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Lessons with Leah: re‐reading the photographic archive of nation in the National Film Board of Canada's Still Photography Division

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Abstract:

This article examines the negotiation of cultural memory within the photographic archive of the nation. As a case study, it focuses on representations of the Arctic and sub‐Arctic in photo‐stories dating from 1955 to 1971 and produced by the NFB Still Photography Division, an organisation that effectively functioned as Canada's national image bank. Photographic representations of the North reveal the dominant model of national identity that implicitly informs the Still Division's original mandate and typically reduced the First Peoples of the North as one of the Canadian nation's ‘Others'. This article proposes visual repatriation as a model for studying the photographic archive and returning agency to those it depicts. Specifically, it introduces ‘Project Naming', a collaborative initiative of the Inuit college Nunavut Sivuniksavut, the Library and Archives Canada and the Nunavut Ministry of Culture.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14725860600613147

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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