Faye Hammill - Travel as Nationalist Practice
@jaleen This is fascinating and I have been really looking forward to hearing about Magazine Digest, about which I know nothing. Yes, I was hesitant to include Mayfair in the list of Canada's mainstream magazines because of the low circulation (see my reply to Andrew above) but then again it was published by Canada's leading magazine publishing company, as you know, and was part of its stable of titles supported by advertising and using a broadly similar format. Anyway, the only point I was trying to make was that we can safely say that there were only a handful of generalist magazines with a national remit in Canada during the early to mid-20thC. We could say five to ten, depending how you count them. The interesting part is the comparison with the number of US or foreign titles that circulated in Canada at the same time. So, I'm particularly interested to hear, re Magazine Digest, about its circulation being mostly in the US, as you describe in your abstract. This is indeed an exception to the rule! Thanks again. faye
@apelizza Hello, and thank you for the question. Not at all. All the magazines used a lot of photographs for inside features, and most of them moved at some point towards photographic covers. For most of the 1930s, for example, La Revue Moderne had a monochrome cover with a small inset photograph, while by the 1950s, covers typically featured a photograph of a female model in fashionable attire. The women's magazines such as Canadian Home Journal also moved towards photography rather than illustration on their covers. Mayfair was the one that stuck to illustration for the covers. It had plenty of photos inside but was unusual in retaining black and white photography while most other titles had moved to colour. I think there's an association with elegance and possibly an overtone of nostalgia.
Do you know this essay - I found it very useful on photography in magazines:
Bowallius, Marie-Louise. ‘Advertising and the use of colour in Women’s Home Companion, 1923–33.’ Design and the Modern Magazine. Ed. Jeremy Aynsley and Kate Forde. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2007. 18–36. Print.
@uqdcart1 Hello David, I hope the talks lived up to the discussion! Thank you so much for the Australian comparison and very helpful amplification. Yes totally agree and apologies for omitting the word 'apparent' before 'paradox.' That's exactly what I meant - it looks like a paradox to us, but actually one of the key aspects of empire that they're evoking in the magazines is its modern 'connectedness'. We still can't get away from the cringey aspect of Mayfair though, and its huge deference for what comes from London.
@butlerra Dear Rebecca, thank you for this really interesting thought. You're right, I can't answer the last question based on my own research, as I have only got bits and pieces about the representation of Canada in non-Canadian titles, and have not looked at this systematically. It would definitely be worth doing though! Certainly, in the Canadian magazines, lots of imported products are likewise promoted using this same rhetoric around travel (I have examples of ads for American brands of hand lotion, clocks and all sorts of other items).
@jaleen I absolutely love your post with the ethnographic data! Thank you so much. I have come across so many theoretical accounts of how nationalism and support for empire worked together in Canadian political discourse, with no contradiction between them. But it is hard to understand precisely how this plays out in daily life when you're not Canadian and didn't grow up there. So I find your examples and details invaluable. I particularly like the idea of the 'mobility class', which I think would be very useful to several of us in this conference. I'm intrigued too by the idea of the rugged Canadian as an improvement of British stock: I have likewise seen a few examples of this, especially in fiction, but wasn't sure how far they conformed to a larger pattern.
@apelizza I'd offer a thought too on why Canadian magazine covers were illustrated, since this happens to be my primary research specialty.
Before halftone reproduction, all images were illustrated, and in the United States and in Great Britain, there was quite a lot of national pride in illustration as an art form. This was connected in the 1890s to the fad for the "book beautiful" and general Arts + Crafts ethos of the handmade, especially as new photomechanical reproduction took over (1885 to 1895).
At the same time, photography was clumsy and limited (B&W for example), and halftones didn't look particularly great, and, advertising was proving how effective visual persuasion was. So 1895-1925 saw magazine covers (and Sunday news supplements) vie for news-stand prominence by cover art beauty competitions (this quickly devolved to loudness, in the case of pulp magazines).
An illustration can say no more and no less than what is needed, and improve on the 'real world'. Photography captures too much and shows all the wrong things sometimes. Retouching is expensive and so why not just paint what you need to begin with?
The best illustrators thus enjoyed massive fame and incomes to match - and fan followings. American magazines, which Canadians by and large aped, kept the art up for prestige, because photos couldn't yet capture the semiotic nuances desired by the magazines (new visual literacies must develop first, plus affordable colour technology), because the illustrators were so popular, and because readers demanded illustrated covers, which they used in many different ways in the home and at school.
Most periodicals switched to photo covers by the 1940s. Those that didn't were either very very niche, or longstanding titles that didn't want to break away from tradition.
This is so helpful Jaleen: thank you. I like what you say about visual literacies especially. I have been finding your published work in this area extremely illuminating too. I think we need more collaboration between design history, art history, and literary studies in our magazines research.