A brief introduction to the history of anthropology of photography
Keywords:anthropology of photography, Anglo-American and French anthropological tradition, collaborative projects, hypermedia, archival photography
The paper represents a short historical overview of key anthropological figures in Anglo-American and French anthropology of photography such are Boas, Malinowski, Evans-Pritchard, Mead and Bateson, Levi-Strauss and (John) Collier till the current visual anthropologists as Banks, Pink, Ruby, Pinney, and Edwards, among many. Furthermore, the major theoretical ideas such are: objectivity and subjectivity of photography, its material, and intangible aspects, its representative potential, ethical issues and reflexive approach are discussed. At the end, several anthropological projects which include photography are mentioned in order to suggest possible research pathways. I will mention few. Pink asserts the importance of ethnographic hypermedia which includes written text, images, video, photographs and sound in order to create interactive scholarly publications. During his ethnographic research of cultural aspect of wine producing in Burgundy, Coover’s work resulted in electronic ethnography and internet photo study of harvest in order to establish a better connection between the viewer-reader and his work. At the beginning unintentionally, Loescher collaborated with children during her visual research of contemporary urban childhood in Manchester by giving them her still camera. As a result, she was able to better understand their worldviews and their lifestyle. Another collaborative work was between Pink and documentary photographer, da Silva, who made a visual documentary project among two fishing communities in England and Portugal. Finally, the paper mentions Edwards’ research on archival research of museum photography which stresses the role of photography in creating and manipulating with the past.
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