Visuals have an important place in anthropology so far as the materials and methods are concerned. Much before the formal emergence of the sub-discipline of Visual Anthropology, the anthropological engagement with visuals started. Visual Anthropology though primarily built upon the photographs - still and movies -circumscribes the entire visual system of the people. Visual aids were mainly used by the anthropologists to substantiate their data. With the emergence of visual anthropology, the visuals stood as objects of study. Now, the visuals were transformed from mere aid of documentation to a wholesome system of culture of a people. Following this transformation, the paper argues how visual anthropology can be employed in the preservation of community cultural heritage apart from substantiating and facilitating the analysis of culture. The paper also demonstrates this use of visual anthropology with illustrations from Micronesia and India. Individual scholars as well as agencies like Anthropological Survey of India have been shown as the case studies. It has also been attempted to show that the conventional technique of using photography in fieldwork is reflection of the theoretical orientations of the discipline. The paper has further tried to reveal how the use of photographic tools can be fruitfully connected to the preservation of community cultural heritage when informed through visual anthropological understanding.
Keywords: Visual; Visual Anthropology; Preservation; Community Cultural Heritage
Abbreviations: VA: Visual Anthropology; CCH: Community Cultural Heritage; SRFTI: Satyajit Roy Film Training Institute; AnSI : Anthropological Survey to India
Anthropology is characterized by visual engagement since the very beginning of the discipline however not in the perceptible term that we now use for the sub-discipline of visual anthropology. It is a methodological indispensability in anthropology to engage with visuals as the discipline has a strong belief in Kantian metaphysical tradition based on empiric-rationalistic epistemology. However, these were mere locations or sites for observation instigated by the popular anthropological method of participant observation. But much before Malinowski’s excellent use of photographs in his celebrated Argonauts of the Western Pacific , utility of photographs in visually documenting the life and culture of the people was well conceived by the people among whom we find both anthropologists and non-anthropologists. In true sense, the ethnographic documentation through film is as old as cinema itself . In 1895, Lumiere brothers - Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas Lumière and Louis Jean Lumière - screened their first film at Salon Indian du Grand Café in Paris. In the same year another gentleman Felix-Louis Renault filmed the pottery making skill of Wolof women and published a paper based on this record. It might have been taken as a mere coincidence if not Renault had stated in clear terms the value of his work that
had differentiated it from that of Lumières’. For him, it was not a commercial utility only, rather camera should be considered as a laboratory instrument that fixes the transient human activities
in perennial form amenable to further analysis. Moreover, he predicted that ethnography would attain the precision of a science only using such instruments. Visual anthropology in traditional meaning mainly deals with the still photographs and video. Sahay  the doyen of visual anthropology (VA)in India defines the sub- discipline in following words: Visual anthropology i inextricably connected with photography, whether it is still- photographs or films on the life and culture of peoples, that are used for teaching, research, feedback or other applied purposes. According to Safizadeh  Visual Anthropology is visual and perceptual study of culture, material culture, and forms of human behavior in different communities and environments. For Wacowich  the visual anthropology circumscribes a broader perspective. She defines it as the following.
Visual Anthropology is concerned with visual systems and forms and their engagement in process of anthropological knowledge production. Banks & Morphy  have commented that there is a duality of focus in visual anthropology. On the one hand, it is concerned with the use of visual materials for anthropological
research, on the other hand, it is the study of visual systems and
visible culture. According to them there are two overarching
agenda of visual anthropology. One agenda is to analyze the
properties of visual systems, to determine the properties of visual
system and the conditions of their interpretation, and to relate
the system to the complexities of social and political processes of
which they are parts. The second agenda is to analyze the visual
means of disseminating anthropological knowledge itself. They
have tossed with the idea whether it can be taken as a method or
a theory and came to the opinion that a complete divorce between
theory and method is not possible, however they admit that the
dimensions have different ontological statuses. From various
discussions the features of this sub-discipline appear to be the
a. The analysis and formation or structuring of reality as
reflected through visual productions and artifacts.
b. The cross-cultural study of this visual productions from
social, cultural, historical, and aesthetic points of view.
c. The study of the relationship of cultural and visual
d. The study of the forms of social organization surrounding
the planning, production and use of visual symbolic forms.
