The gaze of the slave and the ‘ethics of seeing’; to what extent does close analysis of the portraits commissioned by Louis Agassiz in Brazil in 1865 affect our understanding of Brazil’s “image world”, the formation of a modern visual economy and a rethinking of these photographs’ place in the archives of transatlantic slavery?

“No matter how artful the photographer, no matter how carefully posed the subject, the beholder feels an irresistible urge to search such a picture for a tiny spark of contingency, of the here and now, with which reality has (so to speak) seared the subject, to find the inconspicuous spot where the future nests so eloquently that we, looking back, may rediscover it.”[1] – Walter Benjamin

Figure 1. Augusto Stahl, ‘Female Slave Portrait’, glass plate collodion, c. 1865


There can be fewer photographic archives whose ‘silence’ equals their value, fewer visual histories that have been so effectively repressed, or rather, conscientiously overlooked, than in the case of studio portraits of slaves taken in Brazil around 1865. These sets of photographs, taken predominantly by what survives from the work of one American researcher, Walter Hunnewell and the professional photographers, Augusto Stahl (1828-1877) and Christiano Junior, themselves also foreigners to Brazil. The archive sits within the relatively vast historiographical landscape of the transatlantic slave trade, and pulls on us, as historians of photography, more fervently due to its scarcity. And yet so little attention has been given to these pictures. In this essay I will look predominantly at the work of Hunnewell and Stahl. Stahl, like Junior, was working as a studio photographer in Rio de Janiero at a time when photography was flourishing and the political process of abolition in Brazil was at a critical turning point. I will look specifically at their studio portraits of slaves, the ‘image world’ which produced them, the scientist who commissioned them, the institutions and arguments that have since suppressed them and the inherently complex negotiations with modernity, race, aesthetics and gender that make them so discomforting.  Understanding why these pictures have failed to command the scholarly attention I think they are due, is as much part of the exploration as searching for a case for new perspectives and approaches to bring them to light. In the words of Christopher Pinney, who has argued the case of photography’s non-Western histories so rigorously, I want to examine the space where “photography’s mimetic doubling becomes a prism through which to consider questions of cultural and self-identity, historical consciousness, and the nature of photographic affirmation and revelation”.[2] In the case of the portraits in question, the ‘historical consciousness’ is traumatized, compromised and challenged, ‘the cultural identity’ at times brutalized, at times, ennobled and the photographic affirmation stripped, scarred and transfigured. In a few cases, the slave subject, particularly in the case of some of the women, look almost startling empowered by the photographic process and beautifully dressed for the occasion. To borrow Susan Sontag’s phrase, ‘the ethics of seeing’ lie deeply embedded in these images. The intention of this essay is to go to the heart of that ethical and political debate and thereby reevaluate the historic and aesthetic roles these portraits have been assigned.

The anthropologist Deborah Poole in her fascinating examination of the role that visual images and technologies have played in shaping modern understandings of race in the Andes, divides that ‘image world’, i.e. the world ‘through which representations flow from place to place, person to person, culture to culture and class to class’[3], into three principals of visual economy. I shall use those three principals here to help clarify my argument, and look at the portraits taken by Stahl and Hunnewell, firstly from the viewpoint of their organization and production, secondly their circulation, both then and now, and lastly, ‘the cultural and discursive systems through which graphic images are assigned historical, scientific and aesthetic worth’,[4] as it is precisely that ‘worth’, that value, that I think needs to be reassessed and recognized. As Poole said of her photographing Peruvian peasants; “To understand the role of images in the construction of cultural and political hegemonies, it is necessary to abandon that theoretical discourse which sees “the gaze” – and henceforth the act of seeing – as a singular one-sided instrument of domination and control”[5]. Admittedly, in the case of these portraits, when we are met by the gaze of a slave, stripped, and turned three times through the terrible triptych of racist anthropometry, it is hard to see the power dynamic any other way. But see it, we must. As Brian Wallis, in his brilliantly titled article “Black Bodies, White Science” points out, this reassessment is central to the very questions of what history is; “Who represents and what is represented? Whose voice will be heard? Whose stories will be remembered? Such questions go to the heart of how history is written and validated by society – through negotiations fraught with silent conflicts and profound implications”[6]. With implications as profound as these and conflicts as silent and ‘silenced’, it is timely to look again. We can also ask ourselves, as does Molly Rogers in her hybrid narrative ‘Delia’s Tears’, “can photographs taken in another era in the service of scientific investigation be considered a crime against humanity in a new, more enlightened era?”[7]

