The late nineteenth century witnessed a rapid increase in colonial conflicts throughout the French and British empires. It was also the period in which the first mass-produced cameras became available. Colonial authorities were quick to recognise the power of this new technology, which they used to humiliate defeated opponents and project an image of supremacy across the world.
Drawing on a wealth of visual materials, from soldiers’ personal albums to the collections of press agencies and government archives, The Violence of Colonial Photography (Manchester UP, 2022) offers a new account of how conflict photography developed in the decades before the First World War. It explores the ways the camera was used to impose order on subject populations in Africa and Asia and to generate propaganda for the public in Europe, where a visual economy of violence was rapidly taking shape. At the same time, the book reveals how photographs could escape the intentions of their creators, offering a means for colonial subjects to push back against oppression.
Daniel Foliard is a Professor of Modern History at Université Paris Cité
Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel.