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This article was downloaded by: [Emory University] On: 14 February 2015, At: 05:01 Publisher: Routledge InformaClick for updates Visual Anthropology: Published in cooperation with the Commission on Visual Anthropology Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gvan20 Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology? Marc Henri Piault , Sydney M. Silverstein & Aubrey P. Graham Paris, France Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA Published online: 09 Feb 2015. To cite this article: Marc Henri Piault, Sydney M. Silverstein & Aubrey P. Graham (2015) Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?, Visual Anthropology: Published in cooperation with the Commission on Visual Anthropology, 28:2, 170-180, DOI: 10.1080/08949468.2015.997091 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08949468.2015.997091 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & " id="pdf-obj-0-6" src="pdf-obj-0-6.jpg">
This article was downloaded by: [Emory University] On: 14 February 2015, At: 05:01 Publisher: Routledge InformaClick for updates Visual Anthropology: Published in cooperation with the Commission on Visual Anthropology Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gvan20 Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology? Marc Henri Piault , Sydney M. Silverstein & Aubrey P. Graham Paris, France Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA Published online: 09 Feb 2015. To cite this article: Marc Henri Piault, Sydney M. Silverstein & Aubrey P. Graham (2015) Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?, Visual Anthropology: Published in cooperation with the Commission on Visual Anthropology, 28:2, 170-180, DOI: 10.1080/08949468.2015.997091 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08949468.2015.997091 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & " id="pdf-obj-0-8" src="pdf-obj-0-8.jpg">

Visual Anthropology: Published in cooperation with the Commission on Visual Anthropology

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Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?

Marc Henri Piault a , Sydney M. Silverstein b & Aubrey P. Graham b a Paris, France b Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA Published online: 09 Feb 2015.

To cite this article: Marc Henri Piault, Sydney M. Silverstein & Aubrey P. Graham (2015) Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?, Visual Anthropology: Published in cooperation with the Commission on Visual Anthropology, 28:2, 170-180, DOI: 10.1080/08949468.2015.997091

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DISCUSSION

Downloaded by [Emory University] at 05:01 14 February 2015 Visual Anthropology , 28: 170–180, 2015 Copyright10.1080/08949468.2015.997091 DISCUSSION Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology? This continues the discussion that was launched in 2014 in Visual Anthropology, 27(5): 436–456. Marc Henri Piault Questioning reality and proposing a theory about it are not the topic here. On the contrary, it is about the transmission of the image-sound and its origins. It is not (it is no more, and it should not be anymore) an instrument of transportation used to move objects from one place to another. It is neither a simple support of analysis nor a microscope where a clever observer might understand the meanings of the situations and the social interactions in their intimate and ultimate truth. Initially considered as a descriptive tool slowly recognized to be of some use, if not indispensable, cinema was offering ethnology a complement of information but also another way of registering data, more elaborate and more complex. The combination of the field experience and the incorporation of the contempor- ary have created what could become then a shared anthropology (Rouch’s term). Then one could preview the questioning of the superiority of a discursive anthropology with overwhelming comments, illustrative music, designation and identification to the benefit of recognition of the other’s words and the ... , need for their contextualization, if not a conversational negotiation. In anthropology the cinematographic language has allowed us to explore some fields that were beyond academic research for a long time: duration and relation of space = time, emotions and feelings, relativity of behaviors and values, com- parative treatments of bodies, cultural forms of the expression of the person, fictionalization of the world, and a constant making-up of the real, tangible modalities of all representations, ‘‘subjectivations’’ of the environment ... It has become a way of thinking about the relativity of cultures that cannot be ignored and a way to take into consideration the essential reciprocity of appearances. Audiovisual anthropology is a mode of exploration and recognition of differentiated behaviors, but also the expression in itself of knowledge to be exchanged and M ARC H ENRI P IAULT , a French anthropologist, has filmed extensively in France and West Africa but now divides his time between Paris and Rio de Janeiro. His well-regarded book , Anthropologie et Cine´ ma, was republished in 2008. E-mail: marc.piault@orange.fr 170 " id="pdf-obj-2-14" src="pdf-obj-2-14.jpg">

Where Indeed Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?

