The Echo of Things: The Lives of Photographs in the Solomon Islands
Christopher Wright is Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. From 1992 until 2000, he was Photographic Officer at the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. He is a coeditor of the books Between Art and Anthropology and Contemporary Art and Anthropology.
The Echo of Things is a compelling ethnographic study of what photography means to the people of Roviana Lagoon in the western Solomon Islands. Christopher Wright examines the contemporary uses of photography and expectations of the medium in Roviana, as well as people's reactions to photographs made by colonial powers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For Roviana people, photographs are unique objects; they are not reproducible, as they are in Euro-American understandings of the medium. Their status as singular objects contributes to their ability to channel ancestral power, and that ability is a key to understanding the links between photography, memory, and history in Roviana. Filled with the voices of Roviana people, The Echo of Things is both a nuanced study of the lives of photographs in a particular cultural setting and a provocative inquiry into our own understandings of photography.
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