Martor No. 24 / Year 2019

Débuts de la photographie, débuts de l’archive photographique: Bonfils au Harvard Semitic Museum – [The Beginnings of Photography, the Beginnings of the Photography Archive: Bonfils at the Harvard Semitic Museum] (Download PDF)

Author: 

Mădălina Vârtejanu-Joubert

Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) de Paris, coordinatrice du projet AnthroPOA (Anthropologie du Proche-Orient ancien) et directrice de la revue Sociétés Plurielles. 

Pages: 13-26

Keywords: Bonfils, Harvard Semitic Museum, Palestine in the 19th century, ancient photography, biblical archaeology.

Abstract: 

The article highlights the creation of the Maison Bonfils photographic collection and its transformation into a museum archive by the Harvard Semitic Museum. On the one hand, it examines the archiving of reality through photographic practice and analyses the epistemological premises of documentary photography applied to the object “The Holy Land.” On the other hand, it describes the transformation of the Bonfils collection into a corpus and its reception by the scientific community of the Ancient Near East. In both cases, we observe the implementation of a literal conception: on the one hand, the geographical territory is interpreted as the perfect equivalent of the biblical text and, on the other hand, the photographs of this territory are used as an immediate and totally transparent document of the historical reality of the 19th century.

How to cite this article: Vârtejanu-Joubert, Mădălina. 2019. “Débuts de la photographie, débuts de l’archive photographique: Bonfils au Harvard Semitic Museum.” Martor 24: 13-26.