Saturday, 18 February 2012

Context is always important

As I've noted at various points before, photography played an important part in the presentation of the Pace case in the press.

In researching the case, I've used a variety of methods of looking through press sources. Recent advances have meant that an increasing number of newspapers have been digitised and are available online (if you're part of an institution that has a subscription to them). This sort of thing is very valuable, and has become a key part of my research in the last half decade or so.

On the other hand, I've also relied mostly on the old fashioned method of press research: i.e., just looking through all the issues of a given newspaper within a particular timespan. Since the Pace case occurrred within a relatively compact period of time, this has not proven to be too difficult.

In any case, it's occurred to me how important it is to see how the case was reported in context.

For example, here's an example of a typical photo of Beatrice that appeared in the papers in 1928 (click for larger image):

Sunday Pictorial, 2 Sept. 1928, p. 1

As I've noted before, this was an oft-printed photo of Beatrice and her dog, Rover, taken at Rose Cottage (a high-quality version of which will appear in the book).

To this image, a photo of Inspector Cornish has been added.

The occasion of this article, which appeared in September 2008, was a series of events (which take up a chapter of my book) that might have led to a reopening of the case in the months after Beatrice's acquittal.

However, what is also interesting is to consider what context this image was presented in.

I could, for example, note that this appeared on the front page of the Sunday Pictorial

That provides some useful information.

Here, though, is the larger view (click for bigger image):

What to make of the juxtaposition of the possible reopening of the murder trial and the front-page treatment of the beauty-contest winners?

Well, that's a long story. Which I partly deal with in the book.

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