The Commission – organization and production

Augusto Stahl’s, “Female Slave Portrait’ (Fig 1.) is profoundly disturbing. The scandalous horror of the subject’s nudity aside, the punch of this picture for me, (perhaps now slightly immunized by over exposure to the archive in question as a whole), is that she, the unnamed person, the woman stripped of a name and her clothes, looks pregnant. The picture, like most of the portraits in the archive, is dated 1865. A pregnant slave photographed six years later would have been carrying a child that was already legally free. Such was the slow and painful path to abolition that Brazil followed in a staggered process designed to wean itself off a system upon which it was completely reliant.


What on earth is going on in this picture? How did it come about? To use Poole’s wording, how was it ‘organized’? More to the point, is it even relevant or even morally right to look and look again? The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard, where the print is housed, don’t think so. If you look for the image at its point of source, i.e. in Stahl’s archive set, it is one of the thirty-four out of his fifty-nine images, all portraits of slaves, to which, as a member of the general public, access is only given on request. (Fig.2)


Figure 2. Augusto Stahl, ‘Female Slave Portrait’, glass plate collodion, c. 1865.

I have specifically chosen one of the portraits Stahl took of slaves naked as my starting point, as the omission of the naked portraits from the front page of the website of the Peabody Museum, highlights the politics of the archive and raises as many questions as perhaps their censor was presumably intended to avoid. But I shall come to this in the third part of my essay, as by examining in detail the place in our digital world these images have been assigned, I hope to open up a critical space from which the dominant historical narrative can be questioned. But first, a few of the portraits themselves demand close scrutiny and Roland Barthes’ guide to the reading of photographs in his seminal book ‘Camera Lucida’, is useful in order to dissect their initial emotional impact.


The punch of this picture, (Fig.1) the pregnancy, is its ‘punctum’, ‘that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me)’ [8], Barthes says. It is always personal to the viewer, the element ‘that breaks (or punctuates)’ the studium, and here, in this image, the studium is no less unsettling, not least, in the words of Marcus Wood, author of the first in-depth comparative analysis of the visual archives that grew up around slavery in Brazil and North America, “Black Milk”, because it ‘unavoidably calls to mind the theatrical and highly charged dynamics of a slave auction’. [9] Wood’s observation on the performative and material dimensions of this picture, its studium, is chilling. As ‘spectators’, a word Barthes uses too, we are immediately culpable. Barthes explains;


“To recognize the studium is inevitably to encounter the photographer’s intention, to enter into harmony with them, to approve or disapprove of them, to argue them within myself, for culture (from which the studium derives) is a contract arrived at between creators and consumers. The studium is a kind of education (knowledge and civility, ‘politeness”) which allows me to discover the Operator, to experience the intentions which establish and animate his practices, but to experience them ‘in reverse,” according to my will as the Spectator.[10]


A question mark hovers over the identity of the ‘spectator’ of all of Stahl’s slave portraits, even to this day. Indeed, judgment calls are constantly being made on the audience of these images by their custodians, the Peabody archivists, due to their sensitivity. Even more so now they are digitized.


