Zulu Chief Photograph
Directions: Examine the photograph, source information, and background information to answer the questions below.
Frank G. Carpenter was a photographer and a journalist from Mansfield, Ohio. Carpenter wrote travel books that were popular in the United States. This photograph was taken in Zululand in the British colony of Natal, an area that is now a province of South Africa.
Title: Zulu chief, South Africa
Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1905?]
Photographer: Frank G. Carpenter
Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-93982
Question 1: Why do you thing that Frank Carpenter created this photograph and what might have been the intended audience?
Question 2: What is one feature of the photo that might lead you to question its reliability? Explain your reasoning.
Question 3: What is one thing you would want to know about either Frank Carpenter or how he took this photo to better determine its reliability?
This question asks students to engage in sourcing, contextualization, and corroboration. Students must reason about the content of the photograph and the circumstances of its creation to evaluate its reliability as evidence.
Question 1: I would guess he intended to sell the image to American market. He might hope that the exotic nature of the chief would appeal to American stereotypes. "Look how primitive African culture is - a half naked chief!"
Question 2: I would expect that most students would realize that the “salute” is a western gesture and might not be authentic to Zulu culture.
Question 3: Asks students to think about what information might help corroborate the evidence in the photograph. I would expect they might want to find out if Carpenter had any formal training as an anthropologist or was just out taking travel photos to sell.
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