In an international seminar on visual anthropology held in
India in 1987, Roy & Jhala  put forward seven intermediate
objectives of visual anthropology. In these objectives they
mentioned that the necessary tasks ahead include:
Increasing dialogue between anthropologists and film makers
mainly on the issues of ‘other’, ‘text’, politics of portrayal, social
a. Increasing dialogue between anthropologists and film
makers mainly on the issues of ‘other’, ‘text’, politics of
portrayal, social change.
b. Increasing interactions between East and West.
c. Use and telecast of visual anthropology materials in the
national network by the government
d. Promote follow up workshop etc.
f. Dissemination of information sphere.
However, another view of visual anthropology as proposed
by Jacknis allows it a very broad compass of visible world Jacknis
writes . In many minds the term visual anthropology conjures
up a specialized study involving film and video. Its scope is much
broader, including the production and analysis of still photos, the
study of art and material culture, and the investigation of gesture,
facial expression and spatial aspects of behavior and interaction.
In all these studies, we find virtually no reference to the use of
visual anthropology in the act of preservation of cultural heritage.
But it is undeniable that the visual anthropology carries immense
potential as a tool of cultural preservation. In the present paper, I
shall try to focus on this very aspect of visual anthropology. The
data for the study has been the ethnographic documentaries made
by anthropologists as well as non- anthropologists; the visual
productions and producers i.e. thank (Tibetan scroll-painting),
pata (Scroll-painting of Bengal), wall paintings, serpai (metal
craft). The present author has been associated with making of
documentary; moreover, he has been anthropologically exposed
to the areas and topics by means of fieldwork. The studies on the
folk-art forms taken as examples of visual productions in this paper
have been done in Sikkim and West Bengal. The paper also utilizes
a case study by anthropologist Allan Burns  in Micronesia that
can be considered as a worthy effort in the utilization of visual
anthropology in preservation of heritage.
Heritage has been quintessentially a value - added idea
clothed in material or non-material forms. It is the essence not
the elemental reality that determines heritage . Heritage is
that material or non-material item of culture of a community
that considers it to be an essential of that community. It is a
symbolic embodiment of the culture or people concerned. The
community cultural heritage is the collective cultural products of
that community or productions that share the elements present in
collective conscience to borrow the term from Durkheim. Barbara
Kirshenblatt Gimblett  characterized heritage in the following
a. Heritage is a mode of cultural production in the present
that has recourse to the past.
b. Heritage is a “value added’’ industry.
c. Heritage produces the local for the export.
d. A hallmark of heritage is the problematic relationships of
its objects to its instruments.
e. A key to heritage is its virtuality, whether in presence or
the absence of actualities.
The characterization is both etic as well emic in nature
because about value addition and export the etic view rules the
roost, but when it comes to cultural production the community
itself takes the pivotal role by making it a subject of emic
understanding. The early history of visual anthropology reflected
predominance of etic view, but gradually the value of emic that
is insiders’ understanding of the visual is getting acceptance. In
a review article Deborah Poole  has indicated this shifting
nature of visual anthropology. Here she has mentioned that the
early work in visual anthropology was explicitly concerned
with the countering of the notion of exploitative and racializing
expropriation of the indigenous people. Therefore, the derogatory
practice of ethnocentrism was disquieting stimulus against which anthropology had to set its agenda. Poole  however, finds
that the more recent works mostly center round the theories of
ethnicity and identity formation a more substantive undertaking
akin to heritage preservation through community effort. An
example of such effort can be presented through a study of Allan
Burns that deals with visual literacy as a potent means of cultural
In the case of Community Cultural Heritage (CCH), the
ownership rests with the community concerned. CCH includes
both tangible and intangible heritage. When we relate visual
systems to community cultural heritage, it appears that the
visual productions of a community are included in this domain.
The crafts produced by a community are very much a part of
the CCH when the knowledge of its production is shared by the
community. Apart from these, all the visuals created and shared by
the members of a community constitute the CCH of the concerned
group of people. The paintings on walls of Santal houses, the pata
(scroll painting) by the Patua community are some examples of
the CCH. Body decorations sometimes reflect the identity of a
group. The tilak worn by the Vaishnava is characteristic of their
belonging to a Vaishnava sect. When CCH is informed by VA, it
must take into consideration this type of symbolic communication
as well. We have come to know that visual anthropology, in brief,
is the study of visual system. Photographs and films are very
prominent examples of this visual system. But these are most
often built after non-visual system like aspects of material culture,
house type. These components of non-visual system are therefore
routed through camera to become subjects of visual system in
ethnography. There is another category of visual system, that
include the paintings, inscriptions, body art etc. These are directly
accessible to an observer of culture. Thus, we have two different
scopes of visual anthropology.
a. Study of visual system sui generis and
b. Study of the construction of visual system.