This continues the discussion that was launched in 2014 in Visual Anthropology, 27(5): 436–456.

Marc Henri Piault

Questioning reality and proposing a theory about it are not the topic here. On the

contrary, it is about the transmission of the image-sound and its origins. It is not (it is no more, and it should not be anymore) an instrument of transportation used to move objects from one place to another. It is neither a simple support of analysis nor a microscope where a clever observer might understand the meanings of the situations and the social interactions in their intimate and ultimate truth. Initially considered as a descriptive tool slowly recognized to be of some use, if not indispensable, cinema was offering ethnology a complement of information but also another way of registering data, more elaborate and more complex. The combination of the field experience and the incorporation of the contempor- ary have created what could become then a shared anthropology (Rouch’s term). Then one could preview the questioning of the superiority of a discursive anthropology with overwhelming comments, illustrative music, designation

and identification

to the benefit of recognition of the other’s words and the

..., need for their contextualization, if not a conversational negotiation. In anthropology the cinematographic language has allowed us to explore some fields that were beyond academic research for a long time: duration and relation

of space=time, emotions and feelings, relativity of behaviors and values, com- parative treatments of bodies, cultural forms of the expression of the person,

fictionalization of the world, and a constant making-up of the real, tangible

modalities of all representations, ‘‘subjectivations’’ of the environment

...

It has

become a way of thinking about the relativity of cultures that cannot be ignored and a way to take into consideration the essential reciprocity of appearances. Audiovisual anthropology is a mode of exploration and recognition of differentiated behaviors, but also the expression in itself of knowledge to be exchanged and

MARC HENRI PIAULT, a French anthropologist, has filmed extensively in France and West Africa but now divides his time between Paris and Rio de Janeiro. His well-regarded book, Anthropologie et Cine´ ma, was republished in 2008. E-mail: marc.piault@orange.fr

170

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Where Indeed is the Theory? 171

compared. Thus it has become a field of research and experimentation widely shared in the world since the late 19th century. At the same time, the cinematograph was invented and stumbled across nascent ethnography, leading to ethnographic cinema with its encounters, compared appearances and shared situations. All this leads us today toward what we have called an ‘‘audiovisual anthropology,’’ emerging from a more or less achieved confrontation between the text and the image=sound. In the space of a general anthropology, a field of research has been developed into what we nowadays need to consider as an anthropology beyond-the-text. In the order=priority of thematic concerns, the renewal of the relationships between societies and cultures, the questions about the definitions of the person and of the individual and collective identities, the questions of the belonging and their modalities, the denaturalization of feelings and emotions, all have to be con- sidered as a sum of crucial interrogations situated in the space of a generalized circulation of patterns. A paradox of our times comes from the possible simulta- neity of communication and information, taken into consideration by the defenders of a ‘‘massifying’’ globalization, using this same instant visibility, and then demonstrating the diversity, the resistance and without any doubt the relativity of the logics of appreciation and understanding of the world. The question becomes then to report a thinkable reality as the product of transactions , negotiations, a ‘‘dialog’’ between the one and the other that we alternatively, if not simultaneously, represent. The transition to syncretism and the recognition of inner contradictions allow and legitimate a transition to the ‘‘constituted-constituting’’ i mage of meetings, conversations and dialogic relations. It is necessary to question the transformation of the instruments at our disposal as well as the modality of expression of these encounters: they are also experimen- tations in the field of communication and transmission of knowledge and their adaptations to the different cultural logics. The passage from the analogical to the various modalities of digital, the modifications of space-time relationships by the networks of communication on the ‘‘net,’’ interrogations about the transi- tivity of the real and the construction of the imaginary, the consequences of the ‘‘virtualization’’ concerning the constitution of groups and the conception of belonging or the ways of knowledge transmission and of a possible abstraction

through the use of image and sound

...