Little is known about Stahl himself, although his success is apparent in the high favor he commanded from the Brazilian Royal Family (Fig.4). One can imagine that this picture of the princess might have circulated on the streets of Rio de Janeiro as a cartes des visites, Stahl’s name illiciting even greater awe from the slave subjects next invited to ‘sit’ for him. And by 1865 he already had established a reputation as one of the ‘most gifted and formally one of the most experimental photographers working in the Americas’[11] when the lionized Swiss American scientist Louis Agassiz found him in Rio de Janiero. But of Louis Agassiz, the powerful professor at Harvard, where he is still celebrated as the founder of its Museum of Comparative Zoology, who believed that black and white people were different species, we know a lot. Thanks to his celebrity status as one of his biographers Edward Lurie describes as the first ‘pop scientist’, and his hugely successful and lucrative career at Harvard, helped later by his equally politically powerful second wife, the archive of Agassiz’ work, letters and life, have been faithfully preserved. And they are voluminous.

Figure 3. Augusto Stahl, Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, c.1865

The Harvard museum’s website summarizes Agassiz thus:

“Agassiz promoted a new discipline called “comparative zoology,” endorsing the classification of living things based on their similar structures, which he believed were only explainable through their divine creation. Agassiz’s message was greatly received in Boston and he was eventually installed as a professor at Harvard University. He immediately began to work towards obtaining funds to house his collections of specimen and books, hiring assistants, creating curatorships, sending students on collecting trips and printing illustrated volumes of research. Agassiz’s vision included a museum that would illustrate patterns of organic similarity through morphology, embryology, paleontology and geographic distribution, with its primary objective to provide material for scientific research for professionals.” [12]


That ‘material’, in the case of the photos Agassiz commissioned in Brazil, has been erased from all institutional discourse, and the little scholarly attention they have received has yet to touch on this very sensitive topic. And yet Agassiz was very much the operator in these pictures, taken during an expedition funded by a local Bostonian businessman, Nathanial Thayer. [13] The studium, the “knowledge and civility, ‘politeness’”, was very much sanctioned by the scientific establishment. In, what we now in shorthand refer to as ‘nineteenth century scientific racism’, Agassiz may have been one of the first, but he was no means to be the last person to use photography in an attempt to prove the superiority of the white man. On a dark historical narrative that can take us from Dr Samuel Moreton through to the eugenicist Francis Galton however, strangely, the man of Harvard barely appears. But something else, some contingency, is at play in the images that this expedition funded. Going back through time, today, as spectators, they are initially hidden from us and we are only given special access, academic clearance if you like, by Harvard if we are ‘scholars’. Previous to that, for a century and half they were left in a dusty drawer in the attic of the museum only to be discovered very recently, and if you read the official biographies of Louis Agassiz at Harvard, where he is still celebrated, not just as the founder of its Museum of Comparative Zoology, but a father of popular science and inventor of the Ice Age, the pictures don’t exist at all. An eerie silence regarding his use of ‘human specimens’ hangs over all the official Harvard texts, an elision that makes the ‘missing’ nude slave portraits all the more disquieting.


Christoph Irmscher, Agassiz’ second biographer is one of the few scholars to paint a more detailed picture of Agassiz himself: “an irascible, impatient, unpredictable professor who insisted that whatever his students did in the laboratory belonged to him; a savvy navigator of contemporary academic politics, who had Harvard presidents and Massachusetts businessmen eating out of his hand; a self-declared expert on the human races who required that slaves (first in the American South and then in Brazil) pose for demeaning photographs so that he could entertain himself and others by pointing out the alleged physical deficiencies that separated them from the white master race.  Agassiz’ racist theorizing did a lot of damage, and there is little comfort to be derived from the fact that his views were embraced even by some of the abolitionists among his friends.”[14]


Wood writes; “While Agassiz’s commissioned portraits of American slaves have become a charged and indeed contested site within the visual archive of slavery there is a strange silence that hangs over the far larger surviving body of work that is Agassiz’s researches generated in Brazil.”[15] Referring to the daguerreotypes of American slaves Agassiz commissioned in South Carolina in 1850, Wood suggests that they ‘may have been set up from a distance as exercises in the observation of types, but what we are confronted with in the faces of the bodies is very human flesh, and the images of certain of the slaves, for example ‘Renty.’ “These bodies are not types, but absolutely individualized; they have suffered and labored and the signs of personal history are written upon each one of them.”[16]


Wood’s analysis is picture perfect, raising our awareness of the extent of control Agassiz the scientist had over how these images were staged and made; the point at which the power of photography, whether it was the protracted and potentially more intimate procedure of the daguerreotype that the photographer J. T. Zealy used in North America, or the more efficient wet collodian print of Stahl, it went almost beyond the operator and bestowed upon its subjects a humanity that overreached beyond the social stage of the power dynamics of the portrait. What has not been discussed in any detail however, is the critical point of consent at which the subjects were told to undress. This is the pivotal axis of representational politics on which the ethics of these images lie.


