Wildlife Photography: The Legacy of Camera Hunting, Masculinity, and Colonialism

Theodore Roosevelt with a dead elephant. Photo by Edward Van Altena, 1909.

In this conversation, Dr. Mathew Brower, Curator at the University of Toronto and Lecturer in Museum Studies, gives us a fascinating historical account of wildlife photography in the United States and Britain. With an emphasis on “camera hunting” and an eye toward masculinity, Brower notes the shifts in hunting and photography practices, and the larger accompanying political and cultural contexts that informed their development. From Roosevelt and the end of “manliness” to industrialization and the physical decline of “game” populations, the story of wildlife photography twists and turns through a number of interesting characters who were set on proving their prowess and skill, while animals at times disrupted the photographers’ pursuits. Entangled with colonial history, tune in to learn how wildlife photography signifies much more than pretty pictures.

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