It is here a matter of appreciation for

a language in constant gestation, borrowing from the logics of several existing but opposing discourses toward a necessary and urgent (in)determination: the rejection of a unique speech, of a measurable universal. The idea is to refer to the point of view of the ‘‘subjects’’ and to approach what I call the creation of spaces of understanding to establish dialogic relationships. We are not here anymore going to seize the images of the world and pack them back home with us in our luggage, like the operators-cameramen of the brothers Lumie` re or Albert Kahn used to do. We have to understand what we perceive about a situation during the period that we share with a given social group. These films are made because something happens during the period of shooting but also within the shooting situation itself. There are exchanges and some reciprocities between the filmmaker and the filmed person. These conditions create the

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cinematographic narration, fed through its own development and then giving significance to the film. Thus time remains an essential factor for the understanding, the thought, the report of an encounter. It is not only a matter of a duration but, almost paradoxi- cally, of an essential immediacy offering the image during the proper time of filming with a digital camera: its small lateral screen allowing us to follow the shooting directly. All this is part of the event during which the persons we shoot appropriate to themselves the instrument and their own image. Then there comes a new shared adventure. The players of the running action, even the most spon- taneous, always know they are actors for themselves and their close relations. They also perceive the foreign eyes who came to meet them and which they are never indifferent to, given that the camera is not hidden from them. Their profilmy 1 is subjected to a possible reflexion because this representation of one- self for others belongs to a specific culture: it is perhaps an accentuation, a devi- ation or a mask, leading the observer to understand the effects of his own presence. It is not only a one-way relationship between the observer and the observed but also the possibility for a certain way of communication, of exchange, a common space to develop a real conversation during which different points of view can eventually be confronted. A ‘‘survey device,’’ allocating func- tions to the person who asks questions and to the other who answers, is not any- more the way: there now appears a new possibility to partake in and even to exchange roles. It is of course a ‘‘possibility,’’ but if the instrument allows a fundamental shift in behavior it doesn’t create it ‘‘naturally.’’ One could also conduct a screened observation if not an investigation of the police with the same instrument, but in the opposite direction: the actual use of miniaturized devices is today leading to a worrying perspective! I’m insisting on the idea of a dialog, an exchange, because they can only exist if the necessity, the desire and the will exist at the same time. Appearing with our instruments and backed up with a technology and an ideol- ogy, we announce, ‘‘That is an image.’’ We don’t realize that we are armed with an instrumental manufacture and a significant construction that we consider intan- gible data. But we couldn’t a priori imagine how the Others could and would use these instruments in a very different way with different purposes. The inten- tional construction of images, the relationships between its constituting factors, the editing, the appreciation of the space, the moods and the sound levels are the products of new experiences that we don’t control. Then another image is constructed with differentiated conceptions and specific usages. We have to shine a new light on the differences by paying attention to their intentionalities. Motion picture is a cognitive process, a language of apprehension, analysis and under- standing. Differentiating itself from writing and speaking, it reveals different perspectives on reality.

Paris, France

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NOTE

Where Indeed is the Theory? 173

1. Profilmy: The actor takes into consideration the fact that he is in representationwhat- ever the forms arein front of a camera and during the time of the shoot. The actor always has an intention, except if he is filmed without knowing it. Even in that case, if he agrees on his image during the editing, we could suggest that there would be a kind of retroactive profilmy.

