My research interests centre around visual anthropology, including photography, visual culture, aesthetics, film, material culture, contemporary art, and the relation of visual images to ethno-history.
I have been involved in various projects to return collections of anthropological photographs to local communities in New Mexico, Sikkim, and the Solomon Islands and curate exhibitions in those locations. These involved a wide range of strategies for ‘returning’ photographs to individuals and groups, from photographs hung on strings in people’s houses, to major permanent exhibitions.
I have carried out fieldwork in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific in 1998 and in 2000-2001, focusing on links between photography, material culture, and memory, and this formed the basis of my PhD.
I am also currently working on the practical and theoretical connections between anthropology and contemporary art, particularly in relation to the anthropology of the senses. In 2003 I was the co-initiator and co-organiser of Fieldworks: dialogues between art and anthropology, a major 3-day international conference held at Tate Modern, London.
1995 The Impossible Science of Being: dialogues between anthropology and photography Co-author and co-editor. The Photographers’ Gallery, London ISBN 0907879470