Photographing The Other
J.E. Whitney Studio, MA-ZA-OO-NIE
(The Little Bird Hunter), 1862. Carte-de-Visite











At a time when people were beginning to feel the alienating effects of modern urban living, the hand-held camera gave the individual a means of expression and a voice

Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Bois De Boulogne, c. 1890.











snapshot = to shoot instinctively without taking aim


Photo-Revolver de Poche c. 1882.











Snapshot introduced new ways of seeing:

Informal framing
Unbalanced compositions
Skewed angles
Strange perspectives
Banal subjects
Out-of-focus objects
Unknown Photographer, Two Young Girls, c. 1890.










Jacques-Henri Lartigue
1894 - 1988


Jacques-Henri Lartigue, My Hydro-glider with Propeller, 1904.











Jacques-Henri Lartigue, My Cousin Bichonnade, 1905.











Delaye Grand Prix

Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Delaye Grand Prix, 1912.


Lartigue's photo "...was taken with an ICA camera in 1912 on a 4x5 inch glass plate with an f4.5 lens, fast for those days." "The effect came about because Jacques Henri used a large camera which he panned to follow the car (but not quite fast enough) and he used a focal plane shutter of which the slit moved from top to bottom. In this way we see different moments in time projected on different parts of the film. In the image the slit of the focal plane shutter moved upward because of the bottom-up projection of the lens." - Large Format Photography Forum











Jacques-Henri Lartigue, The ZYX 24 Takes Off, 1910.











The Scientific Portrait

Phrenological Head

Phrenology = the study of the shape and physical features of the skull and head that is based on the belief that these features can determine character and personality traits
Physiognomy = the study of facial characterisitcs based on the belief that these features can determine character and personality traits
Buchanan's Organology
Spurzheim’s Phrenological Head from Phrenology or the Doctrine of Mental Phenomenon, 1832.











Positivism = popular philosophical approach during 19th century that proposed that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge and that all things are ultimately measurable
Positivism supported the 19th century belief in photographic objectivity
Charcot demonstrating his patient's hysteria











Ways in which photography met
19th century science's needs:

  • Used to document and preserve visual data
  • Used for identification purposes
  • Assumed to be "truthful,"
    used as evidence of the "real"
"Only photography, as truthful as a mirror, could attain such desirable perfection." - Duchenne de Boulogne
Duchenne de Boulogne, Study of muscles in the face and emotion, Fright. 1852 - 1856.











Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond, Patient, 1855.
Hugh Welch Diamond, Seated Woman with Bird,
c. 1855.  Albumen print.
transparency = a direct translation of reality in which subjects are not suggested, as in the calotype and daguerreotype, but are clearly stated and defined without overt intervention
"The picture speaks for itself."  Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond











Diamond believed that photographs could be useful aides in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness
  • Sought the physical symptoms of madness
  • The project expresses a belief in "normal" vs. "abnormal" character
Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond, Asylum Patient, 1855.











hysteria = a nervous affection, occurring almost exclusively in women, in which the emotional and reflex excitability is exaggerated, and the will power correspondingly diminished, so that the patient loses control over the emotions, becomes the victim of imaginary sensations, and often falls into paroxism or fits.
Charcot used hypnosis to induce hysterical state in patients believing that hysteria was a neurological disorder
Charcot Hysteric
Made weekly public presentations of his patients who would act out the symptoms of mental illness
"I stand here merely as a photographer, I write down what I see."  - Charcot
Photographer Unknown. Attitudes Passionelles plate 21 from Charcot’s P’lconographie photographique de La Salpetriere, 1876.











Albert Londe, Hysterical Yawning as shown in Jean-Martin Charcot’s
Nouvelle Iconographie de la Salpêtrière c.1890.










Photographer Unknown, Hysteria Induced Epilepsy from photographique de La Salpetriere, 1876.


more on Charcot











The Other = refers to that which is 'other' than the concept being considered. The term often means a person other than oneself, and is often capitalised. The Other is singled out as different.


J.E. Whitney Studio, Cut Nose, 1862. Carte-de-visite.


caption: Cut Nose: Who in the Massacre of 1862, in Minnesota, murdered 18 Women and Children and 5 Men.












J.T. Zealy, Jack (driver), Guinea, 1850.  Daguerreotype.
J.T. Zealy, Renty, African born slave, 1850.  Daguerreotype.


Harvard zoologist, Louis Agassiz intendedthese photographs to be read as scientific evidence for polygenesis, the idea that human races had separate origins and were thus inescapably and irrevocably different.
theory of special creation = belief that races were created at different times and in different parts of the world












J.T. Zealy, Delia, American born, daughter of Renty, Congo, 1850.  Daguerreotype.











Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995.


Weems From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried






















Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman a.k.a. The Hottentot Venus, early 19th century, Carte-de-Visite.
Nicki Minaj, Anaconda, 2014











Nadar, Maria, 1856 - 1859.











McPherson and Oliver (attributed),
The Scourged Back, 1863, carte-de-visite

Sojourner Truth, I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance, 1864, carte-de-visite











Violent Criminals Composite
Criminal Profile, 1914
Francis Galton, Violent Criminals Compositie, 1885.











"For nineteenth-century positivists, photography doubly fulfilled the Enlightenment dream of a universal language: the universal mimetic language of the camera yielded up a much higher, cerebral truth, a truth that could be uttered in the universal abstract language of mathematics. For this reason...Photography promised more than a wealth of detail; it promised to reduce nature to its geometrical essence. Presumably then, the archive could provide a standard physiognomic guage of the criminal, could assign each criminal body a relative and quantitative position within a larger ensemble." - Allan Sekula in The Body and the Archive

20th Century California Inmantes











Alphonse Bertillon, From Indentification Anthropometrique, 1893.











Henry Pickering Bowditch, Twelve Boston Physicians and Their Composite Portrait,  c. 1894.
Henry Pickering Bowditch, Saxon Soldiers, 1894.
Displayed during the First International Eugenics Congress











The Jewish Type

Francis Galton, The Jewish Type, 1883.











The New Face of America

Time Magazine, The New Face of America cover, Fall 1993 special issue.











Ethnographic Studies

ethnogoraphy = descriptive anthropology


Malayan Male
John Lamprey, Front and Profile Views of a Malayan Male, c. 1868 – 1869.











"We are confronting, then, a double system: a system of representation capable of functioning both honorifically and repressively." - Allan Sekula
Gray Brothers, Young Zulu Warrior in fighting order and in skin kaross armed with hatchet and assegai, c. 1870s.
Zulu Mothers, late nineteenth century.











Couple from New Caldonia, 19th century
Photographer Unknown, Brinjara and Wife from The People of India, 1868.











"Not only was photography to serve as a means of cultural enlightenment for the working classes, but family photographs sustained sentimental ties in a nation of migrants. This 'primal household affection' served a socially cohesive function, [Marcus Aurelius] Root argued - articulating a nineteenth-century familialism that would survive and become an essential ideological feature of American mass culture." - Allan Sekula
Chinese Family, c. 1880s.










Do we still use images to perpetuate archaic ideas about race?
Trayvon Martin, 2013
Michael Brown