This article examines the politics of interwar colonial identification practices put into place by the French colonial state in order to curtail the mobility of colonial (im)migrants. I argue that photography was used as a tool of imperial control in both French West Africa (AOF) and metropolitan France, since colonial men’s inability to provide the required photographic portraits often prevented them from moving around the empire. In response, colonial subjects appropriated photography in alternative ways to subvert these administrative restrictions. Moreover, they took advantage of metropolitan racial stereotypes to contest Western identification practices.
Controlling Colonial Migrants in Interwar France and Senegal
Johann Le Guelte
Ivan Poliakov’s Collection, 1876
Ekaterina B. Tolmacheva
This article deals with the analysis of the first collection of ethnographic photographs brought to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE) in Saint Petersburg from the Ob River by the Russian zoologist Ivan Poliakov in 1876. The article analyzes this collection as the first evidence in the history of visual anthropology of the North in Russia. Based on the historical documents from the Russian archives and Poliakov’s published field notes the article looks at his photographs through their social history both in the field and at the MAE. The article tells the story of this collection, which intertwines the organization of expedition, the technical history of photography, the relationships between Poliakov and indigenous communities of the Ob River, the photographic genres he preferred, and the history of the registration and cataloguing of the photographs at the MAE.
Re-Narrating the Political Life of a Laotian Subject
This essay considers the role of personal, affective history in shaping historiography, and more precisely, a post-colonial history of Laos. Relying on a variety of sources, official and family photographs, US diplomatic documents, telegrams and personal notes, and against the backdrop of multiple losses, this article problematizes the questions of biography and the complex links between the personal and the "historical" by narrating my father's professional trajectory over three decades as a civil servant and career diplomat. Pheng Norindr represented Laos at the 1962 Geneva Conference and became the Laotian envoy to the United Stated during the Vietnam War. His entanglement with French colonialism and Cold War politics offers a point of entry into a Laotian historiography that is critical of a monolithic Western history of Laos.
Corporeal Travel and Imaginative Travel
Many connections between mobility and photography are traced and established in this article. It is shown that photography entered discourses of tourism before photography was even invented. Sketching and image hunting were central to pre-photographic tourists and they voiced passionate desires for a machine that could easily fix the fleeting and elusive image of the camera obscura and Claude glasses. The difficulties that Talbot experienced while drawing a foreign prospect with the camera obscura led him to invent photography, while Eastman reinvented photography after realising through his own body that holiday picturing meant 'travelling heavy'. The early history of photography is intimately linked to travel and tourism: pre-photographic tourists desired photography and it became designed with the tourist in mind and later for 'travelling light'. Lightweight and reproducible, photographs were designed for movement too. They were crucial in putting the world on display and globalising the 'tourist gaze'. At a time where travelling was associated with fatigue, hassles and risks on the one hand and visual pleasures on the other, photographs seamlessly transported distant places to the convenient and safe armchair. They allow touristic visual consumption where no actual tourism takes place.
Crowd Photography and the Liberation in Toulouse, 1944–1945
During the Liberation of Toulouse, crowd photography dominated the local press rather than the scenes of combat and barricades that marked coverage in Paris and elsewhere. This article shows how crowd photography contributed to a common construction of republicanism across the Toulouse press and exhibitions. It argues that the circulation of these images not only communicated the message that the “people” were once again sovereign, but also implied that these populations had been instrumental in their liberation, thereby contributing to the mythology of “la France résistante.” Editors mobilized crowd photography to convey to viewers the importance of adopting their republican roles at a time of community reconstruction. Reading the photography of the Liberation of Toulouse reveals that while photographic messaging in Liberation France varied in line with local circumstances, it nonetheless played a potent role in contributing to democratic resurgence.
Photography and Ethnographic Complexity in Central Cape York Peninsula
Benjamin R. Smith
This essay addresses anthropological engagement with photography in indigenous Australian contexts. Following the work of Gell and Edwards, and drawing on the history of photography and ethnography in central Cape York Peninsula, I explore some ways that photographs may exceed relations of objectification and exoticism. Many ethnographic photographs have continued to circulate within and beyond Cape York Peninsula, while others have been returned to the descendants of those portrayed. This process of circulation may be accompanied by shifts in the meanings drawn from images, and increasing numbers of photographs are being taken by Aboriginal people themselves. Both these photographs and the engagement of earlier photographs by Aboriginal people demonstrate differences with the ways that photographs are dealt with in ‘Western’ contexts. Whether as ‘social things’, as objects, or as distributed aspects of the agency of those taking or featuring in them, photographs remain active in their interaction with viewers and demand a more nuanced analysis of colonial relationships.
Culture, Life and Intersectional Identity in Israeli Druze Photography
In this article, I analyse a collection of photographs from the Israeli Druze village Daliyat al-Carmel during the summer of 2015. I locate these photographs of Druze life within the current movement of Israeli/Palestinian photography and mobilise this photographic archive as a form of decolonisation and visual critique relating to the Israeli state. Through a close analysis of photographs documenting residents and activities of Daliyat al-Carmel from the 1930s to the 1970s, I argue photographs of Druze unsettle dominant tropes within Israeli and Palestinian visual discourse. The result is the production of an expanded visibility, which nuances our understanding of Arab Israeli life after 1948 and the intersectionality of the Druze community in terms of culture and Israeli-Palestinian relationships.
The avalanche of ruin photography in the archives, albums, publications, and propaganda of World War I France challenges us to understand what functions such images fulfilled beyond their use as visual documentation. Did wartime images of ruin continue the European tradition of ruiniste art that went back hundreds of years? Or did their violence represent a break from the past? This article explores how ruin photography of the period fits into a larger aesthetic heritage in France, and how the depiction of ruins (religious, industrial, residential, etc.) on the French side of the Western Front provided means of expressing the shock and grief resulting from the unprecedented human losses of the war. Using official and commercial photographs of the period, the article resituates ruin photography as an aesthetic response to war, a symbol of human suffering, and a repository of rage.
Noa Hazan and Avital Barak
This article explores the role of the Temple Mount in the Israeli visual sphere before and after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, whose fiftieth anniversary will be commemorated this June. Each of the four sections examines the dominant patterns of representation at key moments of Zionism, from the emergence of photography in the Middle East in the nineteenth century, to current representations of the Temple Mount. Analysis of the four periods demonstrates that the visual characteristics used to depict the Temple Mount were neither natural nor neutral, but rather charged with political agendas. The photographs expose the deep-seated conflict inherent in Israel’s self-definition as a modern secular state that is based on a religious, biblical, and messianic ethos.
Katie MacEntee, Lukas Labacher and John Murray
Young people use activism to advocate for their sexual health rights and to counter the social, political, and environmental threats to their health and well-being. By fully integrating themselves into the process of civic engagement—by incorporating pieces of themselves—youth can bring about successful change. Young community members can use civic engagement to speak out about their perceptions of how they are aff ected by health-related issues or how they are stigmatized by the community. In doing so, they are able to counter the ways in which policymakers, often distanced from the ramifi cations of inadequate social policy, portray the issues (Shucksmith and Hendry 1998). An interactive photo project that took place at the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, shows how civic engagement or what we think of as speaking out can move beyond rallies and online video and audio messages directed at policymakers and into the realm of digital photography and body language. Surprisingly, in a digital world in which body language and body parts are continually at risk of being sexualized, this interactive project illustrates how digital photographs of girls’ hands can be used to speak out in a positive, creative, and empowering way about girls’ and young women’s perceptions of sexuality and HIV.