LeGrand Lockwood

William Bradford dedicated Arctic Regions to the memory of businessman and financier LeGrand Lockwood. Bradford stating that Lockwood was “widely known for his generous patronage of the arts and for his acts of unselfish benevolence.”

Arctic Region's Dedication

Lockwood was, as described by  Steve Lubar in a talk delivered at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, an enthusiastic adopter of the new technologies. Bradford’s use of photography to aid in his creative process, and in the end his painting, may have been influenced through his connection to Lockwood. Unfortunately for Bradford Lockwood’s financial support didn’t materialize, Bradford was left to cover the expenses from the 1869 voyage on his own less the amount contributed by other passengers. [1]

 

[1] Kugler, Richard C. William Bradford: Sailing Ships and Arctic Seas. New Bedford, Mass.: New Bedford Whaling Museum, 2003

“The Motliest-Looking Crowd That It Was Ever My Fortune To Encounter”: Photographs of Native North Americans in The Arctic Regions

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in Arctic Visions, Photography | 3 Comments

Submitted by guest blogger, George Schwartz. He is a doctoral candidate in American & New England Studies at Boston University. For twelve years he was as an Assistant Curator in the Maritime Art and History and Exhibitions and Research departments at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where he contributed to a pair of Polar art exhibitions. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled “Collecting and Arranging the Most Important Aids to a History of the Globe”: A Reconsideration of the Salem East India Marine Society in the Context of Antebellum American Museology.

An aspect of The Arctic Regions that has not received enough critical attention in the prior scholarly analyses of the volume is the twenty-five plates depicting native inhabitants from Greenland.1 Some photographs are quite shocking examples of an imperialist gaze common in the many travel volumes of the Orient during this time, such as the poor Inuit boy in Plate 120 who stares in fear at the camera (fig. 1).

Fig. 1. John. L. Dunmore (fl.1860-1875) and George Critcherson (1823-1892), Esquimaux Wide Awake. He Kept His Eye on the Camera While Being Photographed, Expecting It Would Go Off or Hurt Him in Some Way.
 Plate 120 from The Arctic Regions

Fig. 1. John. L. Dunmore (fl.1860-1875)  and George Critcherson (1823-1892) ‘Esquimaux Wide Awake.’

 

Fig. 2. John. L. Dunmore (fl.1860-1875) and George Critcherson (1823-1892), Head of an Esquimaux Man. Unnumbered plate from The Arctic Regions.
 Albumen print.

Fig. 2. John. L. Dunmore (fl.1860-1875)  and George Critcherson (1823-1892). ‘Head of an Esquimaux Man.’

Fig. 3. John. L. Dunmore (fl.1860-1875) and George Critcherson (1823-1892), Young Esquimaux Woman, One of the Fair Dancers. Plate 15 from The Arctic Regions.
Albumen print.

Fig. 3. John. L. Dunmore (fl.1860-1875 and George Critcherson (1823-1892),’ Young Esquimaux Woman, One of the Fair Dancer’s.’

Why has this aspect of Bradford’s book been overlooked? J.C.H. King and Henrietta Lidchi in the Department of Ethnography at The British Museum argue that while the list of atrocities committed by the United States government towards Native American tribes was mounting by 1869, this was not so much the case for native Greenlanders. “For Eskimoan peoples there were no equivalent cycles of violence and romanticism, no clash between the urban and frontier understanding of Arctic people. Instead, the Eskimo was usually a heroic figure, frequently a helper and provider of food, never a hostile [people]…In a very real sense native peoples in the Arctic remained noble savages in a way that American Indians did not. There was no comparable ‘fall from grace.’” 2 This view presents another dichotomy in a volume filled with dualities as many of Dunmore and Critcherson’s photographs and Bradford’s narrative text pertaining to native people in The Arctic Regions still treat them as a visual spectacle—and as a lower race—in concert with Victorian attitudes. (There is historical precedent for this depiction of Arctic natives, discussed in great detail by Russell A. Potter in his 2007 volume Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1885.)

Bradford’s interest in ethnography did not begin on the Panther expedition. On his earlier voyages to Labrador, he collected kayaks, canoes, fishing gear, and other Inuit artifacts at this time and on subsequent voyages, and created a studio display that one visitor noted as “one great cabinet of northern curiosities.”3 The following year, Bradford had William H. Pierce—another James Wallace Black studio photographer—take photographs of Inuit people. Potter notes that one photograph was not a fortunate snap shot but a carefully staged picture: “Bradford and Pierce had the Inuit erect a skin tupiq, heap up an array of sleds, kayaks, and other personal effects, then pose in front of it almost as though it were a theatrical backdrop.”4 This “truthful” image shows that Bradford worked with his photographers in constructing understanding of non-Western people.

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