Anthropology and Photography – The Uses and Misuses of Science


“I went to the photographic establishment and was cautiously admitted by Hunnewell with his black hands. On entering the room found Prof. engaged with cajoling three mocas whom he called pure Indians, but who I thought as afterwards appeared, had white blood. They were very nicely dressed in white muslin and jewellery with flowers in their hair and excellent smell of pripioca. Apparently refined, not at all sluttish, they consented to the utmost liberties being taken with them and too without much trouble were induced to strip and pose naked. While we were there Sr. Tavares Bastos came in and asked me mockingly if I was attached to the Bureau of Anthropology. [17]


This remarkably revealing extract, also dated 1865, is taken from the diary of William James, brother of the famous novelist Henry James who was a Harvard medical student at the time and part of Agassiz’s Thayer expedition. With searing accuracy and pathos, it sets the scene for the commission Stahl accepted from the Agassiz that same year. It also describes with painful precision, the moment when the true intentions of the photographic encounter were realized, the false pretenses of the subjects’ participation exposed and if we are to take his grammatical accuracy to be the standard of his brother’s, ‘utmost liberties’ ‘too’ were taken, over and above the mere undressing.


Anthropologist Gwyniera Issac in her essay “Separate Creations” focusses on James’ comments as ‘articulating his doubts of the ‘scientific’ nature of the event’[18], which is a crucially important aspect of the picture’s historical reappraisal, but it is very much only part of the problem here. The question that has yet to be asked, is under what pretext were the subjects brought into the studio in the first place? The point at which that potential deception and Agassiz’ credibility as a scientist collide, identifies a new and valuable critical space from which to question the dominant historical narrative, or at least reopen the discussion. In a Benjamin sense, that ‘tiny spark of contingency’,[19] is more than what Isaac describes as a “clash of cultures and mores’[20], and James’ ‘suspicion over the nature of the investigations and the use of technology’. It is a moment of departure from the veracity of the whole encounter. It could also be argued that it is the moment that the professional reputation of Louis Agassiz, a man after whom Harvard theatres, lakes and mountains are named, could retrospectively fall apart. Issac writes;


“A late twentieth-century viewpoint of the Brazilian photographs is appropriately concerned with the subjects’ response to the emphasis placed on the exposed bodies by the foreign scientists. Were they willing models, and if so, what did they hope to gain from this endeavor? The excerpt from Elizabeth Agassiz’s journal states that the local population were afraid of what the photograph would take away from them. Many of those photographed may have been servants or slaves and therefore part of controlled labor, but there is no proof that they were forced to have their pictures taken. In fact Elizabeth Agassiz writes that once people had seen images of the initial subjects, they were more willing to be photographed themselves”[21].


What I find surprising here is how Issac overlooks James’ explicit description of how the subjects were ‘cajoled’ into undressing, the patent discomfort that is written into their facial expressions and the blatantly exploitative power dynamics at play.

Figure 4. Walter Hunnewell, Woman Frontal Portrait, Manaus, c. 1865



Figure 5. Walter Hunnewell,  Woman Side Portrait, Manaus, c. 1865

It is a moment, described by James, which one can imagine happening all too fast. It is also a moment of crushed expectations, where the subjects came dressed in their ‘Sunday best’, with a sense of occasion and perhaps mild grandeur, ready to participate in this great new democratizing phenomena that was the photographic portrait. Issac also doesn’t question which images Elizabeth Agassiz was referring to as the ones being shown to the subjects to persuade them to be photographed again, nor does she sufficiently acknowledge the novelty of the photographic experience of which they may have wanted to be a part.  Whilst being wary of conjecture, it is still possible to suggest that the subjects were duped; invited to pose for cartes des visites, then taken out the back and asked to strip.


