Michael W. Young
This text presents nearly 200 of Bronislaw Malinowski's photographs, taken between 1915 and 1918, of the Trobriand Islanders. Michael Young, an anthropologist and Malinowski's authorized biographer, has selected the photographs based on one of Malinowski's studies of the region, and the plan of that abandoned project has helped structure this book. Divided into 14 sections, the text is a series of linked photo-essays based on Trobriand institutions and cultural themes as described by Malinowski. The introductory essay appraises the anthropologist's photographic oeuvre, explains the historical circumstances and technical aspects of the images, and puts them in their colonial context. Young illuminates the photographs with quotations from Malinowski's diaries, letters, and field notes, thereby giving a biographical dimension to the collection. Commentaries on the images by contemporary Trobrianders add a further layer of interpretation. The result is a record not only of a fascinating place, but of the mutual relationship between ethnography and the visual.