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journal of visual culture Photogenic Poverty: Souvenirs and Infantilism

By John Hutnyk

Abstract

This article discusses the photograph and the souvenir together as relics of a trinketizing touristic countenance. It argues that the reified image memorializes the exotic other, and a romanticized view of childhood, in the midst of war and deprivation. Charity and memory are bound together here with geo-politics. An analysis of similarities and differences in the ways photographs and souvenirs trace encounters with ‘photogenic poverty ’ is urgent. A critical political response would aim to do more than the infantilizing gestures of charity and aid now favoured by liberal concern under late imperial capitalism. Keywords charity ● children ● photography ● poverty ● trinketization ● war The souvenir is the commodification of remembrance. Olalquiaga (1999: 80) A common reaction to photographs since the days of the Daguerre is that they have been valued as objects of unquestionable authenticity... It would be difficult indeed to overestimate their early popularity as souvenirs. There is practically no family which does not boast an album crowded with generations of dear ones before varying backgrounds. journal of visual cultur

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.197.9674
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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