(Re)Framing and the (medical) anthropological lens

Eileen Moyer, Vinh-Kim Nguyen
2015 Medicine Anthropology Theory  
To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge -and, therefore like power. -Susan Sontag, On Photography 1 In her seminal essay on the subject of photography, Susan Sontag (4) suggests that while the written word can never pretend to be anything but an interpretation, photography provides the illusion of transparency and can trick us, concealing the photographer's hand and the ways it is 'haunted by
more » ... tacit imperatives of taste and conscience'. In this editorial note, we reflect on the relationship between photographs and ethnographic accounts, photographers and ethnographers, and photographic and ethnographic subjects. This issue of MAT brings together several 'regular' submissions with the nine offerings that make up our first Special Section, 'Beyond "Trauma"'. Collectively, the editorials, essays, articles, and translations make use of the strategy of (re)framing, common to both photography and ethnography. This strategy is at once aesthetic, ethical, and political, permitting the artist/ethnographer to guide the viewer/reader toward particular understandings of the world. The photographic metaphor came to us while viewing/reading the two photo essays in this collection, both of which mix the art of portraiture with the art of ethnography. The portrait 1
doi:10.17157/mat.2.3.522 fatcat:za5yhsisjrhotp3ap6gz4wz7d4