Sydney M. Silverstein

The title of the cluster of short essays to which this one responds is ‘‘Where Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?’’ The interrogative ‘‘where’’ implies that we should be looking for something; in this case, that something is theory. Most of the respondents, though, have trouble locating the theory in visual anthropology. Some, like Ruby and Tomaselli, argue that visual anthropology is more a method- ology, a set of tools and technologies that provide an alternative approach to the traditional anthropological project, the ‘‘use of pictorial media to communicate anthropological knowledge’’ [Ruby 1989: 9–10, cited in Hockings et al. 2014:

443]. Once we have acknowledged that cameras can be helpful in conducting research, we can draw our theory from cultural anthropology writ large. Theory comes from an analysis of data and generalizing statements drawn from emerging patterns and relationships, remaining in a dualistic sort of opposition with method. In this line of reasoning, it is hard to locate how and where visual anthro- pology might make a contribution to theory. But perhaps we are asking the wrong sorts of question. David MacDougall’s concept of ‘‘corporeality’’ [2006], that is, an embodied understanding of places, spaces, and relationships produced through visual or multisensory praxis, is identified by Hockings [2014] as the closest visual anthro- pology has come to offering theory in the broader discipline. While MacDougall contributes to this collection of essays, his response is disappointingly brief (though all were restricted to 1500 words), particularly given his crucial theoreti- cal contributions to notions of aesthetics, embodiment, sensory anthropology and ethnographic film. To what might we attribute the brevity of MacDougall’s essay? Would we expect a similarly terse response from someone like Arthur Kleinman when asked where we might find the theory in medical anthropology? Perhaps MacDougall’s reluctance to elaborate in his response is due to a frustration with the manner of asking: by asking ‘‘where’’ the theory is, what forms of knowing are we privileging?

SYDNEY M. S ILVERSTEIN is a filmmaker and Ph.D. student in Emory University’s Department of Anthropology. She holds a B.A. in visual arts and an M.A. in anthro- pology. Her research interests broadly involve the relationships between people and things. She has done field research in the Peruvian Amazon since 2010, and is now working on a doctoral project about the soc ial worlds of goods in and around the city of Iquitos, Peru. E-mail: smsilve@emory.edu

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To look for something implies that that something will become evident to us through some sort of marker: linguistic, semiotic, visual, olfactory, tactile, auditory, etc. How, then, is theory marked? Catherine Lutz [1995] has argued provocatively that theory has a tendency to make itself self-evident through the use of abstract language, academic jargon or, most literally, the insertion of the word ‘‘theory’’ into a piece of writing (she cites Bourdieu’s Outline as a classic example of this). These practices, Lutz argued, are gendered, drawing a distinc- tion between the sophisticated, intellectual work of theoretical generalization, dominated and reproduced by men, and the emotive, responsive and documen- tary nature of the work relegated, through this intellectual division of labor, to women. To ask where the theory is in visual anthropology may be inciting a search for abstract language and broad generalizing claims, a practice of identify- ing that confirms an old and limiting hierarchy of knowledge and a needless reproduction of visual anthropology’s own Cartesian handicap dividing method from theory. Visual anthropology, a subfield of cultural anthropology, is often understood through a basic dichotomy: those who work with the visual as an object of inquiry and those who work with the visual as a medium of inquiry. Those who fall into the latter category offer something different from generative approaches to knowl- edge. This is done, as MacDougall has noted [Hockings et al., 2014: 444–445], in three parts: ontology, epistemology and methodology. Through MacDougall’s urgings for us to consider not only knowledge practices, but also epistemologies and ontologies, he discretely reminds us that the generative potential of visual anthropology must be recognized through form. If what we have uncovered is a new way of knowing, perhaps that way does not lend itself to easy articulation in text. In order to illuminate the potentials of visual anthropology in the gener- ation of knowledges, I look towards a recent turn in theoretical and philosophical anthropology to explore how the work done by careful and dedicated practi- tioners of visual anthropology has made parallel advances with the vanguard of theoretical currents in anthropology writ large. The approach heralded by leading visual anthropological scholars such as MacDougall is the practice of observational cinema. This approach, first described by Young [2003] as a research practice committed to phenomenological under- standings of everyday life, gained currency among ethnographic filmmakers in the 1970s. The observational ‘‘turn,’’ as Grimshaw has noted, ‘‘signaled a signifi- cant epistemological, philosophical and aesthetic shift. It was founded in a new approach to the world that respected its materiality, its continuity, and fundamen- tal ambiguity. And it hinged on a different conception of knowledge, one that was fundamentally relational’’ [2011: 255]. The observational turn in ethnographic filmmaking signaled the production of new forms of knowing, understanding and relating. As a generative research practice, these ways of knowing emerge from a transformation of perspective that brings about new forms of dialogue and engagement with subjects, whose relationships with space, beings and objects convey forms of information not translatable in words. Audiences are re-positioned too, coming to understand in forms more dialogic than depository. Films by Castaing-Taylor and Barbash [2009], Dineen [1993], Grimshaw [2014] and MacDougall [1973, 1980, 2007] demonstrate that the observational turn in

