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This research applies the linguistic construct of markedness to photography to demonstrate that due to time and technology color photography has changed from the marked to unmarked object within a thirty-year span. A sample of articles from 1940 to 1970 from the weekly photography column in the New York Times was analyzed to trace color photography as it moved from its marked, or out-of-the-ordinary, status to an unmarked, or normal or expected status. Analysis finds that as of 1970 the distinction of the color photograph as ‘new’ was no longer a significant topic in the newspaper column, suggesting that color photography became unmarked at that time. This research uses the construct of markedness to suggest that due to the changing meanings and importance of photographs over time the development of a bibliographic structure that allows for updates and changes over time may be an appropriate consideration.


This is an unpublished manuscript that I wrote while in graduate school. I did not take the time to complete the suggested edits for publication but wanted to share the raw ideas contained in the manuscript, in their current state.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.