Re: Reading pictures??

Adrian Tanner (atanner@MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA)
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 15:25:43 -0230

At 03:38 PM 10/4/96 GMT, Robert Long wrote:
>A few years ago I read a first-hand or possibly anecdotal account of a
>photographer who went into a culture totally innocent of photographs
>or, evidently, other western-style graphics. I believe the culture
>was in Africa. The photographer proceded to make friends among the
>inhabitants and to photograph them. When he showed them the prints,
>it was obvious that they had no idea what to do with them.
>Through a process of demonstrating to the inhabitants that shapes
>occurring in the real world were repeated in the photographs, the
>photographer was able to teach the inhabitants to read the
>photographs, to recognize each other, and ultimately to see--for the
>first time--images of themselves.
>This account turns out to be quite important for a book I'm working on
>in the field of imaging, but I'm darned if I can find the reference.
>I've scoured the likely works of C.G. Jung, Edwin Land, and Beaumont
>Newhall that I might have been reading at the appropriate time without
>finding the passage. I'm told that it is taught in a course at NYU,
>but I don't even know what department it might have been included in
>(Art? Sociology? Ethnology? Anthropology? Philosophy? even
>Comparative Religion is not impossible).
>Sound familiar to anyone? If so, I'd really appreciate any clues that
>can be offered--here, or by e-mail to
>Bob Long

Try "Oh What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me" by Edmund Carpenter. It is a
collection of various bits of McLuanesque anthropology. It may not be the
book you mean, but it sounds as if it has some overlap, at least.

Adrian Tanner
Memorial University of Newfoundland