John Monteiro, in his essay ‘Mr Hunnewell’s Black Hands and the “Mixed Races” of Manaus’, does focus directly on the same diary extract from James, whose observations ‘provide an interesting key to the dark side of pioneering photographic endeavor’[22], whilst also pointing out that other pages from James’ journal appear to be missing, ‘possibly censored by his descendants’[23]. According to Monteiro’s research, the expedition that had ‘planned to use Manaus as a base for excursions into the vast network of rivers and streams to collect known and unknown fish species, had found itself stranded in the city for well over a month, due to a shortage of alcohol, which was needed in the collecting enterprise. Agassiz was anxious to remain busy. With this in mind, Agassiz instructed Hunnewell to make “a great many characteristic photographs of Indians and Negroes, and half-breeds between both races and Whites.”’ Monteiro continues “all these portraits represent the individuals selected in three normal positions, in full face, in perfect profile, and from behind.” Except they did not. Even taking into account the fact that some of the pictures could have been lost, there is a notable lack of order apparent in the whole series, not least as Hunnewell lacked the technical skill of Stahl to manufacture the composite triptych of the front, back and side profile that was to become so commonly used in phrenological photography of the early twentieth century.


Letting James into the makeshift studio, with ‘his black hands’ confirms that they had the latest photographic technology, that of the wet collodian print, as opposed to the daguerreotype, to hand.  This process was not only going to revolutionize the production and thereby circulation of the images they could produce, but the whole economy of photography itself; one that moved the whole industry at the time to the carte des visites and the pictures of Stahl’s contemporary, Christiano Junior, whose work I shall come to presently. The extract also refers to the anthropological photography that predated 1865, particularly in Brazil which presumably Agassiz would have seen, of naked tribes people taken by Claude Levi Strauss and others in the name of anthopology. And one wonders how familiar the expedition group would have been with Agassiz’s first commission back in his own country, and, to us, the equally problematic daguerreotypes taken again of naked slaves by J. T. Zealy in South Carolina in 1850. Both these elements of the text highlight issues that fall under the second category of Poole’s visual economy, that of circulation. So first, more importantly, let us look at what James points us to so directly and so vividly; the pivotal moment of consent. Consent, or the lack thereof, also, most obviously being the central aspect that defines and enshrines the institution of slavery itself.


Monteiro picking up on the same passage, goes even deeper:


“Hunnewell’s caution in admitting James and allowing him to see what was really going on in the studio indicates that the whole operation was shrouded in secrecy, compared to Agassiz’s boasts of compiling a valuable series of scientific images for serious study. While some of the subjects indeed appear completely naked in positioned poses, most of the women in the mixed race series are only partially undressed, and it would seem that the very act of the women undressing before the camera, with their tops turned down, or with their disheveled dresses lying at their feet, implied a very different intention that the depiction of nude ethnic types for the purpose of somatic comparison.”[24]

Figure 6. Walter Hunnewell, Female Portrait, Manaus, c. 1865


Monteiro is right. We really are left wondering why women who had put so much effort into their appearance would toss their clothes on the ground. And what happened to the makeshift ‘studio’ to which Elizabeth Agassiz refers? Why, indeed, was it only women who were being photographed, not the men and in fact also an alarmingly young boy who were in Stahl’s cohort? Why did James depart from the expedition early? Hunnewell also took up immediate employment away from Agassiz on his return to the US in 1876 on the railroads, not quite the dream Agassiz had in mind for his group of sycophants, and Monteiro points out that when the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro had lunch in Wellesley, Massachusetts with Hunnewell’s father, there is no evidence that Walter was present. Nancy Stepan[25] suggests that some scandal developed. Mere speculation would be enough to want the story silenced, but who are we, one might ask, to police history?


