The African Photographic Archive Research and Curatorial Strategies

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-03-24
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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African photography has emerged as a significant focus of research and scholarship over the last twenty years, the result of a growing interest in postcolonial societies and cultures and a turn towards visual evidence across the humanities and social sciences. At the same time, many rich and fascinating photographic collections have come to light.

This volume explores the complex theoretical and practical issues involved in the study of African photographic archives, based on case studies drawn from across the continent dating from the 19th century to the present day. Chapters consider what constitutes an archive, from the familiar mission and state archives to more local, vernacular and personal accumulations of photographs; the importance of a critical and reflexive engagement with photographic collections; and the question of where and what is 'Africa', as constructed in the photographic archive.

Essential reading for all researchers working with photographic archives, this book consolidates current thinking on the topic and sets the agenda for future research in this field.

Author Biography

Christopher Morton is Curator of Photograph and Manuscript Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK and Lecturer in Visual and Material Anthropology at the University of Oxford, UK.

Darren Newbury is Professor of Photographic History and Director of Postgraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton, UK.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Contributors

1. Introduction: Relocating the African Photographic Archive, Christopher Morton and Darren Newbury

Part I: Connected Histories
2. Richard Buchta and the Visual Representation of Equatoria in the Later 19th Century, Christopher Morton, University of Oxford, UK
3. The Missionary, the Diviner and the Chief: Distributed Personhood and the Photographic Archive of the Mariannhill Mission, Christoph Rippe, University of Leiden, the Netherlands

Part II: Ethnographies
4. Redeeming Some Cameroonian Photographs: Reflections on Photographs and Representations, David Zeitlyn, University of Oxford, UK
5. 'Celebrating Life': The Construction of Photographic Biographies in Funeral Rites Among Kenyan Christians, Heike Behrend, University of Cologne, Germany
6. The Chairman's Photographs:The Politics of an Archive in Southwestern Uganda, Richard Vokes, University of Adelaide, Australia

Part III: Political Framings
7. Vernacular Recollections and Popular Photography in South Africa, John Peffer, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA
8. Searching for the 'Source Community': The Ronald Ngilima Photographic Archive and the Politics of Local History in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Sophie Feyder, University of Leiden, the Netherlands
9. Going and Coming Back: Curating the Post-Apartheid Archive, Darren Newbury, University of Brighton, UK
10. Okombone: Compound Portraits and Photographic Archives in Namibia, Patricia Hayes, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Part IV: Archival Propositions
11. Versions of Fragmented History and (Auto)biography: On and From the Kaddu Wasswa Archive, Andrea Stultiens, independent artist from the Netherlands
12. Vital Signs: 21st-Century Institutions for Photography in Africa, Erin Haney, George Washington University, USA and Jennifer Bajorek, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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