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Adventures in Photography Cover

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Adventures in Photography

Expeditions of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

By Alessandro Pezzati

Since 1887 the University Museum has been one of the leading archaeology and anthropology museums in the world and has sponsored field research in every corner of the globe. A key outcome, from its first expedition to Nippur, in modern-day Iraq, through more than 300 expeditions in the past century, to its research in fifteen different countries today, has been a wealth of primary photographs capturing both expeditions and excavations and also images of modern peoples on every inhabited continent of our planet.

These vintage photographs, carefully selected from hundreds of thousands, range from mundane record-keeping pictures to glorious aesthetic treats, and they are in demand by international scholars and students and researchers worldwide. One of the most powerful of media to convey information about—and to advance understanding of—foreign peoples and places is photography. Soldiers, missionaries, merchants, and other travelers carried out early anthropological photography in distant lands. Field photography was extremely difficult when the Museum began its research program in the late 1880s, requiring the transport of a complete dark room and other heavy equipment. The Museum's intrepid adventurers sought scientific accuracy, with no artifice that may have obscured the realism of the image.

An engaging narrative essay highlighting the Museum's fieldwork explains the contexts of the range of photographs from the Museum's Archives and the role of photography in studying human cultures.

Afterimage of Empire Cover

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Afterimage of Empire

Photography in Nineteenth-Century India

Zahid R. Chaudhary

Afterimage of Empire provides a philosophical and historical account of early photography in India that focuses on how aesthetic experiments in colonial photography changed the nature of perception. Considering photographs from the Sepoy Revolt of 1857 along with landscape, portraiture, and famine photography, Zahid R. Chaudhary explores larger issues of truth, memory, and embodiment.

Chaudhary scrutinizes the colonial context to understand the production of sense itself, proposing a new theory of interpreting the historical difference of aesthetic forms. In rereading colonial photographic images, he shows how the histories of colonialism became aesthetically, mimetically, and perceptually generative. He suggests that photography arrived in India not only as a technology of the colonial state but also as an instrument that eventually extended and transformed sight for photographers and the body politic, both British and Indian.

Ultimately, Afterimage of Empire uncovers what the colonial history of the medium of photography can teach us about the making of the modern perceptual apparatus, the transformation of aesthetic experience, and the linkages between perception and meaning.

Archive Style Cover

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Archive Style

Photographs and Illustrations for U.S. Surveys, 1850-1890

Robin Kelsey

This imaginative study of American visual culture reveals how the political predicaments of a few small bureaucracies once fostered pictures of an extraordinary style. U.S. geographical and geological surveys of the late nineteenth century produced photographs and drawings of topography, American Indians, geologic features, botanical specimens, and specialists at work in the field. Some of these pictures have long been celebrated for their anticipation of a modernist aesthetic, but Robin Kelsey, in this abundantly illustrated volume, traces their modernistic qualities to archival ingenuity. The technical and promotional needs of surveys, Kelsey argues, fostered the emergence of a taut, graphic pictorial style that imitated the informational clarity of diagrams and maps. As this book demonstrates, these pictures became sites of struggle as well as innovation when three brilliant survey artists and photographers subtly resisted the programs they were hired to serve. Discovering a politics of style behind the modernist look of survey pictures, Kelsey offers a fresh interpretation of canonical western expedition photographs by Timothy H. O'Sullivan and introduces two exceptional but largely forgotten sets of pictures: views of the U.S.-Mexico boundary from the 1850s by Arthur Schott and photographs of the Charleston earthquake of 1886 by C. C. Jones.

Athens, Still Remains Cover

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Athens, Still Remains

The Photographs of Jean-Franois Bonhomme

Jacques Derrida

Athens, Still Remains is an extended commentary on a series of photographs of contemporary Athens by the French photographer Jean-Franois Bonhomme. But in Derrida's hands commentary always has a way of unfolding or, better, developing in several unexpected and mutually illuminating directions.First published in French and Greek in 1996, Athens, Still Remains is Derrida's most sustained analysis of the photographic medium in relationship to the history of philosophy and his most personal reflection on that medium. At once photographic analysis, philosophical essay, and autobiographical narrative, Athens, Still Remains presents an original theory of photography and throws a fascinating light on Derrida's life and work.The book begins with a sort of verbal snapshot or aphorism that haunts the entire book: we owe ourselves to death.Reading this phrase through Bonhomme's photographs of both the ruins of ancient Athens and contemporary scenes of a still-living Athens that is also on its way to ruin and death, Derrida interrogates a philosophical tradition that runs from Socrates to Heidegger in which the human-and especially the philosopher-is thought to owe himself to death, to a certain thought of death or comportment with regard to death. Combining philosophical speculations on mourning and death, event and repetition, and time and difference with incisive commentary on Bonhomme's photographs and a narrative of Derrida's 1995 trip to Greece, Athens, Still Remains is one of Derrida's most accessible, personal, and moving works without being, for all that, any less philosophical. As Derrida reminds us, the word photography-an eminently Greek word-means the writing of light,and it brings together today into a single frame contemporary questions about the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction and much older questions about the relationship between light, revelation, and truth-in other words, an entire philosophical tradition that first came to light in the shadow of the Acropolis.

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Baja California Missions

In the Footsteps of the Padres

David Burckhalter and Mina Sedgwick

Bathed in desert light and shadow, rising up from the earth in improbable, faraway places, stand eight original Spanish missions on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Built of stone by Roman Catholic priests and indigenous laborers in the eighteenth century, these stunning missions dominate the landscape around them. Baja California Missions: In the Footsteps of the Padres is a beautiful and informative book about the eight monumental Spanish colonial churches, buildings seldom seen by those familiar with the missions of California, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. 

