EVENT & EXHIBITION: “Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive”
How does the West view Africa? Their images over time have been closely tied to the development of photography. An exhibition in Germany now explores how external ideas about Africa have been shaped by photographs.
The show examines the different ways in which people in southern and eastern Africa have been portrayed in photographic images from the invention of photography in the 19th century colonial period through to the beginning of apartheid in South Africa.
The invention of photography coincided with the acceleration of colonialism in the 19th century and the new academic disciplines of anthropology and ethnology. From the 1860s, the camera came to be used as a device to gather information, record societies, and classify individuals within the colonial context.
"Distance and Desire" shows how this culminated in the development of an anthropological and ethnographical mode of looking at Africans which was pictorially constructed according to certain conventions.