'Hunting with the camera': photography, wildlife and colonialism in Africa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter seeks to show how particular practices of hunting and photography, enacted in colonial African territories, constructed the wildness of African animals--especially animals known as big game--and landscape as part of an untouched world of pristine nature. The chapter begins by noting how the fabrication of African wildlife to audiences in Britain in the early part of the twentieth century involved practices of taxidermy and photography operating within discourses of empire, race and nature. Such practices involved particular forms of spatial encounter. Both animal photography and taxidermy depended upon a sense of physical closeness of human and animal, eroding the distance between the wild animal and its habitats and the hunter photographer. Such spatial encounters were the very basis of the thrill for both the hunter-photographers and the viewers of their photographed and stuffed trophies. Despite these effects of proximity, however, the display of wild animals in spaces far removed from their natural habitat served simultaneously to maintain the distance between the wild and the non-wild; the civilised and the savage. There was also considerable slippage in the attitudes and practices of white Europeans between the wild spaces of Africa, on the one hand, and the indigenous inhabitants of such spaces, both animal and human, on the other. The designation of African people as wild or savage tied closely with social Darwinist thinking in legitimating forms of colonial domination, including that enacted through conservation policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimal Spaces, Beastly Places
Subtitle of host publicationNew Geographies of Human-Animal Relations
EditorsChris Philo, Chris Wilbert
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter10
Pages205-222
Number of pages18
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9780203004883
ISBN (Print)9780415198462, 9780415198479
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2000

Publication series

NameCritical Geographies
PublisherRoutledge

Keywords

  • photography
  • hunting
  • wildlife photography
  • nature photography
  • photography of animals
  • Africa

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