While visual anthropology is engaged in the conservation of
CCH it is concerned with both exercises. The salvage work of the
conservation is related with documentation as well as the process
of documentation that is in the construction of visual system.
Visual system represents the cultural heritage of a community.
The characteristic artefacts or designs, architecture etc. are
documented by the interested people including researcher. The
photographs or videos of these type by detour become parts
of the CCH – however at a secondary level. These visuals may
be produced by individual member of that community or an
outsider. In all the instances the visuals captured are snapshots of
the community life which represents the collective identity of the
group in question. Visual anthropology – though has a scope to
deal with both the individual and collective sorts of visuals, is a bit
biased towards the collective representation of community for the
obvious reason of its characteristic disciplinary practice. In this
pursuit, it not only documents the minute details of the cultural
traits of a community, but also tries to understand how this visual
system is maintained in that community. Thus, it is a study of
product as well as process. In this way visual anthropology proves
of substantial merit in a rounded study of Community Cultural
The skill of learning to look at an image for a long time and
explore the relationship of visual content, composition, and
communication is the first aspect of visual literacy . The second
aspect is the ability to create image. Burns  carried out this
project in Pacific island of Micronesia. The project was directed
towards two themes:
a. Cultural Preservation.
b. Cultural Resistance.
Burns  Cultural preservation often leads to the celebration
of culture through museums, folklore performances, and
demonstrations by experts in crafts of folklore. In Japan, there is
a programmed to find out folk artists and to certify them. Later
they are given stipend to continue their craft. Government of
India also promotes endangered art and crafts by giving stipends
and scholarships to expert practitioners. In West Bengal, now
the folk artists are being regularly engaged in various awareness
programmed by state government with financial assistance.
Burns was himself engaged in one such cultural preservation
project in Micronesia. The project has an objective of nationbuilding.
Besides it has three distinct elements.
a. To write and implement policies to limit the destruction of
cultural ecology of the area.
b. To carry out basic research on archaeology and ethnology.
c. To promote awareness of the importance of cultural
Burns organized a six week of training of the crew initially at
the island of Korsae and then started field production. He took
them into research at cross-cultural set up and put them into
filming difficult situations. The third stage involved operating a
production studio and transmission of edited programmes on
island television. In this project Burns involved museums. The
museum staffs were trained in ethnographic techniques and
were made familiar with professional documentary techniques.
Twenty episodes of Korsae life were videotaped. Of course, some
professional film makers were hired. Burns made a ‘ethnographic
video workbook’ for the training of the local participants. Each
chapter is designed to be covered in each week (Table 1).
Anthropological Survey of India, the premier anthropological
research Centre of the Government of India since its very
beginning realized the importance of photographic medium.
It opened a cinema and photography section at the year of its
establishment in 1945. It shot several films the list of which is
now available in the website of the organization. The members
of this unit produced a good number of films on the tribal people
of India despite their limited resources. The focus of this unit was
documentation of dying cultures or capturing the lives of people
in events in still and motion.
With the emergence of the new field of visual anthropology
the use and produce of camera went through sea changes. In this
field, AnSI made some pioneering efforts. One among these was
the organization of international seminars and formulation of
an acceptable disciplinary (or sub-disciplinary) model to follow
in case of visual anthropology. At the theoretical level these were
good efforts no doubt. But while taking stock of the actual output
the story is rather bleak. So, there was a need to do something
of practical nature. In 2007, a definite step was taken with the
opening of the ‘Centre for Visual Anthropology’. The purpose of
this center was to train in-house scientific members in the art
and craft of film making. It was so conceived that the knowledge
of making film would induce the analytical faculties to produce
synergistic result we may call visual anthropological. V.R. Rao, the
then Director of AnSI inaugurated the programme in collaboration
with the Satyajit Roy Film Training Institute (SRFTI). The training
was residential. Around twenty-five staff members of the Survey
including sound technicians, photographer, computer personnel
apart from predominating number of social anthropologists and
one physical anthropologist took part in the training. It was a
three weeks’ programme that imparted theoretical knowledge
with hands on training. The topics included: direction, light,
sound, editing, mixing, writing of concept note. At the end of
training four groups were formed. Each group was entrusted with
the exercise of doing fieldwork within Kolkata and to make a film
of ten-minute duration. The teams produced four documentaries:
a. Doms of Kolkata,
c. Kumartuli (on the idol makers of Kolkata)
d. Prolonged Shadow (a documentary on the aged people).
