Monday, April 02, 2007

African Photography Postcards

One of the things I learned more about at the ACASA African Art Symposium that I recently attended was African Photography postcards.

There were a couple of presentations on this and one photographer in particular that was mentioned was a guy named Fortier. The photo above is credited to him and I pulled it from a UNESCO site.

I had previously been introduced to these by the work of Houria Niati who incorporated them into her work entitled "Bringing Water from the Fountain Has Nothing Romantic About It" where she critiques and confronts the male French exploitation of Algerian women in postcards.

These postcards from the late 19th century through the first part of the 20th century could be compared to our contemporary media. They were responsible for how Africa was viewed by Westerners just as the media (TV, news magazines, newspapers, etc) are today. What people saw in those photographs and read in the captions affected what they thought about Africa and her people.

So, I'm going to attempt to start a little collection. I like to go antiquing, but I've never paid much attention to the postcards.

Determined to start seeking them out, I made my first attempt last weekend. However, while I found a lot of really interesting postcards, I didn't find any African ones. I'll just have to be persistent and patient, I guess.

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