Living Pictures: Photographs, Reenactment and Colonialism

Author(s): Jane Lydon

Year: 2014


I begin by exploring the transformation of photos by living Australian Aboriginal relatives and communities, from historical signs to powerful entities that express family relationships and history. In recent years photographs have come to be considered by some theorists as objects, a shift linked to a new emphasis on how they are used rather than what they mean. This move has been stimulated in part by posthumanist approaches that argue for the agency of the non-human, as well as challenges to Western notions of linear time such as postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha’s concept of the ‘time lag’. Another aspect of this shift is widespread acknowledgement of the diverse ways that photography has been appropriated into different cultural orientations and cross-cultural histories, and the challenges such photographic histories pose to Western ways of seeing. I conclude by considering some of the challenges for managing these photo-objects within heritage archives, and the momentous intersection between Indigenous and Western ways of seeing that comes with digitisation.

Cite this Record

Living Pictures: Photographs, Reenactment and Colonialism. Jane Lydon. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437017)

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-47,08