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The echo of things: Photography in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands

Wright, Christopher John; (2005) The echo of things: Photography in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores aspects of photography in Roviana lagoon in the western Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. It is based on fieldwork in Roviana lagoon and the capital of the Solomons, Honiara, and on archival research in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The thesis asks what photography is for Roviana people; how it has been used by them; how it is thought to operate as a medium; and how it relates to issues of history and memory. An outline of the history of photographic and other visual representations of New Georgians made by Europeans links illustrations made in the early 1800's, to photographs taken by missionaries in the early 1900's. This is juxtaposed with a history of New Georgian reactions to, and uses of, photography. A consideration of photography as material culture in New Georgia explores its role as a relic and traces its links with attitudes towards the preservation of ancestral skulls and with the practice of headhunting. The development of a range of representational media is discussed in relation to processes of memorialisation. These discussions are then linked to New Georgian ideas about spirits and what animates photographs; the ways in which photographic presence is conceived. A detailed examination of one specific violent encounter between New Georgians and British colonial authority in the 1890's traces the links between photography and history. Current attitudes to these events are related to those towards contemporary conflicts in the Solomon Islands, and the use of photographs as cultural history is considered in the light of these arguments. The thesis draws comparisons between New Georgian and Euro-American attitudes towards photography throughout and, in so doing, suggests elements of photography's identity as a medium.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The echo of things: Photography in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands
Identifier: PQ ETD:602815
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446873
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