Bullets, Teeth and Photographs: Recognising Indigenous Australians between the Wars

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Abstract

In 1927, an inquiry into what has come to be known as the Forrest River massacre sent shockwaves across Australia and overseas, playing an important part in the shift toward better treatment of Aboriginal people. The evidence tendered to the inquiry was narrowly forensic, focused upon dates, places and human remains, alongside three photographs of the outback crime scenes: how were these grainy, scratched, inscrutable images seen at the time? How should we look at them now? The horrified public preferred to look at more eloquent, familiar images of Indigenous suffering. In this paper I review these parallel, sometimes intersecting, ways of seeing Aboriginal people, and consider the role photography has played in arguing for Indigenous rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-287
JournalHistory of Photography
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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