This exercise has been furthered by the approval of doing
audio-visual documentation along with the projects formally
written. One can make a documentary with the sanctioned projects
if so proposed and approved. Following this official notification,
a documentary, titled Ultra (The northern wind) was produced
as a part of project on traditional knowledge of the Coastal
Fishermen. Keeping this trend in motion, this unit of survey has
so far produced a good number of documentary films. Of these
films Ghoul was screened as a part of the UNESCO culture heritage
documentation. An Incessant Voyage produced by the team
portrayed the journey of Anthropological Survey of India over the
period as a premier institution of anthropological research in the
country. Two more films – one on the glove puppet (Beniputul)
and the other on Kabigan earned acclaim of the critics. Now the
survey is organizing a training programme each year for the staffs
of the institution stationed at different parts of the country.
From the analysis of the effort of the survey, it appears that the
main objectives of this training – cum - production are twofold.
One, it is the documentation of the rich and diverse cultural
heritage of India. Two, it is to explore the possibility of this new
media in the furtherance of anthropological research. In both
these objectives, the idea of documenting CCH is latent.
From the fore going discussions on the relationship between
CCH and VA, it can be surmised that films and photographs are
potent tools for effective conservation of CCH. Anthropologists
have made extensive use of photographs in understanding the
social-cultural life of the people they study. Photographs have
multiple use for the ethnographers ranging from collection of
data to their representation [12-16]. The films and photographs
were purposively used by Bateson & Mead  to present an
ethnographic study in Indonesia. They took as many as twentyfive
thousand stills and twenty-two thousand feet long films on the
people of Bali . Their aim was theoretical as they tried to prove
their point in culture and personality school, albeit it showed how
extensively photographs can be used in anthropological studies.
Nowadays, the use of camera is almost inevitable [16,18].
The ethnographic film has the primary aim to preserve the
structure of event it is recording as interpreted by the participants, in the mind of the viewer . It is imperative for an ethnographic
film maker to be successful that he or she thoroughly understands
the people to be filmed. It is also desirable that the indigenous
structures or native categories guide the film maker. Asch 
have mentioned about three important categories of ethnographic
a. Objective recording - a) descriptive b) analytical.
b. Scripted filming.
Scripted filming is mostly the form taken particularly by
non-anthropologist film maker. But the most successful filming
practice is the combination of the all the above-mentioned tropes
in varying proportions as per the ground realities and aesthetic
sensibilities demand. Of all these the reportage is probably
the best means for the preservation of cultural heritage as it
attempts to do a complete shoot of an event or a segment of life
with adequate footage. In the present study we have chosen the
example where the categories of ethnographic film as mentioned
above do not appear as sharp typology.
This film has been made by Dr. Nabakumar Duary of
Anthropological Survey of India. He has delineated a dying folk
art tradition of glove puppet (beniputul) of Bengal. It was shoot
at a village named Padmatamali of Purba Medinipur district
of West Bengal. The storyline mainly focuses on the changing
occupational profile of the people, change in the craft itself, the
way of showing this performance, the caste background, craft
work of making beniputul and the hardship of their life. The film
maker has shown that now only four families depend on this craft
for their livelihood, whereas some fifty years back about eighty
families were engaged in it. In a review of this film, another
veteran anthropologist Professor Ajit K Danda  writes being
under pressure of changing times, it is only natural that the
Beniputul, originally made of bamboo-splits, gets wooden limbs
and the dry palm-seed head of it, through phases, gets replaced by
The ethnographic film used multiple tropes to vivify the
mundane life of the glove puppet players. It was based on both
objective recording as well as scripted filming. The original
interviews in vernacular were shown with English subtitles. The
film conveyed us the details of the ecological setting, aspects of
rural life in Bengal, the making of Beniputul, tactics of playing the
puppets, their actual playing with songs in the market place, the
audience. The changing aspects of the life of puppet players had
been emphasized. The narrative was substantiated by moving
pictures. But, in its own language, the film would add something
new that could not lie only in description or photography. For this
film, the unique suggestive moment was created. Danda wrote:
Obviously the ever-busy red ants must be on the rush in search
of a greener pasture and the relatively slow-moving mother duck
would, instead, prefer to operate within a limit remaining tied up
to the tradition .
