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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

a very interesting science: Visual Anthropology

I cant believe i've never heard of this before.. but i just came accross the term "Visual Anthropology" when I found this book online, which seems like it could be a fascinating resource and, if it isnt a total bore and full of useless facts and lists and dates, may really broaden my view of VISUAL documentation of Indian Culture, beyond the highly fantastic and stylized "Bollywood" as it is referred to.... First thing i need to do is find myself a copy of this book.

India has a LONG tradition of painting for purposes of story telling-- and photography has probably been present in India since the invention of the camera...

my collection of postcards from the turn of the century , containing rare images in sepia tone from Thailand, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, Trinidad, Jamaica, India, and Africa, was, i guess, my first foray into the world of "Visual Anthropology" ... but i think ive been exploring this field for basically as long as i can remember... studying my own ancestors, and then launching from there into the rest of the world, through images.. which, like music, can transport you to places you might have never dreamed of... and in the case of images from days past... places no one will ever visit again....

suddenly, a more contemporary manifestation of this term comes to mind.... YOUTUBE.... which has opened up a vast new frontier in this science of visual anthropology.... because we are documenting our lives, our culture, everything, so much more often--- and storing it there... on Youtube.. in fact, the whole world is doing this...

also now, for some reason, im remembering a photography exhibit i saw at the VA Museum of Fine Arts years ago before they renovated.. I am pretty sure it was a collection of photographs from India.. i remember some of them being really beautiful... wonder if i can figure out what that exhibit was called.. maybe theres a catalogue somewhere..

oh, and speaking of "Visual Anthropology" -- here's an old school film about Maharashtra - i edited the really bad stereotypical commentary out and added music from an old library record called "Folk Music of Maharashtra"
(quality will improve soon-- just uploaded)
part 1

part 2


At 4:04 PM, Blogger Sara said...

Wow, Carl... this is really interesting. Let me know about this book once you find it!


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