Visual economy and the circulation of the Cartes des Visites


An illustration in the social journal Semana Illustrada (Fig. 7) which came out in Rio just months after the slave portraits were taken, showing a caricature of a black woman having her portrait taken in a professional studio, indicates just how common cartes des visites of Afro-Brazilian women had become, exactly around the period of 1865. The exaggeration of the costume, the giant turban and the pano da costa, is all part of the mockery of the vanity implied. As Robert Levine says in his essay on that other important set of slave portraits by the Portuguese photographer, Christiano Junior;

Figure 7. Henry Fleuiss, ‘Photographo’, lithograph, Semana Illustrada, 28 January 1866


“Most of the first Latin American photographers were foreigners, some of whom came to make quick profits and others who stayed as immigrants. Like all early cameramen, they were primarily businessmen, and responded to the commercial marketplace…..Yet while local clients were satisfied with studio portraits rarely distinguishable from one another, foreign consumers of photographic images coveted views of unusual scenery and exotic scenery, especially ‘natives’ portrayed colourfully. As a result, views of Latin American “types” (as they were known) commanded a premium.”[26]

Figure 8. Augusto Stahl. ‘Tapa Mina’, glass plate collodion, c. 1865


It is therefore very likely that all of the people that would have sat for Stahl, Junior or even Hunnewell, a white man with a camera after all, or any of the other photographers that history may have forgotten, would have assumed that their inclusion, insertion if you like, into that ‘image world’, would be a place they could take up with dignity. Stahl’s portraits are startling superior both technically and aesthetically to Hunnewell’s and in Figure 8, the tension of the inherent power struggle is palpable; the woman’s confrontational gaze, her shirt having obviously been pulled down below the point of comfort, her modesty compromised only to reveal, with the startling clarity of the wet collodian print, a scar, described by Wood as ‘the deep keloid scarring typical of whipping’[27]. Comparing the portraits by Stahl and Junior tells us a lot also, as the purely commercial context of Junior does bestow a nobility on his subjects. The exchange is more straight forward, although still by no means simple. He garners all the props, typical of the organization of the cartes des visites, albeit awkwardly, around them. All except one, a very young girl posed naked from the waist; ‘the result clearly transmits the degradation to which non-elite women were subject to society’[28], writes Levine. But again, it is more than that and to go back to Barthe’s phraseology, the ‘studium’ is probably less ‘polite’.


But what of the spectator? Like Stahl’s photographs, Junior’s too languished invisible for over a century, in Junior’s case, in the Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage, Rio de Janiero and were not bought to the attention of the public till 1988, the year commemorating the abolition of slavery in Brazil. In Andrea L. Volpe’s essay, “Archival Meaning: Materiality, Digitization, and the Nineteenth Century Photograph”[29], she draws our attention to the new digitized world and the whole different set of spectators it creates. “Ever since the 1980s, when daguerreotypes of Sea Island Slaves commissioned by Louis Agassiz turned up in a storage cabinet, there has been a lot to say about the terms on which knowledge was constructed through the twin institutions of the nineteenth century museum and photography.”

2004.1.436.1.91; 98720024
Figure 9. Louis Agassiz Photographic Collection. Pure Race Series, Apollo vom Belvedere. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University


What is interesting looking at Agassiz’s photographic archive from the Thayer expedition online, as opposed to in person, is that it is only through prior knowledge that we can take the time to read the archival notes and remember that Agassiz inserted between the prints of slaves, postcards of Greek statues ( Fig. 7) by way of blunt, figurative comparison.


Harvard do not have an official statement on Louis Aggasiz, nor do Peabody have policy on who can see the photographs he commissioned[30], but that may change. On 6 April, 2016, Harvard President Drew Faust unveiled a plaque to honor four slaves who worked at the school in the 1700s, as part of a new push by the college to acknowledge slavery’s role in its history. She has set up a committee of historians to advise her on additional ways Harvard should remember its own ties with slavery and, according to the Boston Globe, plans to hold a conference on slavery soon. In an opinion piece in the Harvard Crimson a week earlier, Faust wrote this;


“Although we embrace and regularly celebrate the storied traditions of our nearly 400 year history, slavery is an aspect of Harvard’s past that has rarely been acknowledged or invoked…If we can better understand how oppression and exploitation could seem commonplace to so many of those who built Harvard, we may better equip ourselves to combat our own shortcomings and to advance justice and equality in our own time. At its heart, this endeavor must be about “Veritas,” about developing a clear-sighted view of our past that can enable us to create a better future.”[31]


Photography is good for that. Benjamin’s ‘tiny spark of contingency’, that ‘inconspicuous spot where the future nests so eloquently’ might yet wield more power than those Boston boys could ever have imagined, all the way back in 1865.