The film contributed to the documentation and preservation
of CCH. The fading art of glove puppet was preserved in
documentation for the posterity. The anthropologists worked
with the community members for getting a ‘field-view’ of the
craft in practice. Thus, the knowledge of the community members
was preserved in this way. But, at the same time we find an
interpretation which was visual anthropological.
As an undergraduate student, I was asked to take photographs
to substantiate the field report. With an analogue ‘Hotshot’
camera I took about twenty photos on the different aspects of the
life and culture of the Santal people living at Baghashola village
in Dumka district of earstwhile Bihar state (now Jharkhand). I
had no instruction what to shot. Only what we know was to take
some photographs that would adequately reflect the culture of
the people living there. On the basis of my understanding of the
topics given in the syllabus , I took photographs of landscapes,
panoramic view of the village, village entrance, , linear pattern of
arrangement of houses along the road that bisected the village,
house type, agricultural implements, agricultural activity of
threshing that was going on there at that time besides pictures of
majhithan (seat of the village headman) , jaherthan ( the sacred
grove). Moreover, I took another photo of myself taking interview
of an old Santal inhabitant of the village. We also took a group
photo of ourselves with the departmental banner spread before
us. This has been a guideline followed till today at the initial stage
of field training that I am to impart my graduate students.
In later years of my student life, when I came to reason more
with the utility of photographs in ethnographic reports, I find how
naïve I was in accounting the right value to the photographs. I
know it very well that photographs cannot show everything, but
some more things that it could have shown I missed during my
early years of apprenticeship. I found the Santals with tattoos on
their body. What did they mean? What were the designs? How it
varied? How it was done? on which part it was done? These are the
some of the so many things I did not consider photographically at
that time. We were offered hanria, intoxicating drink fermented
from rice at home and almost all of us accepted this. Under the
influence of this hard drink our behavior changed, so theirs. We
did not catch this evidence of rapport and reflexivity. Even some
of us took photos of that inebriated state but did not have courage
to paste those photos in the report. It is not camera, again it is
the culture, because we fear that these photographs might tarnish
our image. Another reason might be that we operated within a
preconceived scientific frame that did not allow the depiction of
such personal emotional and way ward state.
Taking of photographs owes its origin in the tenets of
positivism and empiricism that cast an overarching influence on
the methods of collection of data in anthropology. Positivist and
empiricist approaches lay stress on observation. Photography is the freezing of an observed moment. At the initial stage, I was
mainly impressed by the material details that photographs could
capture comparatively well. Photographs proves that ‘I was there’
- this sense of ‘being there’ is one of the core features of positivism.
This way photographs establish a ‘positive’ kind of authority of
the field worker. When I came to realize the meaning of authority
and its appropriation through photographs, I must say that I have
learnt something beyond the simple material use of photography.
Jorgensen  has rightly remarked that ‘the camera is an
extension of visual perception’. Photographs reflect the culture of
the user. Taking of photographs is very much influenced by the
topic of investigation as well as the social location of an individual
researcher. The general feeling is to take photo of what appears to
be different or ‘exotic’. Thus, camera starts a process of ‘othering’,
considered to be a hallmark of understanding anthropological
process. This ‘othering’ starts from tangible world, from material
culture to social events. For a general ethnographic account, as
I find and follow, the photographs include mundane aspects of
life – landscape, house type, dress pattern, ornaments, utensils,
implements, musical instruments, designs, pieces of arts and
crafts etc. The human figures are often presented of particularly
in the older monographs. This is done mainly from a view of giving
a sense of the physical environment - the ‘context’ of the study.
The comparative method is embedded in this exercise. Thus a
‘textualization’ of context takes place. By this the community
cultural heritage is not only documented but contextualized in a
The next step is to take photographs of ‘human in action’. In
doing so more we become familiar with the social organization
of the people we study; our photographs turn to be more
focused and speaking. Now we try to capture the essential
and characteristic features of the community. In my fieldwork
among the Santals, I concentrated on the festivals and cultural
performances of the Santals. I brought my camera to take
photographs of the festive dances, rituals observed at the time of
festivals, the places of worship and performances at jaherthan,
and akhara, the decorations on their house and the instruments
they were playing. The photographs depict well the scene of
dance and other performances both ritualistic and non-ritualistic.
