Photography and anthropology emerged almost simultaneously in the third decade of the 19th century and have been entangled ever since. There are two major strands to anthropological or ethnographic engagements with photography. In the first, photography has functioned as a tool through which to explore anthropological questions about cultural production, from art making to agriculture, as well as the construction of social identity, such as gender and race. Studies that adopt this approach rely on photographs to provide empirical evidence for analysis. The second strand concerns the anthropology of photographic practices. This work has explored different cultural uses, styles, and social expectations of photography as a medium; it has addressed the nuances, similarities, and differences through which photography functions as a social medium. In this body of work it becomes clear how the value of photographs is not necessarily determined through the content of images but through their capacity as social objects to mediate social relationships. Around these issues of social value, memory, and history, anthropological or ethnographic photography has become a site for both cultural critique and cultural recuperation, especially by indigenous, First Nations, and diasporic communities....
(b New York, Feb 27, 1935).
American performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. In the mid-1950s she studied acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for Stage, New York, and creative writing at the College of the City of New York. Her performances can be seen as autobiographical, with invented roles based partly on historical characters. Set-pieces recurring in performances from the early 1970s included the King of Solana Beach, inspired by a portrait of Charles I, King of England, by Anthony van Dyck; Eleanor Antinova, giving the recollections of a black dancer in Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; and the Angel of Mercy, Florence Nightingale in the Crimea. Antin considered her performances as a means of self-definition as an artist and woman in the late 20th century. The presentations incorporated pithy commentaries on contemporary social and political issues. The spontaneous nature of her activity can be linked to the early years of American film-making, when participants devised dramatic scenarios in an ad hoc sequence. By interspersing her personal experience and vision with episodes from the past, Antin attempted to redefine traditional boundaries associated with women, power and art. For ...
American photography foundation and publisher. Aperture magazine was founded in San Francisco in 1952 by American photographers Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Barbara Morgan, Minor White, Ernest Louie, Melton Ferris, and Dody Warren, with writer–curators Beaumont Newhall and Nancy Newhall. They intended the organization to serve as a forum for discussing photography, to exhibit photographers’ work, and to raise the profile of art photography in the United States.
The journal Aperture, which began publication in 1952, dedicated itself to the practice of photography as a fine art and thus distinguished itself from popular and commercial photographic periodicals. In this way the journal emulated Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work (1903–17). Photographer Minor White was the journal’s first editor and, under his tenure, it became concerned with the capacity of photography to deal with spirituality and profound human experiences. The first issue included the work of Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and French photographer Lisette Model. All contributors were urged to write about their own work. In ...
Mitra Monir Abbaspour
[Fondation Arabe pour l’Image]
Non-profit organization established in 1997 in Beirut, Lebanon, with a mission ‘to collect, preserve, and study photographs from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab diaspora’. Its growing collection contains more than 400,000 photographs that date from the mid-19th century to the present. Today the Arab Image Foundation serves as both a public research archive and a repository for its members’ art and scholarship.
The Arab Image Foundation was co-founded by Lebanese photographers Fouad Elkoury (b 1952) and Samer Mohdad (b 1964), and artist Akram Zaatari (b 1966). Executive Director Zeina Arida (b 1970) has since overseen its administration and fundraising. A group of artists and scholar members, along with Arida, form the Board of Directors, which is responsible for the acquisition of photographs, approval of archival projects, and conceptual direction of the Arab Image Foundation. Members of the foundation, including artists such as ...
(b Tokyo, May 25, 1940).
Japanese photographer. He graduated from the engineering department of Chiba University in 1963 and in the same year received the Taiyō prize for Satchin (Tokyo, 1964), a photographic series whose title was the pet name of a little girl. In 1971 he published the privately printed photographic collection Senchimentaru na tabi (‘Sentimental journey’; Tokyo, 1971) in which his own private life, in particular his wedding and honeymoon, was displayed in diary form. At first glance they seem to be naive records but in fact are staged. He also gave a performance in 1972 called the Super-Photo concert in which these photographs were reproduced on a photocopier, bound and sent, as a collection, by post. He later became very popular through photographs that skilfully anticipated public demand, accompanied by essays written in a risqué style. A prolific worker, he published many collections of essays and photographs, including Otoko to onna no aida ni wa shashinki ga aru...
(b New York, March 14, 1923; d New York, July 26, 1971).
