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George W. Gardner - Indian Girl and Brother, San Christobal, Las Casas, Chiapos, Mexico
George W. Gardner
Indian Girl and Brother, San Christobal, Las Casas, Chiapos, Mexico
$1,500
Judy Gelles - To Improve, St. Lucia, Public School
Judy Gelles
To Improve, St. Lucia, Public School
$1,500
F. Bedrich Grünzweig - Beggar outside a Cathedral, Mexico City
F. Bedrich Grünzweig
Beggar outside a Cathedral, Mexico City
$2,000
F. Bedrich Grünzweig - School, Guenavaca, Mexico
F. Bedrich Grünzweig
School, Guenavaca, Mexico
$650
Jiri Hampl - Gypsy Children
Jiri Hampl
Gypsy Children
$1,500
Fritz Henle - Fruit Vendor, St. Croix Carnival
Fritz Henle
Fruit Vendor, St. Croix Carnival
$650
Fritz Henle - Precarious Bridge in the Wild Korean Mountains
Fritz Henle
Precarious Bridge in the Wild Korean Mountains
$650
Owen Jones - Vincente, Age 76, Peru
Owen Jones
Vincente, Age 76, Peru
$1,000
Karol Charles Kallay - Japanese Sumo Wrestlers
Karol Charles Kallay
Japanese Sumo Wrestlers
$900
Andre Kertesz - Circus, Budapest
Andre Kertesz
Circus, Budapest
$17,500
Andre Kertesz - Gypsy Children Fighting
Andre Kertesz
Gypsy Children Fighting
$10,000
André Kertész - Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem
André Kertész
Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem
$35,000
By Alex Novak

Samer Mohdad--The Empty Quarter, Bedouin Tribe at Charourah, Saudi Arabia

While ethnographic photography is strictly speaking, photography used for scientific/anthropological purposes to identify characteristics of native types (often indigenous), it has taken on much broader meaning over the years. Today's collector of ethnographic photography simply looks for images of people native to the region dressed in the typical attire of that area. Some collect such images from particular geographic areas, such as Africa, India, China or Japan. Others collect the broader genre of ethnographic photography, preferring to focus on the images themselves. Some collect for special insight into the daily life of these subjects and cultures.

The beauty of some of the native costumes and jewelry, added to unusual tattoos, scarring and other body art offer intriguing and sometimes even horrifying views into the daily life of such societies.

Like Edward Curtis with the American Indian, many of the 19th-century and early 20th-century photographers offered a more biased view of their subjects--some glorifying them and others denigrating them. Photographers later came to offer more realistic portraits of their subject, especially as the world shrank and comparative images could be placed against more stilted photographs.

Some photographs are simple and straightforward, others more elaborate. Each has its own appeal. Portraits which focus just on the subject can be a learning experience, but placing people in context also can be helpful to understand their culture and ways. The advent of photojournalism, beginning in the 1930s, sparked a somewhat more realistic viewpoint.

Many famous names have photographed along these lines, including Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Eduoard Boubat, Pierre Verger (who first photographed Africa and then Central and South America), Therese Le Prat, Laure Albin-Guillot, Eugene Harris, Fritz Henle and many others.

One might say that such photography culminated in the Edward Steichen exhibition, "The Family of Man", where some of these images found a broader audience. There the stress was not placed on our cultural differences, but on our universal human sameness.

20th-Century Ethnographic Photography
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.

258 Inverness Circle
Chalfont, Pennsylvania   18914   USA

Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith

Email info@vintageworks.net

Phone +1-215-518-6962

Call for an Appointment

 

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