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’s collection of early photographs of Japan, David Odo, author of The Journey of “A Good Type”: From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs (Peabody Museum Press, 2015), will discuss this complicated terrain. The collection—comprised of highly aesthetic photos colored by hand in the nineteenth century—is a fascinating example of how “art” and “science” can intersect in a museum.
Presented in collaboration with the Harvard University Asia Center and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University