From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs


Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 12:00pm


Center for Japanese Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Abstract: When is a photograph a souvenir? A work of art? Anthropological data? How can tourist photographs, produced to appeal to foreign visitors of “exotic” lands, become scientific data? Based on his studies of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology’s collection of early photographs of Japan at Harvard University, David Odo, author of The Journey of “A Good Type”: From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs, will discuss this complicated terrain. The collection—comprised of highly aesthetic photographs expensively printed and painstakingly colored by hand in the 19th century—constitutes a fascinating example of how “art” and “science” can intersect in a museum.