Visual Anthropology

At the seminar ”Camera as Cultural Critique”, Professor Peter Ian Crawford from the Eye and Mind MA programme at Aarhus University, states that the term Visual Anthropology makes no sense. Granted the term anthropology is often confused with and substituted for the term ethnography. The former being the analytical treatment of the later and in the positivist tradition photography is instrumental in gathering ethnographic data rather than providing analytical insights.

Some photographs however transmit states of being beyond the grasp and realm of verbal language and mental reflection. Bodily and sensory experience you wouldn’t have had as a fieldworker without the camera leading you into uncharted territory. The work of Esaias Baitel compiled in his book Zonen is an example of such. The project transforms the artist during the proces of creation. And the photographs hold such power over this reader that new analytical insights are being formed. I would argue that this is a Visual Anthropology – where the usual dichotomy between the seen and the written, between action and thought has been suspended.

Andrew Irving, Professor and Head of Department of Visual Anthropology at Manchester University, told me our focus is to create new knowledge about all aspects of being human. I recognize my lifelong motivation in this definition. My aim is to pursue photography that expands our knowledge of being human. I argue the viability of Image-Knowledge.