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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


"I found this portrait by using the key words related to the chosen zeitgeist topics. When searching through the MAA website I have found several inspiring images which all had something in common with the current topic of student portraiture however, I was drawn to the image seen in the slide above because of the subject’s expression and style in which the image was taken.

The girl in the image is looking straight into the camera, her facial expression looks like she is slightly frowning, and her back is slightly curved which to me took away the seriousness and reflected on the subjects young age and character. The neat haircut and uniform which mentioned in the description of the image is suspected to be a school unform of a US Indian School and contrasts with the amount of jewellery seen on her neck making a simple composition and style interesting as it allows the subject to be properly seen and admired for their individuality."

Half-length portrait of a Navajo girl. Photographed by Charles H. Carpenter, 1904. Black and white print. MAA P.8761.ACH 1

"From 1899 through to 1947 the photographer Charles H. Carpenter captured over 3,000 photographs of the Philippine and Native Americans on their fairgrounds as portraits against simple studio backdrops such as the image presented. I was drawn to this portrait because it connects to my zeitgeist topics well and it is something I am working on currently for one of my projects. I have looked at the backdrop and the atmosphere it created around the overall look of the image which took me back in time to when my own school portraits have been taken.

I thought about how much of a big role these simple rushed shots taken in seconds on an ordinary school day as everybody waits in line used to play when we were young. Before technology took over images were not a part of our everyday lives but an occasional activity during special and important events. School picture day was one of those events. My classic school portraits are still displayed at my mother’s house until this day and became almost a part of the house décor at this point even though they are just standard simple half-length frontal shots taken (for me at least) at the worst possible time."

Final image

School style portrait made of an Anglia Ruskin Photography year 1 student Alexandra Tiffin 2022. 

Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom

Photo by Aleksandra Parzych, March 2022

Further research from the MAA collections


"When searching the MAA website I also found these collections, which caught my attention because of how they are captured and presented in a sequence."




Group 1
Top row: Portrait of Murray Navo, the principal of Hiram Bingham High School. Beru, Kiribati, April-June 2016; Cheah Swee Lean, St Mary's Girls School, Kuala Lumpur; Arts & crafts School, Alor Star, Malaysia. British Official Photograph.
Middle row: Navaho woman. Printed through a vignette mask, photograph by Charles H. Carpenter, 1904Young Maori girl and a young boy, New Zealand, by Jutta Merensky, circa 15 December 1969View of Thimphu valley, Bhutan, by Margaret Williamson, 1974. Williamson Collection.
Bottom row: Portrait of Arouea Bwebewnikua at Hiram Bingham High School, April-June 2016Portrait of staff at Hiram Bingham High School and their families, inside the Jubilee Church.

Group 2
Slides from Hopetown, Guyana/British Guiana, circa 1950. Inside school; Village overseer and village office; Village tailor.

View all the projects by ARU BA Photography students

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.