Blog - Links to other blogs: January 2005 Archives

Although we often think of skyscrapers, financial markets, and banned chewing gum when we think of Singapore, Peter Chou has a very nice photoblog of rural Singapore:

It reminds me very much of the photos of rural Malaysia that I took millions of years ago:

Update 2005.01.31: Peter wrote to me telling me of a new project he's currently engaged in. It sounds fantastic. Check his site for updates.

I received a very nice letter from Valentin Sama, who teaches photography at Madrid University who is also the technical editor of FV Magazine. We share many interests. If you can read spanish or want to know what's happening in the continental photography scene, follow these links:

There's a new meta-blog website specifically for photoblogs. It's called (not surprisingly)

Some of the blogs listed are quite good. Browsing through, these were favorites:

They also have a wiki on photography/photoblography related subjects:

Mark Hancock, a professional photojournalist, has a nice blog discussing the various aspects of his profession:

Blog: Japan Window

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This is a cute photo diary / blog of a foreigner married to a Japanese woman, trying to make sense of Japan through the lens of his camera:

He has an extraordinary collection of links to other blogs (photographic and Japan-related) in the sidebar. Worth a few hours of browsing. My favorite from his list of links (I haven't gotten through them all yet) is:

Every cultural and visual anthropologist should listen to This American Life on WBEZ/Public Radio. They have almost every episode available as a free download on Real Audio. I've been downloading them to my iPod using AudioHijack Pro and listening to the train during my commutes in Japan. Simply wonderful.

Ira Glass opens up an entirely new field of what I would call audio ethnography. Anthropologists regularly use tape recorders in the field for data collection. Anthropologists interested in folk studies and other ethnologists also use tape recorders to study ritual interaction and mythmaking. But Ira Glass goes one step further, using the tape recorder to present us with diverse and profound aspects of contemporary American culture.

Some linguistic and cultural anthropologists come close to this aspect of thick audio description, although the rules of academia limit their publications to the printed word. If you have some time, read some of Abu Lughod's work on Bedouin love poetry or Geneva Smitherman's books on African-American Vernacular English. Both women share a love for the individuality, vitality, and language of the people they talk to.

I'd love to see what the Society for Visual Anthropology thinks of the possibility of audio ethnographies. With the increase of podcasting, this is also an area of ethnography that more laypeople could get involved in although the issue of translation may limit it to only domestic audiences. Comments and suggestions are, as always, very welcome.

The National Press Photographer Association (NPPA) posted their NPPA Photojournalist of the Year Awards 2004. The section I'm most interested in is the photo essay (Feature Picture Story =FPS) awards:

The winner this year is Paul Hansen with Dagens Nyheter with a photoessay on Thalidomide activists in Sweden. A must read. I also like Chris Curry's (Peoria Journal Star winning photoessay on Amish farmers in America.

Karen Nakamura

I recently received a very kind letter from a photojournalist and critic named Robert McFarlane who works out of Sydney, Australia. Curious, I explored more of his work and found it very moving. I won't engage in copyright theft by placing his photos here, but follow these links to his work. I'm sure you'll be as touched as I was:

McFarlane's use of negative space and shadows (especially in his portraiture of his son, Morgan) is both delicate and poignant. He's not a name familiar to most American readers, so I'm happy to feature him on this blog.


A nice reference to my site on Chautauqua:

Karen Nakamura's site, , provides an interesting glimpse into an area of social science research that is almost entirely untapped. Photojournalists have been documenting our times for well over a hundred years, and ethnographers have a long and respected tradition of fieldwork searching to map the insiders' knowledge of a given culture.

And we have documentary filmmakers. But still photographs still have unexplored potential as a research tool.


Even though Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, and Gregory Bateson all pushed for greater use of photography in anthropology, the visual image has been greatly disdained. Ethnographic film is considered by many anthropologists to be appropriate for high-school use, early undergraduates, and maybe to show on PBS, but certainly not what serious scholars engage in. And still photography is considered the lowest of the low. When was the last time you saw a gorgeously photographed ethnography by an academic anthropologist?* We have entirely relinquished the market to documentary photographers and journalists.

* My favorite photoethnography is Corinne Kratz's (2002) The ones that are wanted : communication and the politics of representation in a photographic exhibition, but this has not made a dent in the field.

I have been pushing for greater acknowledgement of the power of the image in mainstream anthropology. We anthropologists need to get off our anti-National Geographic bias and recognize that if we (mainstream academic anthropologists) continue to marginalize visual anthropology, then we will lose control of it entirely. We need to make visual anthropology a core element of undergraduate and graduate anthropology curriculums -- so that the people who go on to become National Geographic photographers or videographers for PBS will do so with some recognition of appropriate fieldwork methods and techniques. Because right now, all we are doing is alienating them.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Blog - Links to other blogs category from January 2005.

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