In search of a multi-perspective: turning the photographic legacy of an amateur photographer into a university's digital collection
(University of Augsburg, Germany)
Susanne Krawietz (Augsburg University)
Leonie Herrmann (Augsburg University)
Paper short abstract:
This contribution elucidates the challenges and opportunities presented by the collection of pictures of amateur photographer Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Schirp¬, while reflecting on how to welcome a diversity of perspectives by the contextualization and the interpretation of these photographs.
Paper long abstract:
In 2013 the digital versions of about 300 pictures, taken by amateur photographer Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Schirp Laabs (Aachen, 1886 - Mexico City, 1948) mostly in Yucatán, were donated to the Department of European Anthropology of the University of Augsburg to create a digital collection for non-profit usage by the scholarly and academic community worldwide. The pictures document various social, cultural and political events that this immigrant observed, but also consciously constructed, during his years as an immigrant in the Mayab. Schirp Laabs migrated into México in 1905, where he worked for the Siemens & Halske electric plant in Mérida, Yucatán. He documented not only work activities at the electric plant, but also community reunions, daily and special rituals, day trips, family events, important people of that time, political demonstrations as well as the urbanization process of Yucatán's capital. This contribution elucidates the challenges and opportunities that this material per se poses for the group working on this collection, composed by students, lecturers and researchers. It also reflects on the possibilities for processing the images, and on how to welcome a diversity of perspectives by the contextualization and the interpretation of these photographs.
Archiving Photographs and Photographing Archives