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Where Indeed is the Theory? 175

ethnographic cinema is one that has focused on explorations of relationship. But a closer attention to relationships is not characteristic of ethnographic film’s observational turn alone. This notion of ‘‘turns’’ should call to mind, for anyone following the currents of anthropological theory, the recent attention given to questions of ontology. This movement, dubbed anthropology’s ‘‘ontological turn’’ [Kelly 2014], has given increased attention to means of conceptualizing objects, actors and relationships that tickle fundamental comfort zones in Western means of grasping and apprehending the world. A heavily cited example of an ethnography emerging from the ‘‘ontological turn’’ is Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think [2013], a provocative book that has inspired responses by giants in the field of philosophical anthropology such as Phillipe Descola [2014] and Bruno Latour [2014]. In this ethnography of the Amazonian rainforest read through the interactions of a group of Kichwas with their environs, Kohn builds a case for what he calls an ‘‘anthropology beyond the human,’’ by asking the reader to consider ‘‘what kinds of insights about the nature of the world become apparent when we attend to certain engagements with parts of the world that reveal some of its different entities, dynamics, and properties?’’ [Kohn 2013:

10]. If indeed we gain a richer understanding of the world and our place in it by attending to the relationships between human and beyond-human entities, then the project will have succeeded. Kohn’s argument is supported with thick ethnographic evidence from over a decade of fieldwork that impressed upon him the importance of considering systems of thought, communication and semiotics beyond the human. Is Kohn’s ethnography, with its rich examples of the dream life of dogs and the language of the forest, an ethnographic innovator for telling us how we might come to understand how forests think? How might we position Kohn in relation to projects of visual anthropology that not only attend to different engagements with objects and agents, but do so in a space that speaks through multiple senses, not text alone? There is considerable evidence that works produced in the wake of the observational turn in ethnographic filmmaking have been able to attend to different sorts of relation, engagement, friction and entanglement, particularly those between humans and non-human animals, and humans and their environ- ments [Fijn 2012; Grimshaw 2011]. Few examples are more striking than David and Judith MacDougall’s To Live with Herds [1974]. What it means for the Jie of Uganda to live with their herds is a meaning that surrounds us and reveals itself to us through the immersive experience of this film. Further, we might also argue that the MacDougalls’ film allows us a rare window into what it might mean for the herds to live with the Jie. In comparing Kohn’s book with works of observa- tional cinema, it is not my intention to call his ethnography unoriginal, for I think it is a thoughtful and innovative work. But Kohn has words behind him: he nar- rates to us how we might come to new understandings with unconventional engagements. But as readers of ethnography in monograph format we are given little space for that exploration on our own terms. If we are looking too hard for theory then we have clearly missed the point about looking at all. New means of understanding the nature of relationships, or new means by which to consider the dimensions of relations between things, is the sort of interaction from which we generate knowing. But theory may not

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even be our goal here, for perhaps by preoccupying ourselves with a vague and distant thing we can label as theory we miss out on the richest contributions of visual anthropology. That, as David MacDougall has famously noted, is a way of knowing [MacDougall and Taylor 1998], a means by which we come to know ourselves through relations with things mediated through the dialogic camera; a way of coming to know a subject of inquiry through a different means, and on different terms.

