n De Arte - An eloquent picture gallery : the South African portrait photographs of Gustav Theodor Fritsch, 1863-1865, Keith Dietrich and Andrew Bank (Eds.) : book reviews

Volume 2009, Issue 80
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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Keith Dietrich and Andrew Bank's edited volume of essays on the anthropologist and photographer, Gustav Theodor Fritsch, has the knock-on effect of recovering and reconfiguring South Africa's fraught racial history. It does so by focusing on a rare archive of photographs taken by Frisch in the 1850s and 1860s - a time when the collusion of anthropology and photography was at its height, and the photographic record perceived as an objective account of those who existed beyond the pale of European supremacy and exceptionalism. That the photographic account would fall from grace in 1880, with its account perceived as scientifically illegitimate, reaffirms all the more the unique, indeed, the untimely moment which, in retrospect, comes to distinguish Gustav Fritsch's endeavour.

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