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[1] Walter Benjamin, ‘A Small History of Photography’, in One Way Street and Other Writings

[2] Christopher Pinney and Nicolas Peterson, ‘Photography’s Other Histories’, (Duke University Press) introduction

[3] Deborah Poole, ‘Vision, Race, and Modernity. A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World’, (Princeton Paperbacks) p.7

[4] Poole, ‘Vision’, p.7

[5] Poole, “Vision’, p.7

[6] Brian Wallis, ‘Black Bodies, White Science’, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 7/1/1996, Issue 12, p. 1

[7] Molly Rogers, ‘Delia’s Tears’, Foreword by David W. Blight (Yale University Press) p. ix

[8] Roland Barthes, ‘Camera Lucida’, (Penguin) p.27

[9] Marcus Wood, ‘Black Milk, Imagining Slavery in the Visual Cultures of Brazil and America’, (Oxford University Press, 2013) p. 275

[10] Barthes, ‘Camera Lucida’’, p.28

[11] Wood, “Black Milk”, p. 273

[12] About MCZ, History, Museum of Comparative Zoology website, Harvard University, (accessed April, 2016)

[13] Full text of ‘Stations of the Thayer Expedition to Brazil 1865- 1866; “Although the major part of the work was done on the distribution and relationships of the fresh water fishes (Agassiz’s prime interest) many superb collections were made of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Thorough geological surveys provided much information on the structure of Brazil.” http:biodiversitylibrary.or/item/22496. Cambridge, Mass., Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.

[14] Christoph Irmscher, “The Ambiguous Agassiz”, Humanities. Nov/Dec 2013, Vol.34 Issue 6, p16-51. 5p.

[15] Wood, “Black Milk”

[16] Wood, “Black Milk”

[17] William James, ‘Brazilian Expedition Diary and Sketchbook,’ William James Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University, 1865.

[18] Gwyniera Issac, ‘Louis Agassiz’s photographs in Brazil: Separate creations’ (1997), p. 8

[19] Benjamin, ‘A Small History of Photography’

[20] Isaacs, ‘Separate Creations’, p. 6

[21] Isaacs, ‘Separate Creations’, p. 8

[22] John Monteiro, ‘Mr Hunnewell’s Black Hands and the “Mixed Races” of Manaus’, (2012), p. 5

[23] Monteiro, “Mr Hunnewell’s Black Hands’, p. 5

[24] Monteiro, ‘Mr Hunnewell’s Black Hands’, p. 5

[25] Nancy Stepan, ‘Picturing Tropical Nature’ (Reaktion Books)

[26] Robert M. Levine, ‘Faces of Brazilian Slavery: The Cartes des Visites of Christiano Junior’, The Americas, Vol.47, Issue 2, p. 127

[27] Wood, “Black Milk’, p. 282

[28] Levine, “Faces of Brazilian Slavery’.

[29] Andrea L. Volpe, ‘Archival Meaning; Materiality, Digitization, and the Nineteenth Century Photograph, Afterimage, May/June 2009, Vol. 36 Issue 6, p. 2

[30] I emailed Ilisha Barbash, Curator of Visual Anthropology, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology who wrote the following: “To our knowledge there is no formal university statement about Agassiz’s work” and regarding the images; “All have been digitized and are available to view upon request.” (28 April, 2016).

[31] Drew G. Faust, ‘Recognising Slavery at Harvard’, The Harvard Crimson, <; [accessed April 30, 2016]