American photographer. Arbus was educated at the Ethical Culture School and Fieldston School until 1940. In 1940 she married Allan Arbus with whom she formed a successful partnership in fashion photography. She studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch c. 1954 and with Lisette Model c. 1955–7. Model encouraged Arbus as an artist and particularly as a maker of powerfully individualistic portraits. In 1963 Arbus visited a nudist camp for the first time. Retired Man and his Wife at Home in a Nudist Camp One Morning, NJ (1963; see Arbus and Israel, 1972, p. 27) juxtaposes the domestic, furnished environment with a middle-aged couple whose only clothing is their footwear, enhancing the overall air of incongruity.
In 1963 and 1966 Arbus received Guggenheim fellowships for a project entitled ‘American Rites, Manners, and Customs’. A group of images from this work was featured in the exhibition of 1967 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, entitled ...
Genre of Photography that encompasses both practical documentation of Architecture and aesthetic expression. The scope of the genre has been broad, including exterior and interior views of élite, industrial, or vernacular buildings, and groups of structures in urban or rural settings. Although the beginnings of architectural photography date back to the origins of photography, the study of its history and a critical discourse are more recent developments. Study and discourse accompanied the emergence of an art market for photographs in the 1970s, the collection of architectural photographs by museums, and the ensuing publication of scholarship that investigated the intellectual significance and cultural contingency of photographers’ points of view when their lenses have focused upon architectural subjects.
(b Caracas, 1952).
Venezuelan photographer. He was self-taught and dedicated himself to photography from 1972, first working for the magazine Escena (1974–6) and then for the Galería de Arte Nacional in Caracas (1976–8). His first exhibition, Acercamiento a Zitman, was held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Sofía Imber, Caracas, in ...
Jason E. Hill
(b Philadelphia, PA, April 21, 1912; d London, Jan 4, 2012).
British photojournalist of American birth. A full member of Magnum from 1957 until her death in 2012, she was, with Inge Morath (1923–2002), one of the first two women to join the agency. Best known for her unique, decade-long photographic relationship with the actress Marilyn Monroe, Arnold produced a major body of photojournalism for such magazines as Life, Picture Post, and Sunday Times Magazine of London on subjects ranging from African American culture and politics in the 1950s and 1960s to rural conditions in China in 1979.
While Arnold was studying photography under Harper’s Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch at New York’s New School for Social Research (beginning in 1948), she produced a portfolio on Harlem’s vibrant culture of fashion shows. Brodovitch was so impressed with the Harlem portfolio that he recommended Arnold to the London illustrated Picture Post, which syndicated the series in 1950, launching her career. Arnold soon after turned her photographic attention to African American migrant workers operating amidst pervasive housing discrimination in Long Island, New York. Throughout her career she was acutely attuned to her subjects’ calculated self-presentation before the camera and marshalled this sensitivity to foster cooperative relations with potentially recalcitrant subjects. One such subject was Marilyn Monroe; the ‘candid’ portraits Arnold made on the set of John Huston’s ...
Julieta Ortiz Gaitán
(b Mexico City, April 25, 1944).
Mexican photographer. She studied art at the Universidad Motolinía and at the Universidad Anáhuac, both in Mexico City, and undertook specialist studies at the Club Fotográfico de México. Ascher’s work showed the influence of such photographers as Yousuf Karsh, Sam Haskins (b 1926) and Richard Avedon, but it was also more generally stimulated by the work of Eugène Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She made frequent trips to New York, where she acquired experience from photographers and artists that not only enriched her own visual concepts but also the technical aspects of her work. Ascher consolidated her position in Mexican photography through her work, particularly in the acute sensitivity of her many portraits of personalities from the artistic and cultural world. Her series of José Luis Cuevas and Juan Rulfo are among her most outstanding works. After several years of work she collected the material that was published as ...
(b Amsterdam, Oct 19, 1809; d Amsterdam, Sept 21, 1894).
Dutch photographer and lawyer . He made the earliest photographs to be found in the Netherlands, daguerreotypes of his daughters and other members of his family. In the 1840s a number of daguerreotypists, mostly foreign, settled in Dutch towns as professional portrait photographers. Asser, however, remained an amateur and experimented with a variety of photographic techniques and genres. He took self-portraits, pictures of his daughters, his son, his wife and of his friend E. Bour, also a photographer, using the calotype process (see Photography, §I). There are also studies of streets, buildings and canals in Amsterdam in his albums (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). In his studio he made photographic still-lifes of vases, small sculptures and of the instruments from his physics cabinet. His compositions reveal a knowledge of the fine arts: in his youth the painter Jan Adam Kruseman had given him drawing and painting lessons.
