Any regular reader of Camera knows that our magazine lays no claim to authority on any given subject. What it does offer, at the very least, is a rewarding approach to a particular photographic genre or specialty, primarily through the experience of the artists concerned.
For this issue on the relationships between photography and ethnology, we have given equal space to photographers and scientists—who are sometimes the same people. This bivalent approach reveals the interaction between the two disciplines and investigates the part they play in our relationship with the world.
This is a significant matter if we accept that the business of getting to know others better also leads to better self-knowledge. Thus do otherness and identity become the obverse and the reverse of our societies.
Yet again the darkest recesses of history enlighten us as to the consequences of misguided or fudged accounts of what we have learned about “distant” peoples.
Our subjects here: exoticism, the colonial imagination, condescension, the pointless quest for objectivity, acknowledgement of subjectivity, appropriation, and artistic transgression—the latter a term deeply expressive of the controversial and political aspects of ethnological visualization.
There remains the hardest part: setting out poor and manifestly naked in our encounter with the Other, in order to return enriched.
Bruno B. Duval
Bruno B. Duval is the publisher of the review Camera.
Camera issue number 15 is available for purchase for 20€.