This session explores Indigenous perspectives on historical anthropological photography and the rich and vital meanings photos have today for Aboriginal descendants.
This session explores Indigenous perspectives on historical anthropological photography and the rich and vital meanings photos have today for Aboriginal descendants. While many accounts of colonial photography have emphasised the medium's controlling and destructive effects upon its Indigenous subjects, there is also considerable evidence for its deployment by and for Aboriginal people themselves. As a medium of exchange, photographs of Aboriginal people have served vastly different purposes within Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, from embodiments of kin and ancestral powers, to visual data that actively created scientific knowledge. This session addresses the momentous intersection of new digital technologies and Aboriginal traditions surrounding visual imagery. It explores the global circulation of photographs of Aboriginal people that began in the 1840s, and their central role within the emergence of modern views regarding race and history. It investigates the current significance of colonial photography to Indigenous communities as an important Indigenous heritage resource.