The Society for Cultural Anthropology began publishing photo essays in 2012, amid wide-ranging discussions about alternative forms of critical ethnographic expression. In 2016, this section was relaunched as a collaboration with the Society for Visual Anthropology known as Writing with Light. While further submissions are no longer being accepted, the peer-reviewed photo essays presented here testify to a fertile period of experimentation and engagement with visual scholarship.

The Writing with Light collective is currently in conversation about next steps for the project; please see the Society for Visual Anthropology website for updates.

Camps and Ruins: Notes from Greece on the Visual Representation of the 2015 “Refugee Crisis”

Camps and Ruins: Notes from Greece on the Visual Representation of the 2015 “Refugee Crisis”

My grandmother had very few photographs from her childhood; I believe there were only two.1 The first photo was one taken in an unknown studio, depicting her en... More

Borderwaters: Conversing with Fluidity at the Dominican Border

Borderwaters: Conversing with Fluidity at the Dominican Border

Wind tugging at my sleeve feet sinking into the sand I stand at the edge where earth touches ocean where the two overlap a gentle coming together at other times... More

“This is about racism and greed”: Photographs of Philadelphia’s Mass School Closures

“This is about racism and greed”: Photographs of Philadelphia’s Mass School Closures

After months of community opposition and protest, on March 7, 2013, the School District of Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission (SRC) voted to close twenty-t... More

Experiments in the Field

Experiments in the Field

Farmers are either disappearing or rock stars (Weiler, Otero, and Wittman 2016; Phillipov and Goodman 2017). If a farm is not reaching economies of scale then i... More

Final Writing with Light Series

Final Writing with Light Series

The Writing with Light collective was a SCA/SVA joint initiative which provided editors and authors the opportunity to focus closely on the photo-essay as a dis... More

Connotative Memories

Connotative Memories

Recent events of violence in São Paulo, Brazil targeting Palestinian, Syrian, as well as Angolan, Nigerian, and Congolese bystanders during a protest against th... More

Debris n-1: Visualizing a Bullerman Erotics

Debris n-1: Visualizing a Bullerman Erotics

In this photo essay I hope to extend the contemplative space of what Bruno Latour (1993, 144) calls a “parliament of things” through the juxtaposition and relat... More

Archiving Postcolonial Modernity: The Foreign Service Family Slide Show

Archiving Postcolonial Modernity: The Foreign Service Family Slide Show

My father worked for the Indian Foreign Service from 1955 to 1982. During this period our nuclear family lived in several countries across Africa, South America... More

Navigating the Anarchy of Debris: Observing the Loss of Material Sovereignty

Navigating the Anarchy of Debris: Observing the Loss of Material Sovereignty

This essay is an immersive exploration of an abandoned industrial site, which addresses the degeneration of materials and the imagery of ruination. By visually ... More

Repetition and Extraordinary Living in the Gaza Camp

Repetition and Extraordinary Living in the Gaza Camp

On a winding two-lane road, just a few kilometers southwest of the ancient city of Jarash, a small refugee camp punctuates the Jordanian landscape. Established ... More