, Johannes
Subjects: Sculpture, Swedish, Fountains, Sweden, Molin, Johan Peter, 1814-1873, Individual works, Molins fontän, Mythology, Norse
Photographic process: Albumen prints

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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