4A Lab Seminar

Hanin Hannouch: Gustav Fritsch: Three-Color Photography and Nature in the German Empire

"Panorama von Daressalam" By Robert Lohmeyer. In: Die Deutschen Kolonien (edited by Kurd Schwabe, Published by Carl Weller, Berlin 1910).

This presentation traces German anthropologist and racial hygienist Gustav Fritsch's (1832-1927) preoccupation with three-color photography and its complex relationship to Nature in the Kaiserreich. Fritsch considered the photographic plate to be the equivalent of the retina. In doing so, he initially followed the analogy between the camera and the human eye, which has shaped the way in which "vision" was thought to operate since the advent of photography. In order to improve the color photographic process, he conducted a histological study of human and animal retinas which he illustrated using three-color photomicrographic images. Expanding the paradigm of mechanical objectivity, he claimed that the results of his inquiry (as with most investigations about color photography) were given directly to the scientist by the personification of Nature. Moreover, Fritsch participated in the widely successful two-volume color photobook Die Deutschen Kolonien (edited by Kurd Schwabe, published by Carl Weller, 1910). He framed its color photographs of landscapes, taken by Robert Lohmeyer in the colonies of the Kaiserreich, as Nature's own autoportrait. In doing so, three-color photography was purported to emanate from Nature itself and to mimic the victory of colonial project.

Hanin Hannouch is a postdoctoral researcher at the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin State Museums (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) in cooperation with the Max-Planck Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. Her projects on color photography are numerous: besides her monograph on color photography in Imperial Germany, currently in preparation, she is the volume editor of Gabriel Lippmann's Colour Photography: Science, Media, Museums with Amsterdam University Press (late 2021/early 2022) and the guest editor of another special issue dedicated entirely to three-color photography, out in April 2022. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the KHI's 4A Lab: Art Histories, Archaeologies, Anthropologies, Aesthetics and at the Berlin State Museums and international fellow at the German Maritime Museum: Leibniz Institute for Maritime History (DSM). She received her PhD from IMT Lucca, School for Advanced Studies (2017) with a dissertation titled Art History as Janus: Sergei Eisenstein on the Visual Arts after her International Masters in Art History and Museology (IMKM) at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and the University of Heidelberg (2014), and another Masters (2012) and BA at Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik.

10. Mai 2021, 16:00 Uhr

Online 4A_Lab Seminar
Die Veranstaltung findet online statt.
For KHI-externs: A registration for the Online Seminar can be made via 4a_lab@khi.fi.it 


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