Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ethnographic Filming and Anthropological Theory

By 1930, 16mm safety camera film was available in many counties, though the equipment was still inclined to be bulky and sound was very cumbersome. By 1940 triple emulsion color film was available, but the War slowed down further developments. By 1950 tape-recorders made sound recording in field situations a real possibility. By 1960 light-weight, highly portable 16mm cameras, capable of diverse work and of synchronous sound recording were readily available in many universities. By 1970 lengthy field recording with videotape was becoming a reality. By about that time too several real artist of ethnographic film production had appeared. they were different from the craftsmen of the early years in that they all had serious interest in anthropology and most had also received quite advance training in the subject. One important effect of this training was that these newer filmmakers sustained a long term interest in a particular culture-area, which led to the production of a valuable corpus of films on selected groups. One has to mention here:
·         John Marshall, working with the Kalahari Bushmen
·         Jorge Preloran, working all over rural Argentina
·         Robert Gardner, working with the Dani, Nuer, Hamar and other tribes
·         Timothy Asch, working with the Yanomamo Indians and the Balinese
·         Ian Dunlop and Roger Sandall, both filming tribal life in Australia
·         David MacDougall, working in East Africa and Australia
·         and of course Jean Rouch, raging far wide through the towns and villages of West Africa
·         and Yasuko Ichioka filming year after year in South East Asia and Western Pacific.
In recent years more and more people have become involved in the enterprise of recording non-Western cultures on film.

 “Ethnographic Filming and Anthropological Theory”
by Paul Hocking

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