With gorgeous photographs of the architecture and religious art, and supported by a concise history that outlines the peninsula’s exploration and colonization by Roman Catholic priests, Baja California Missions excels as a book of photography and history. It promises adventure for readers at home, as well as for travelers ready to explore the churches in person. 

The eight Spanish colonial stone churches of Baja California endure as the only intact originals of 34 missions built by the padres during the peninsula’s colonization. Due to structural renovations and restorations of the artwork undertaken over the last 30 years, the renowned mission churches have become sources of pride to the citizens of Baja California. Travelers are invited to visit at any time, especially during patron saint day celebrations. 

As a guide, Baja California Missions is fully up to date, with directions for navigating Baja’s paved highways and desert and mountain roads. The mission sites are pinpointed on a topographic roadmap of the peninsula. A church floor plan is provided to accompany a walk-through tour for each church interior. The lovely eighteenth-century oil paintings and wooden statues that grace the church altars are also identified and described.

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Barns of Connecticut

Markham Starr

Featuring more than 100 stunning full-color photographs along with helpful diagrams and historic photos, Barns of Connecticut captures both the iconic and the unique, including historic and noteworthy barns. The book discusses the importance of barns to Connecticut agriculture across our state and up to the present day. Markham Starr's Barns of Connecticut offers a lovely introduction to the architectural, functional, and agricultural roles these structures played in early Connecticut. Through text and color photographs, it tells a story of change and continuity. From the earliest colonial structures to the low steel buildings of modern dairy farms, barns have adapted to meet the needs of each generation; they've stored wheat, hay, and tobacco, and housed farm animals and dairy cows. These enduring structures display the optimism, ingenuity, hard work, and practicality of the people who tend land and livestock throughout the state.

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Beauty and the Beast

Human-Animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905–1935

Arnold Arluke and Robert Bogdan

From fairy tales to photography, nowhere is the complexity of human-animal relationships more apparent than in the creative arts. Art illuminates the nature and significance of animals in modern, Western thought, capturing the complicated union that has long existed between the animal kingdom and us. In Beauty and the Beast, authors Arluke and Bogdan explore this relationship through the unique lens of photo postcards. This visual medium offers an enormous and relatively untapped archive to document their subject compellingly.

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Book of Texas Bays

By Jim Blackburn; Photography by Jim Olive

In a dazzling tribute to the Texas coast, conservationist and lawyer Jim Blackburn has teamed with photographer Jim Olive to give us the most intimate and important portrait yet of Texas bays and of those who work for their wise use and preservation. While giving life and sustenance to plants, animals, and people, the bays and estuaries of Texas have other stories to tell—about freshwater inflows, deep port construction, disappearing oyster beds, beach resorts, industrial pollution, and more. At a certain point, each story brings opposing forces into the courtroom for vigorous debates on the future of some of our most valuable and irreplaceable resources. The Book of Texas Bays is a personal account of legal battles won and lost, but it is also a fine work of natural history by someone who has a deep spiritual connection to the Texas coast and all it has to offer. Jim Olive’s stunning photographs present us with a dramatic perspective of our relationship with the Gulf and remind us of both the grandness and the fragility of our coastal treasures.

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Brown County Mornings

Foreword by James P. Eagleman. Gary Moore

Rolling hills, rich forests, and beautiful vistas have made Brown County, Indiana, a favorite haunt of painters and ordinary tourists. In this gorgeous collection, landscape photographer Gary Moore reveals the spirit of the place in the morning hours as it awakens to the new day. Complementing Moore’s wonderful photographs is a text by James P. Eagleman, one of the area’s lifelong naturalists, which showcases the county’s unique flora and fauna. Included with more than 100 color landscape photographs are Moore’s tips on composition, atmosphere, and lighting, encouraging readers to test their creativity with whatever equipment they possess. A book to treasure, Brown County Mornings beckons visitors to enjoy this magical place at any time of day or year.

Cañar Cover

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Cañar

A Year in the Highlands of Ecuador

By Judy Blankenship

Once isolated from the modern world in the heights of the Andean mountains, the indigenous communities of Ecuador now send migrants to New York City as readily as they celebrate festivals whose roots reach back to the pre-Columbian past. Fascinated by this blending of old and new and eager to make a record of traditional customs and rituals before they disappear entirely, photographer-journalist Judy Blankenship spent several years in Cañar, Ecuador, photographing the local people in their daily lives and conducting photography workshops to enable them to preserve their own visions of their culture. In this engaging book, Blankenship combines her sensitively observed photographs with an inviting text to tell the story of the most recent year she and her husband Michael spent living and working among the people of Cañar. Very much a personal account of a community undergoing change, Cañar documents such activities as plantings and harvests, religious processions, a traditional wedding, healing ceremonies, a death and funeral, and a home birth with a native midwife. Along the way, Blankenship describes how she and Michael went from being outsiders only warily accepted in the community to becoming neighbors and even godparents to some of the local children. She also explains how outside forces, from Ecuador’s failing economy to globalization, are disrupting the traditional lifeways of the Cañari as economic migration virtually empties highland communities of young people. Blankenship’s words and photographs create a moving, intimate portrait of a people trying to balance the demands of the twenty-first century with the traditions that have formed their identity for centuries.

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