Anthropology and Photography, 1860-1920

Overview

Since its beginnings, photography has been a valuable resource for anthropologists in the recording of ethnographic data. This book, published in conjunction with the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) London, looks at the significance and relevance of still photography in British anthropology from about 1860 until 1920. It examines how photography provides evidence of the past and how this evidence is used in conjunction with more traditional forms of anthropological information. And it considers the ...
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Overview

Since its beginnings, photography has been a valuable resource for anthropologists in the recording of ethnographic data. This book, published in conjunction with the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) London, looks at the significance and relevance of still photography in British anthropology from about 1860 until 1920. It examines how photography provides evidence of the past and how this evidence is used in conjunction with more traditional forms of anthropological information. And it considers the reflexive and critical nature of the photographic way of seeing within anthropology. The book opens with five substantial essays on the nature of photography, visual perception, theoretical and historical approaches to anthropological photography, and the photograph as a document. These are followed by twenty shorter essays by leading anthropologists and historians with special interest in visual representation. The essays examine the content and historical contexts of a range of 157 remarkable photographs, drawn mainly from RAI collections, many reproduced for the first time. The book as a whole establishes the intellectual and anthropological frameworks for the analysis of specific photographs and articulates a body of ideas about photography and the way in which it was perceived in anthropology. The volume encompasses many ways of thinking from the theoretical to the ethnographic and from the historical to the 'post-modern'. This pluralist approach stresses the complex nature of the photographic message and its interpretation within anthropology in a way that is as relevant to modern material as it is to the historical.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These 25 erudite essays by a host of professionals attempt to decipher the co-emergent histories of two relatively new disciplines: anthropology and photography. This is no simple task. The book, which was produced in conjunction with the Royal Anthropological Institute, may appear to be coffee-table material, but it is in fact dense, analytical, and yet highly philosophical. It raises many more questions than it can possibly answer about the use of photography in anthropology. Nevertheless, this extremely valuable study fosters a clearer perspective on the subject than other texts. Unlike a textbook, which dices major issues into apparently simple forms, the thinking here is synthetic and realistically bewildering. Highly useful for students in a variety of fields, including library science and museum studies.-- Susan M. Olcott, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300059441
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Editor's Acknowledgements
List of Contributors
Introductory Essays: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives 1
Introduction 3
Photography: Theories of Realism and Convention 18
The Photographic Document: Photographs as Primary Data in Anthropological Enquiry 32
Surveying the Field of View: The Making of the RAI Photographic Collection 42
The Parallel Histories of Anthropology and Photography 74
Case-Studies 97
Some Notes on the Attempt to Apply Photography to Anthropometry during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century 99
Science Visualized: E.H. Man in the Andaman Islands 108
British Popular Anthropology: Exhibiting and Photographing the Other 122
Representing the Other: The North American Indian 132
Of 'Peculiar Carvings and Architectural Devices': Photographic Ethnohistory and the Haida Indians 137
George Hunt, Kwakiutl Photographer 143
The Fading of Appearances: Anthropological Observations on a Nineteenth-Century Photograph 152
Focal Length as an Analogue of Cultural Distance 158
Underneath the Banyan Tree: William Crooke and Photographic Depictions of Caste 165
Whose Pose is It? A Photo-ethnographic Conundrum from South India 174
The Yellow Bough: Rivers's Use of Photography in The Todas 179
'Very loveable human beings': The Photography of Everard im Thurn 187
Photographs of the Sankuru and Kasai River Basin Expedition Undertaken by Emil Torday (1876-1931) and M.W. Hilton Simpson (1881-1936) 193
Two Portraits of Auresian Women 206
Photography, Power and the Southern Nuba 211
The Battle for Control of the Camera in Late nineteenth-century Western Zambia 218
Te Tokanga-nui-a-noho Meeting-house 225
The Representation of Trucanini 230
The Political Image: The Impact of the Camera in an Ancient Independent African State 234
Two Maori Portraits: Adoption of the Medium 242
Afterwords: 'Framed Photographs' 247
Historical Images - Changing Audiences 249
A Political Primer on Anthropology/Photography 253
Appendix: Photographic Techniques: An Outline 264
Index 268
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