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Group Description

We request that its photos have relevance or linking with anthropology:
Visual Anthropology
Social and Cultura Anthropology

Grupo de interesse voltado para pesquisadores e interessados na Antropologia visual com área de concentração da Antropologia e Etnografia.

Que as photos sejam produtos de pesquisas ligadas a antropologia visual.

Visual anthropology is a subfield of sociocultural anthropology that developed out of the theory and practice of ethnographic photography, film and since the mid-1990s, new media. It also encompasses the anthropological study of representation, including areas such as performance, museums, art, and the production and reception of mass media.

Visual anthropology (and ethnographic films and photos made by anthropologists) have also influenced films in popular culture: Brazil.

The origins of visual anthropology are located in the invention and application of photographic technologies to the study of human culture and diversity (Ruby 1996). Some of the earliest photography and filmmaking was trained on traditional anthropological informants. Anthropologists and non-anthropologists conducted much of this work in the spirit of salvage ethnography or attempts to record for posterity the ways-of-life of societies assumed doomed to extinction (see, for instance, the Native American photography of Edward Curtis).

The history of anthropological filmmaking is intertwined with that of non-fiction and documentary filmmaking. According to film historian Erik Barnouw (1993), some of the first motion pictures of the ethnographic other were made with Lumière equipment (Promenades des Éléphants à Phnom Penh, 1901). Robert Flaherty, probably best known for his films chronicling the lives of Arctic peoples (Nanook of the North, 1922), became a filmmaker in 1913 when his supervisor suggested that he take a camera and equipment with him on an expedition north. Flaherty focused on “traditional” Eskimo ways of life, omitting to that end any signs of modernity among his film subjects (even to the point of refusing to use a rifle to help kill a walrus his informants had harpooned as he filmed them, according to Barnouw; this scene made it into Nanook where it served as evidence of their "pristine" culture). This pattern would persist in many ethnographic films to follow (see as an example Robert Gardner's Dead Birds).

By the 1940s, anthropologists such as Hortense Powdermaker (Hollywood, the Dream Factory, 1950), Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead (Trance and Dance in Bali, 1952) were bringing anthropological perspectives to bear on mass media and visual representation. The work of Bateson and Mead as well as that of anthropologically-minded filmmakers such as Tim Asch, Robert Gardner and John Marshall led to the realization there existed a need to systematically study, understand and produce ethnographic films in a scholarly manner. Visual anthropology first found purchase in an academic setting in 1958 with the creation of the Film Study Center at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography (Ruby 2001).

At present, the Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) represents the subfield in the United States as a section of the American Anthropological Association.

Additional Info

  • Members can post 5 things to the pool each day.
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Art, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
Groups Beta