Last week the International Conference of the ANR LITTéPub, "LIS TES PUBS! Biens littéraires et culture marchande (XIXe-XXIe siècles)" took place at the Academy Palace of Brussels. Clarissa Colangelo has participated with a lecture on the relationship between photonovels and advertisement titled "Photonovels and advertisements in (Belgian) women's weeklies".
Photonovels, born in Italy in 1947, are a form of visual narrative where the story is brought forward by a combination of staged photographs, captions and speech balloons. Extremely popular during the 50s and the 60s, they told romantic stories in serialized format and were published in women’s weekly magazines. Next to photonovels, these magazines consisted of a variety of articles on diverse subjects, fashion tips and sewing patterns, stories and advertisements.
The lecture explored the connection between photonovels and advertisements published in these weeklies. Episodes of photonovels are mainly preceded and succeeded by advertisements. The pages themselves of a same episode are often interrupted by one or more pages dedicated to advertisement and in some cases photonovels and advertisements share the same page, blurring the line between the two. Even more striking, there are many examples of advertisements presented as a one- or two-page photonovel.
Reactions to the presentation were extremely positive. Photonovels never stop fascinating!