chapter  5
21 Pages

Negative Space: Tracing Absent Images in the National Museums Scotland’s Collections

From 1992 until 2006, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley, maintained a photographic gallery, Looking at Culture. Many of the museum's photographs are related to other archival collections at the university, principally in the Bancroft Library at the University of California-Berkeley, which houses the university archives. The focus on photography alone, in a single and dedicated gallery, was unusual in anthropology museums, where the focus is traditionally on objects with subsidiary explanatory photographs and texts. The photographic exhibitions were an inverted extension of the traditional relationship between objects and photographs in museum displays in that their realist propensities were used to expand, rather than simply reinforce the dominant object-centred narratives of the museum. The dedicated gallery for visual anthropology closed in 2006 when the entire exhibition space was rearranged and a new exhibition policy adopted.