Early in its history, anthropology was a visual as well as
verbal discipline. But as time passed, visually oriented
professionals became a minority among their colleagues, and most
anthropologists used written words rather than audiovisual modes as
their professional means of communication. Today, however,
contemporary electronic and interactive media once more place
visual anthropologists and anthropologically oriented artists
within the mainstream. Digital media, small-sized and easy-to-use
equipment, and the Internet, with its interactive and public forum
websites, democratize roles once relegated to highly trained
professionals alone. However, having access to a good set of tools
does not guarantee accurate and reliable work. Visual anthropology
involves much more than media alone.
This book presents visual anthropology as a work-in-progress,
open to the myriad innovations that the new audiovisual
communications technologies bring to the field. It is intended to
aid in contextualizing, explaining, and humanizing the storehouse
of visual knowledge that university students and general readers
now encounter, and to help inform them about how these new media
tools can be used for intellectually and socially beneficial
Concentrating on documentary photography and ethnographic film,
as well as lesser-known areas of study and presentation including
dance, painting, architecture, archaeology, and primate research,
the book's fifteen contributors feature populations living on all
of the world's continents as well as within the United States. The
final chapter gives readers practical advice about how to use the
most current digital and interactive technologies to present
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