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Philippine Colonial Photography of The Cordilleras 1860-1930

Philippine Colonial Photography of The Cordilleras 1860-1930

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By Jonathan Best (Author)

Philippine Colonial Photography of the Cordilleras (1860-1930) offers a fascinating visual journey into the rich cultural heritage of the people of the Cordilleras from the mid-nineteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century: their daily lives, the rituals they performed, the customs and traditions they practiced, the kinds of clothes and accessories they wore, and the beliefs and principles they observed.
This detailed ethnographic exercise would not have been possible without the prolific use of photography as a medium of documentation and excursion into the exotic and heretofore distant reaches of Spanish and American colonial territories in the Philippines. American and European photographers traversed the remote regions of the Cordilleras in their various roles as anthropologists, missionaries, teachers, researchers, scientists, soldiers, and government bureaucrats. Though they always retained the imperial gaze of colonialists as they surveyed their domain, the photographs featured in this book also highlight their sensitivity to the historical importance and proud cultural distinctiveness of the communities that they assiduously documented. 

The book showcases over 100 photographs by notable colonial photographers such as Henry Otley Beyer, Charles Martin, Dean Worcester, Fay-Cooper Cole and Mabel Cole, Albert and Maude Jenks, and Alfred Marche. Their works were used in popular magazines and government bulletins, used as postcards and cartes de viste, and embellished travel diaries and anthropological reports, thus stirring world interest in the Cordilleras and in the Philippines as a whole. These images recorded not just a vanishing way of life but also served as an important milestone in the inception of photography as a visual art and ethnographic practice up to the first quarter of the twentieth century. 

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