In 1855, with Bour, Asser entered the first Dutch photographic exhibition, organized by the Vereeniging van Volksvlijt in Amsterdam and The Hague. This exhibition, which introduced photography for the first time to some people, included works by Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri, Charles Nègre, Charles Marville, Bisson frères, Hermann Krone and others. In the same year Asser put himself forward for membership of the Société Française de Photographie. Asser’s work was shown at the ...
Maria Morris Hambourg
(b Libourne, nr Bordeaux, Feb 12, 1857; d Paris, Aug 4, 1927).
French photographer. An only child of working-class parents, he was orphaned at an early age and went to sea. Determined to be an actor, he managed to study at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Paris for a year but was dismissed to finish his military service. Thereafter he acted for several seasons in the provinces but failed to distinguish himself and left the stage. An interest in painting but lack of facility led him to take up photography in the late 1880s. At this time photography was experiencing unprecedented expansion in both commercial and amateur fields. Atget entered the commercial arena. Equipped with a standard box camera on a tripod and 180×240 mm glass negatives, he gradually made some 10,000 photographs of France that describe its cultural legacy and its popular culture. He printed his negatives on ordinary albumen-silver paper and sold his prints to make a living. Despite the prevailing taste for soft-focus, painterly photography from ...
L. J. Schaaf
(b Tonbridge, Kent, March 16, 1799; d Halstead Place, Kent, June 9, 1871).
English photographer and scientist. The only daughter of the scientist John George Children (1777–1852), she was a pioneering photographer and the first person to publish a photographically printed and illustrated book. Her privately published British Algae, issued in parts from 1843 to 1853, pre-dated William Henry Fox Talbot Pencil of Nature (London, 1844) and stood for some time as the only sustained effort to apply photography to scientific illustration. Her plates of seaweed specimens were photograms, contact printed in the cyanotype, or blueprint, photographic process, invented in 1842 by her friend Sir John Herschel. In the early 1850s, collaborating with Anne Dixon (1799–1864), Atkins turned to creative expression with cyanotype photograms (e.g. Spirea aruncus, 1851–4). Her visual approach, initially shaped by the requirements of scientific illustration rather than the conventions of Victorian art, was bold and direct and strongly anticipated the later photograms of ...
Elizabeth Anne McCauley
(b Paris, June 3, 1811; d Paris, March 23, 1877).
French photographer. For more than 30 years Aubry worked as an industrial designer. In January 1864 he formed a Parisian company to manufacture plaster casts and photographs of plants and flowers. Although unsuccessful (he filed for bankruptcy in 1865), he continued to sell photographs to drawing schools throughout the 1870s. His albumen prints are often striking close-ups of natural forms taken with a flat perspective and symmetrical arrangement that was inspired by the lithographic plates traditionally used by industrial design students. The failure of Aubry’s ideas on the use of photographs in the industrial design process can be attributed to both the French government’s reluctance to introduce photography into art schools and the shift in French taste towards more abstract, simplified decorations for manufactured goods. His work is included in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs and Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA....
(b Karlsruhe, May 20, 1906; d New York, July 30, 2004).
American photographer of German birth. She is best known for cutting-edge advertising images made in 1930s Germany as part of the studio pair of Ringl + Pit. She studied sculpture for three years in her hometown of Karlsruhe before moving onto the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart in 1928. While there she abandoned sculpture for photography, and became a student of the successful commercial photographer Walter Peterhans (1897–1960) in 1929, along with another young woman, Grete Stern. After Peterhans was recruited to found the first department of photography at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Rosenberg and Stern took over his studio as Ringl + Pit, a combination of their two childhood nicknames.
Studio Ringl + Pit were at the forefront of an active fusion of Surrealism and Bauhaus-inspired New Vision in the photography worlds in Germany, France, and elsewhere in the late 1920s and early 1930s. From Surrealism they often solicited references to uncanny human stand-ins such as mannequins and dolls; from the New Vision they were inspired by unusual angles, close-ups, and abstractions (see, for example, ...
(b Rose Bank, Staten Island, NY, March 17, 1866; d New York, June 9, 1952).