The pictures portray the gender difference in performance and
attires, the utilization of space and the symbols they draw on the
floor, the structures they constructed on festivals. Through these
photographs I could easily show how the context had visibly
become different at the time of festivals. Now the comparison was
within the limited universe that had become different with change
From the above delineation it is quite clear that the context
is being determined by the text and this can well be shown using
photographs. I tried to focus on the features of dance patterns
which appear very different from the ones we are familiar with
as non - Santal. In this regard it can be said that certain material
objects qualify to be portrayed better in photos than described. In
the present case, I added the photographs of bhuang in the report.
The instrument of bhang is played at the time of Dashain festival
when the Santal men dance dressing like women. The instrument
is made by them from hollow gourd attached to a string which is
kept in tension by the bent strip of bamboo that is also fitted with
the body of the gourd. I can easily understand that this description
is still falling short of the actual instrument captured in the
photographs. Another such instrument is sarpa played by the
women while dancing at the time of sohrai festival of the Santal.
Outside the immediate periphery of issues of academic notice,
the camera serves some other purposes that bear significant
moorings in anthropological fieldwork. Camera helps to build up a
good rapport with the people in the field. Initially, the fieldworker
moving in the field area with the camera slinging from his or her
attracts attention for being different from the people who usually
visit the area. I was very often asked by the people whether I was a
reporter from any newspaper. In replying and clarifying my cause
of moving so, I got an initial entry into the locale at many times
apart from a guided introduction by some influential persons of
the locality. In most cases people liked to be photographed. The
digital camera now provides us with enormous facility to take
many photographs and to show the people what I have shot in the
field. It is sometimes shown immediately after the shot, or they
can browse the photographs I have taken of them. I very often
allow them to browse the photos and expect their comment.
I have found that this exercise has several implications.
First, by allowing an insider to this exercise I acknowledge
the proprietorship of the person over the corpus of cultural
material I have amassed of them. Secondly, while scrutinizing
the photographs he or she might see whether I had breached
or disregarded anything like a cultural taboo in their society
or whether I had gone some way beyond the limits of decency.
Thus, this act of scrutiny was a kind of acceptance by the people
if so checked, commented and allowed. Thirdly, if I need any
clarification I might inquire for the further details. Fourthly, from
their comments some new points might emerge. So, apart from
being a tool of simple collection of data, the camera was linked
with many other facets of inquiry.
As I have mentioned earlier that camera helps to foster a good
rapport between insiders of a community and the fieldworker
doing research on them. I showed two of my informants how to
take snaps. Both were mostly inclined to take photographs of their
own relatives and friends. This is interesting in the sense that the
things or phenomena which are of much importance to me are no
more points of attraction for them. Therefore, the commonsense
‘othering’ is a vice-versa process, unless guided one cannot take
photographs which are mutually significant or characterized by
The present paper discusses the role of visual anthropology
in the preservation of community cultural heritage. It has dealt with the idea of visual anthropology and how it has emerged
to include the entire visual system in the ambit of study. The
community cultural heritage, the collective cultural product of
the community includes both the tangible and intangible aspects
of culture. The visual anthropology can be used to enhance the
visual literacy of the community members as has been illustrated
through the Micronesian case study. Besides this individual effort,
the government agencies like Anthropological Survey of India
(AnSI) plays significant role in the preservation of CCH.
The AnSI has made several such films on the community
cultural heritage one of which has been taken here as an example.
The film made on glove puppet (Beniputul) shows how this
folk craft tradition is in vogue in rural Bengal and its dwindling
condition. However, it has still preserved much of this traditional
craft beyond mere documentation. The paper has showed the
visual anthropological input into this work of ethnographic
film which has become a means of preserving CCH. The autoethnographic
account presented here manifolds how the use of
‘photographic method’ in fieldwork as an apprentice and later a
professional of could go beyond the mere supporting documents
to field report to an account of community cultural heritage.
The photography in anthropological fieldwork can be linked
positivistic and empiricist tradition in anthropological research.
But, this very aid to ethnographic fieldwork has great implication
for visual anthropology since the issues like ‘textualization’,
‘othering’, ‘intersubjectivity’ can be meaningfully shaped through
this practice as has been demonstrated here. The photographic
instrument acts as a tool in establishing rapport with the
community members. The outcomes of the visual exercise can
be placed before the scrutiny by the community members whose
participation thus enhances the utility of visuals in CCH.