Aubrey P. Graham

Department of Anthropology Emory University Atlanta, GA USA

As I read ‘‘Where Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?’’ from the perspective of a practitioner (photojournalist = photographer) and anthropologist, I was struck by the antiquated, stodgy, and sometimes denigrated position of still photogra- phy. These responses, when they bothered to mention photography at all, marked it as relevant only as a means of detailed data collection, as an addition to text or as an interview aid. Linkages between theory and photography referenced visual anthropology’s functional ‘‘how to’’ past, and overwhelmingly overlooked both the creative work of the last decade and the potential directions of the future. Despite being perhaps the most democratized and globally accessible visual prac- tice today, rife with potential through which to know and sense, photography appears trapped academically in its well-worn role as an indexical reproduction of ‘‘what was.’’ Still photography within these responses (and more broadly within visual and cultural anthropology) has been relegated to unimportant, auxiliary and a-theoretical positions. More precisely, according to Piette, it is to be found in the ‘‘dustbin’’ [Hockings et al. 2014: 450], where upon recovery such images may act as a ‘‘a bonus, a plus, which allow us to see better, to see more, but they are not an epistemological necessitycontrary to the doctor’s radiography which is needed in order to look after the patient’’ [ibid.: 448]. I could not disagree more. These responses overlook important theoretical work both in addressing the image as ‘‘object’’ and as a way of knowing. For instance, they often fail to see the still image as a moment of cultural intersection, where it

AUBREY P. GRAHAM is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Emory University. She holds an M.A. in Anthropology from Emory and an M.A. in the Social Anthropology of Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Graham is also an active photographer and has freelanced for IRIN news, World Picture News, Belga and SIPA press. Her research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo combines photography and anthropology in order to examine the region’s humanitarian politics. E-mail:

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Where Indeed is the Theory? 177

carries meaning through its coding and re-coding [Pinney and Peterson 2003], social biography [Edwards 2012], affective qualities [Pink 2006; Edwards 2012], variant value systems [Poole 1997] and even agency [Edwards 2001, 2012]. More- over, these responses ignore the theoretical potential for intersectional, intersub- jective and relational ways of understanding, knowing and sensing through still images. While researchers conducting pioneering work in photography may be few, they nonetheless remind us crucially of the process-based role of photogra- phy as a mode of inquiry, not just a medium of representation. For instance, Sarah Pink’s photographic research and analysis has shown how interactively creating images and engaging with informants through photographs can provide gen- dered, spatial, intersubjective and highly reflexive ways of knowing [Alfonso, Ku¨ rti, and Pink 2004; Pink 2013]. Such photographic practice, much like ethno- graphic film [Grimshaw 2001; MacDougall 2006; MacDougall and Taylor 1998], shows theory to be a generative process rather than just a retrospective move, hence locating it in the leading edges of the discipline as much as in its time-tested analytical frameworks. Employing both material and processual approaches to still photography as a springboard, my own work engages photographs as a means of constructing knowledge, which may or may not dovetail with text but is certainly not a ‘‘bonus’’ to it; indeed the images can often be seen as a challenge or subversion of it. My parallel career track in photography, which has included photojournalism, marketing and advertising, humanitarian and development photography, weddings, and so on, has grounded my academic work in a perhaps not-so-standard practitioner–researcher combination. This combination proved to be critical during recent year-long fieldwork in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), researching the implications of the humanitarian aid photography upon the identities and politics of the local Congolese population. Drawing from my photographic experience, I developed still photography methods that would allow me to acknowledge my own ‘‘eye’’ and to learn to ‘‘see’’ differentlyfrom the perspective of a Congolese studio photographer, or contrarily from that of an international humanitarian aid photographer. To know through the photograph in this setting, and to be able to understand the politics around the images in the east- ern DRC, it was critical (a) to view photographs as relational, social objects after their creation, and (b) to understand what photographers and subjects desired out of the images, and how through subtle negotiations they would subjectively construct and embody these politics in an image’s production. The photographic methods that I designed in the field included co-creative portraits, shadowing photography (where I learned by mimicking photographic compositions and actions), and direct photography (where I ‘‘worked’’ as another local photographer or humanitarian photographer, and tested my visual aptitude in each situation). For the sake of space, I’ll only expand on the co-creative portraits. Over eight months I co-composed the majority of these photographs in Mugunga III Internally Displaced Peoples camp, near the humanitarian hub of Goma, DRC. Individual subjects chose the location, directed the lens, prepared for their portrait, and determined directly what would be indexed in the resulting photograph. To the space I brought my sense of composition and my reflexive self, a white 30-year-old woman from the United States who spoke Swahili, carried

