Multiple viewpoint photo composites, or photomaps, are commonplace, but critically and popularly overlooked. They bring together principles from information graphics and geographic visualisation and combine them with the image-making technologies of photography. Well known examples include the ubiquitous panorama and aerial composites such as Google Map’s Satellite View, with a history that extends back to Henry Fox-Talbot and Eadweard Muybridge. Their historic and contemporary impact is vast, and ever growing, but overlooked, receiving little scholarly attention. This research examines the parameters and possibilities of photomaps through sustained practical and theoretical research enquiry. Over several years multiple image making schemas were identified across scientific and art-historical contexts. These were examined in practice by the researcher, Dr Rob Tovey, in a range of contexts, and with the use of state-of-the-art technologies. The results of this prolonged and sustained enquiry are presented in this visual essay, setting out explicit conceptual approaches, technical parameters and emergent possibilities. These are cross referenced against existing practices, theoretical frameworks, with the end result offering a visual taxonomy of photomaps that spans cartographic, scanned, diagrammatic, peripheral and topological approaches. This represents the first substantive attempt to rigorously formalise the visual approach.


Read about this research:

Tovey, R. (2018) Photomaps: A Visual Taxonomy. Visual Communication, 17(2), 209-220.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1470357217746028

Researcher: Dr Robert Tovey, Loughborough University