Accepted Paper:

Finding family in the black and white landscape prints of Timothy Asch  


Gary Seaman (University of Southern California)

Paper short abstract:

Before commencing his career in ethnographic film, Timothy Asch apprenticed with, among others, Edward Weston and trained to become a classic black and white landscape photographer a la Life Magazine.

Paper long abstract:

In the summer of 1952, Tim made a trip to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where he was taken in as a guest/farm hand for a few weeks by the MacDonald family near Mabou Mines. Inspired by the rural sociologist John Collier’s project of documenting community life, he decided to photograph people as well as landscapes, so he took black and white photographs of his host family and life on their farmstead as well as the seascapes that he had earlier trained to produce. Our presentation will include an interactive version of a short b/w film made by Asch on a return visit in 1960 entitled One Day of Many. The film will be linked to still photos by Asch in 1950, to contextualizing narrative and additional family photographs by Michael MacDonald.

Panel P15
Afterimages: Putting ethnography into the family album