Dating nineteenth century photographs
Hence I start by attempting to put together an outline history of photography in what became, in the 19th century, the Gold Coast Colony, in order to provide us with a framework for our thinking about visual sources on Asante in the same period.I begin with some simple quantitative statements about the chronology of photography in Ghana as documented in our Archive.It can soberly be proposed that the Basel Mission collection can be extrapolated to indicate what is probably still waiting to be uncovered in other places and catalogued by people who know what they are looking for.
Elles témoignent de la curiosité du public européen envers l’Asante indépendant. After a presentation of quantitative data, and a discussion of five missionaries known to have taken photographs between the 1850s and 1914, the author questions the potential of these pictures as sources of Asante history.In other words it does make sense to regard this collection as a particularly well-preserved fossil which gives us strong clues to life in a whole forgotten landscape.It can, in this sense, guide our thoughts to what may well have existed in other parts of the world in the way of holdings of photographs at the end of the 19th century.And this leads me into a discussion of what we know about photography and Asante.
In brief, in relation to Asante, I argue that there is a great contrast between the Colony, in which photography was evidently an often-practised art, and independent Asante, where one suspects it was proscribed, if not formally then in practice as no part of the narrow selection of elements of Western culture which leading circles were prepared to adapt.I looked closely at the photo (it was beginning to tarnish around the edges. I focused on the ads dotted throughout the paper and saw a few for daguerreotypers. Martin’s “Excelsior Gallery.” According to the ad it was located across from Combs and Brothers book store. However, suspicious by nature and still doubtful of the protective case it came in (known often as a “union case” I learned from my research), I wanted an expert eye to look at it.