Gradhiva N 27 Sur le vifMuseum
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
The history of anthropology and photography have been closely linked since their almost simultaneous appearance in the nineteenth century. But it is important to note the relative lack of work on the practices, uses and more generally the history of the "images" of anthropology in the inter-war period, during which the institutionalization of the discipline goes along with the rise of photographic modernity. Now, the archives of ethnologists show today the importance of photographic practice in the field, the appearance of light devices like the Leica and the kind of photojournalism, having influenced and seduced them. Their notebooks of the time often contain many photographs, museum collections are formed and various visual distribution networks go beyond the strictly scientific framework. On the other hand, the reuse of still-current photography of physical "types" illustrates the tension between the permanence of visual patterns inherited from nineteenth-century physical anthropology and the desire of modern science to question the existence of races.
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