The city, modernity and network culture

Week 2

This image was taken from a aboriginal tourism website and i chose this image because the way the website has been constructed as well as the staging of this image can be interpreted in various ways. In this image there are two white tourist dressed casually, sitting on what seems to be a log whilst smiling at the aboriginal tourist guiders as though they are intrigued by something they have said. However on the other hand the three tourist guiders are dressed in uniformed attires with two sitting on a log with their legs half crossed whist one kneels down on the ground. Unlike the tourists these aboriginals do not portray much emotion but almost look miserable with one almost covering his whole face with his fisherman hat. This to me says that the aboriginals do not matter in this photograph but are only there for the sake of the tourist coming to visit their territory. Moreover combining my analysis with the study of photography in my lecture it is clear that aboriginals do not have much when it comes to how they are porytrayed to us not only through society but immensely through photography; ‘anthropologists who took this photograph would have subscribed to the then widely held theory that aboriginies belonged to the lowest stage of human evolution’ (p42) photographers made sure that it wasn’t revealed that these human beings were not capable of thinking and ‘feeling human being’ (42) as Edward Said explains, these people (the other) cannot represent themselves but by others who

know them better than they know themselves( Mishra, V p1), which I believe has been done in this photograph too. The fact that the aborigines depict any lack of emotion whilst the tourists do presents Edwards Said’s theory of orientalism through the portrayal of the west being presented in a derogatory manner. I continue this fact by pointing out how there is a clear seperation between the aborigines and the tourists which is evident on the background of the photograph. behind the aborigines the brown mountain which is blocking the sun may explain their sombre faces and may connote dirt, similar to how they were presented by anthologists in the early centuries. whilst on the other side behind the tourist there is a clear blue sky which in my analysis may connote purity for the superior race. The lack of positive connotations toward aboriginals tells us that there is still a stereotypical view of this culture that the anthologists created.

 

Reading furthermore in to the reading aboriginals were presented in low manner in the early centuries through photography as well. French anthologist Prince Bonaparte had both taken photographs and recorded a family of aboriginals stripped down naked and taken for their home. He said that they did not react to his gestures and therefore labelled them and mentally incapable and once again they were labelled as the lowest in human revolution without considering that they did not speak a word of english and moreover felt exposed because of the way they were being treated inhumanely. Furthermore to continue his studies of aboriginals Bonaparte enlisted on one of his teachers to examine there mental capacity, his verdict was similar to Bonaparte. He described these people as stupid because they were not able to count with their fingers, but he did not take in to consideration that these people may have had a different way of counting in their culture. This ideological structure was not permitted to be unchallenged and these anthologists knew this and took it to their advantage in order to keep the white race the most superior race in society.Image