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a small but professional camera (Fuji 100), conducted interviews about pho- tography, and returned the photos free of charge. Like Cristina Grasseni [2004], who used a video camera to retrain her sight so that she could ‘‘see’’ cows from her subjects’ knowledgeable position, I worked through the still photographic lens to build a form of visual intuition. I learned to see, to look, to search for meaning differently, and thereby enabled myself to recognize the subtle shifts that encom- passed the politics embodied in the image. The resulting portraits and the real-time interactions around the camera showed a chronological change in the perception of the politics that I represented and that which the subjects imagined and engaged with. Initially the population of Mugunga III employed the space created by the camera to create reproductions of visual humanitarian trends, signaling hunger, disease or individual suffering. However, through repeated visits my subjects came to associate my camera and myself more within the realm of local photography. As such, their visual desires moved into the field of vernacular portraiture, emphasizing their personal style, family and means of employment in front of the camera, as opposed to aid-related ‘‘need.’’ This method, like Pink’s work, shows that still photography is useful for more than just detailed data collection or as aids to interviewing. Rather, it brings a sense of embodied learning to the research experience. It also raises the question as to how still photographs can be compiled in a meaningful way, so to constitute ‘‘another way of telling’’ [Berger 1995]. Can we edit and curate photos, similar to ethnographic film or museum exhibitions, to provide a sensory means of knowing and a process of making meaning not from the textual description that tethers them but from the translation of the visual experience? The co-creative portraits from Mugunga III will be presented both in print and as an exhibition in the form of 20 diptychs. Each diptych pairs two images of the same individual, one showing an up-close portrait (photo mnene), and the other presenting a wider-angle, more encompassing shot often showing the indivi- dual’s full body (photo mrefu), the people and the material objects important to them. The repetition of the poses, and the haptic and subtle visual changes within the sequence of these photographs helps to construct an embodiment of knowl- edge, and a relational, sensory experience. The still photograph here both stands alone and creates meaning in combination with the other photographs. Alone, each one gives the viewer the opportunity to focus on the particularity of the image, the intentional inclusions and the image’s excesses. The photograph’s single-moment capture facilitates the capacity to linger on a representation of an individual space, arrangement and composition, and to focus on the particular over the general. Yet, in sequence and in diptych combination, these images play off one another, and construct a rhythm and meaning that exists both within and in-between the singular moments depicted. As with ethnographic film such photographic practice and compilation are intended to elicit an experience in the viewer. It provides ‘‘another way of telling’’ that produces knowledge and perhaps even theory through the photograph(s). Shifts of the body and the scene, some overt (postures changed, material goods shown, family members brought into the frame), some understated (expressions altered, motions paused, gazes repeated), construct a sense of interaction through the photos and an ability to know visually without being told through a supervising text.

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Where Indeed is the Theory? 179

Returning to the question of the location of visual anthropology’s theory, it becomes clear that using photographs as data or interview techniques is not the only way that we, as visual anthropologists, can engage theoretically or employ still images. Certainly the photo should be pulled out of the proverbial ‘‘dustbin.’’ However, instead of simply putting that photo to work as a helpful tool, a ‘‘bonus’’ or a ‘‘plus’’ to the text, I propose a bolder and more imaginative engage- ment with the interactive and intersubjective potential of still photography. Per- haps then visual anthropology’s photography-based theory might be found as much in the risk-taking, creative future of the discipline as in its time-tested past.

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