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Anthropology and Colonialism in African Photography

  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2011 11:08 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51 
  • Words: 574
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When studying anthropology and colonialism, Africa and African photography are some of the best topics someone could study. It shows how much the view of a culture can get skewed and stereotyped. Photography and colonialism have been the major reasons why people see Africa how they do today. In the grand scheme of things, it is happened in an extremely short period of time, but this view will probably be permanent.
African photography shows both realities and what someone else wanted to see, even though the line between them when studying can be very blurry. A photograph in which one does not know all, or any of the facts, can be frustrating, but can also be useful. It can cause someone to think beyond what is there visually, and ponder on what in history created this photo. Even the 3 different ways of looking at photos, mentioned by Elizabeth Edwards, can be intertwined in almost every instance. (Edwards, 6) There are so many cases of a photo that looks to many people "authentically African". However, a great percentage of these photos were manipulated in some way. People were put in clothing or asked to do things they wouldn't normally do. Because of this, most of the world's view on Africa is influenced by these photos. It is interesting to wonder how differently we would view Africa if only raw, candid photos were taken of people in the area. A huge influence photos had was putting all of the human race into "types". (Edwards, 7) Different appearances came to mean different things. People were split up based on race, area, religion, culture, and many more stereotypes. This allows people to generalize and see past many small differences and information that they don't already think they know.
A very important topic when it comes to African colonialism and anthropology, and one I found very interesting, is postcards. It had such a massive influence on the view of African society, I didn't think it could go unmentioned. They were very dependent on...


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