Chapter

Eyeing Samoa: People, Places, and Spaces in Photographs of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Leonard Bell

in Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780226164717
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226164700 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226164700.003.0009
Eyeing Samoa: People, Places, and Spaces in Photographs of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

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This chapter examines a number of images produced locally within a commercial studio in Samoa, which tend to disrupt our expectations of stereotypical tropical scenes and portraits. These photographs suggest more complex and nuanced viewings of Samoa during the 1890s, drawing attention to the fractured, unstable quality of the sites and spaces of the colony. These photographs, too, can be seen to constitute a kind of borderland, in which relationships cannot be marked out with certainty but are characterized, rather, by a shifting quality. In this context, tropicality emerges as a complex of intersecting phenomena and conditions, attitudes and experiences. The tropical, or what was frequently so regarded, was certainly not natural, nor was it simply constituted by that set of opposing and limiting stereotypifications, as has commonly been asserted.

Keywords: Samao; images; tropical; late nineteenth century; early twentieth century

Chapter.  6564 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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