Essential Lens: Analyzing Photographs Across the Curriculum
Economies and Empire: Colonialism and the Clash of National Visions #9005
Date: Circa 1910
Location: Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Photographer: Emile E.O. Gorlia
Source: EEPA 1977-0001-171-01, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
On the road from Kanda Kanda to Katola in carriage.
Judge E. Gorlia’s first journey in the Belgian Congo from December 1909 to January 1912.
In 1911, on his first tour of inspection, Judge Gorlia traveled by foot from Lusambo to Dilolo. Until 1912, the Luba, the Songye, the Kanioka, the Lunda, and the Chokwe territories extending southward to Dilolo, were administered as part of the Congo-Kasai district with headquarters at Lusambo.
In the Lunda and Chokwe territories, trials were brought on account of hostilities between the native tribes, contraband was rampant, taxes reportedly never been paid, and also because of unscrupulous and abusive behavior of European agents.
The hammock was the only conveyance available for travel on land. It was swung beneath a bamboo pole carried on the shoulders of two strong African men. They could travel 20 to 30 miles a day. In normal time, there were four pairs of men for the hammock, two men carrying at a time. Men strong enough were almost impossible to find because they were likely to go off to work in the mines.
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Supplementary: Essential Lens: Economies and Empire, Colonialism and the Clash of National Visions
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Program 1 A Closer Look (video)
This introduction to the course models the process of analyzing photographs with teachers and students. Photography historian Makeda Best discusses the Focus In method with teachers, and educator Julie Keefe employs the method with students at a photography exhibit on "light and dark." Photography curator at the Portland Art Museum, Julia Dolan discusses how she carefully selects a set of photographs to tell a larger story.
Program 2 Witness (video)
Photographs bear witness to world events and help us to learn more about people, places, and situations -- historical and present day. Middle school teacher Donald Rose guides students in analyzing photos from school integration movements of the 1960s. Documentary film producer Ken Burns weaves photographs into historical narratives to bring the past to life. Photojournalist Louie Palu's photos take us deep into mines and war zones, and engage us with the individuals who take on those tasks.
Program 3 Lives (video)
Lives explores the story of human resilience and perseverance. Middle school teacher Donald Rose uses the Migrant Mother photos by Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange to help students understand what elements a photographer chooses to focus on to create the greatest impact. Historian Linda Gordon, biographer of FSA photographer Dorothea Lange reveals Lange's role in engaging Americans in the plight of those who were most devastated. New Orleans documentary photographers Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick talk about the transformation of their photographs after Hurricane Katrina and working with young photographers to preserve the city's cultural heritage.
video 4 Evidence (video)
An image can show us otherwise invisible processes, previously undiscovered life forms, and dramatic change over time. High school teacher Rima Givot engages her students with highly magnified photos of mouse muscle to study genetically modified organisms. Scientist and photomicrographer Dennis Kunkel demonstrates the fascinating process of creating photographs of the microscopic world. Environmental photographer Gary Braasch reports on his worldwide travels to document the state of the planet through repeat photography.
Program 5 Story (video)
Every photograph tells a story: of struggle, of beauty, of community and culture. Social studies teacher Kim Kanof uses photos from the Protests and Politics collection to teach about protests around in the world in 1968. National Geographic photo editor Pamela Chen details the collaborative process of creating photo-based feature stories with design director David Whitmore. Iowa photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier discusses his work documenting the residents and images of marginalized communities across the United States.