American photographer. She was introduced to photography by a friend, Oswall Muller, sometime around 1876, and quickly learnt the complexities of working with a variety of cumbersome cameras, dry-plate negatives and contact printing. As an avid amateur photographer, she documented a social history of a bygone era. Her work, dating between the 1880s and 1930s, recorded a charming portrait of the genteel activities of upper middle-class society on Staten Island. Although her photographs primarily documented the everyday life of the wealthy inhabitants and friends of her home, Clear Comfort, which overlooked New York’s Upper Bay, she also produced a challenging series of images of New York’s Lower East Side. These ‘street types’ were published as a portfolio by the Albertype Company in 1896.
Unlike those of Jacob A. Riis and Lewis W. Hine, Austen’s images of immigrants revealed no concern for social reform, but evidenced a hesitancy and curiosity experienced by both photographer and subject. Her life of stability was abruptly ended by the Stock Market Crash of ...
Martha A. Sandweiss
(b New York, May 15, 1923; d San Antonio, TX, Oct 1, 2004).
American photographer . Avedon studied philosophy at Columbia University, New York (1941–2), and from 1942 to 1944 served in the photography department of the US Merchant Marine, taking identity photographs of servicemen. He then studied photography under Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research, New York, from 1944 to 1950; from 1945 to 1965 he worked under Brodovitch and Carmel Snow for Harper’s Bazaar, contributing fashion photographs. As a young boy he had seen various fashion magazines and had been particularly impressed by the photographs of Martin Munkacsi. This influence remained in evidence in his own fashion work for Harper’s Bazaar, because he, too, photographed the models outside and in motion in order to arrive at dramatic, sometimes blurred, images. From 1950 he also contributed photographs to Life, Look and Graphis and in 1952 became Staff Editor and photographer for Theatre Arts. Towards the end of the 1950s he became dissatisfied with daylight photography and open-air locations and so turned to studio photography, using strobe lighting. In ...
(b Bamako, 1959).
Malian photographer. He began his career in 1983 when he began documenting cultural patrimony for the Musée National du Mali, where he was staff photographer. His photographs present both broad and intimate views of life, and he is equally skilled in capturing a place empty of people as he is with close-ups, for example of hands or feet. Suggesting both absence and intimate presence, he evokes a powerful sense of the human condition. His aesthetically stunning works offer views that might otherwise go unnoticed: feet pedaling a bicycle, a faint reflection of a colourful boat on creamy white water. Working in both black and white and colour, he almost never shows the faces of his subjects as he captures them at work or in everyday pursuits, for example in Le bol de lait (1997). He suggests people through their interaction with their surroundings; although they remain anonymous, they have an overpowering presence. Light is important both technically and compositionally: in photographed reflections off the land and buildings, one senses the overpowering Malian sun, and such conditions enable him to create images rich in saturated colours....
(b London, Jan 2, 1938).
English photographer . Self-taught, he began in 1959 as an assistant to the fashion photographer John French (1907–66) in London. From 1960 he worked for the English version of Vogue and as a freelance photographer for the Sunday Times, the Daily Express, Elle, Glamour and other publications; he also directed television commercials and, from 1968 to 1972, television documentary films. His main photographic subjects were portraits, fashion and nudes. His reputation was at its peak in the 1960s, when he and the model Veruschka (Vera Lehndorff) provided the basis for the fictional characters in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up (1966). Bailey’s photographs of this period were published in books such as The Truth about Modelling, Box of Pin-ups and Goodbye Baby and Amen, which also enhanced the myth of swinging London. In 1972 Bailey began publishing the magazine Ritz, in partnership with the photographer Patrick Lichfield (...
(b Warsaw, July 13, 1912; d Moscow, June 11, 1990).
Russian photographer of Polish birth. He studied mathematics at Moscow State University and worked as a mathematician from 1934 to 1938. A self-taught photographer, he worked for newspapers from 1936 and became a professional photojournalist in 1940. Throughout the Russian involvement in World War II, from 1941 to 1945, he worked as a war correspondent for the daily paper Izvestiya and the Army newspaper Na razgrom vraga, producing emotionally powerful photographs showing the hardships that war brings to ordinary people. The series of photographs Grief and Searching for the Dead (both 1942; see Mrázková and Remeš, pp. 61–5) placed him among the best known of war photographers. Taken in Kerch in the Crimea just after the German army had passed through, they portray relatives searching for their dead and crowded around an open mass grave.
The best of Bal’termants’s work remained unpublished for a long time after the war because it shattered the myth of the ‘Great Patriotic War’ as the triumph of superhuman Russian heroism. From ...