Photography’s Other Histories
Christopher Pinney, Nicolas Peterson
Duke University Press, Apr 3, 2003 - Photography - 295 pages
Moving the critical debate about photography away from its current Euro-American center of gravity, Photography’s Other Histories breaks with the notion that photographic history is best seen as the explosion of a Western technology advanced by the work of singular individuals. This collection presents a radically different account, describing photography as a globally disseminated and locally appropriated medium. Essays firmly grounded in photographic practice—in the actual making of pictures—suggest the extraordinary diversity of nonwestern photography.
Richly illustrated with over 100 images, Photography’s Other Histories explores from a variety of regional, cultural, and historical perspectives the role of photography in raising historical consciousness. It includes two first-person pieces by indigenous Australians and one by a Seminole/Muskogee/Dine' artist. Some of the essays analyze representations of colonial subjects—from the limited ways Westerners have depicted Navajos to Japanese photos recording the occupation of Manchuria to the changing "contract" between Aboriginal subjects and photographers. Other essays highlight the visionary quality of much popular photography. Case studies centered in early-twentieth-century Peru and contemporary India, Kenya, and Nigeria chronicle the diverse practices that have flourished in postcolonial societies. Photography’s Other Histories recasts popular photography around the world, as not simply reproducing culture but creating it.