Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Through a Glass Darkly: Photographs of the Leipzig Mission from East Africa, 1896-1939

Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Through a Glass Darkly: Photographs of the Leipzig Mission from East Africa, 1896-1939

Article excerpt

Through a Glass Darkly: photographs of the Leipzig Mission from East Africa, 1896-1939; edited by Adam Jones, Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätverlag, 2013, 150 pp. ISBN 9783865837776. euro24.

The past ten years have seen welcome commitment to cataloguing, digitising, analysing and making available photographs, produced and reproduced in vast numbers by European and American missionaries in Africa and Asia. Much of the work is brought together in the excellent International Mission Photography Archives (IMPA) (http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15799coll123). The Leipzig Mission collection and the scholars who worked on it were major contributors to this project. Jack Thompson's full length study of missionary photography Light on Darkness (Eerdmans, 2012) was reviewed in ARD 119, pp. 29-31. The latest contribution to this field of study is Through a Glass, Darkly, with reproductions of over one hundred photographs (some of them coloured), prepared in conjunction with an exhibition at the Peterskirche in Leipzig that was also shown in Tanzania.

Adam Jones makes some important points in his introduction:

We refer to historical photographs as "sources", yet most scholars, journalists and others have used them merely as illustrations. …

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