Norwegian version of this page

People meeting people. Carl Lumholtz's photographs from Mexico and Arizona 1890-1910.

Between 1890 and 1910 the Norwegian explorer Carl Lumholtz spent 6 years and 8 months of his life travelling in Mexico – in the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Sonora Desert, to learn more about the indigenous peoples living there.

Image may contain: People, Tribe, Adaptation.

Ta-Te-Wa-Li, the God of Fire (the most ancient idol), surrounded by Ceremonial Arrows stuck into Ceremonial Chairs, and some officers of the Temple. Te-akata, near Santa Catarina, December 1, 1895. Photo: Museum of Cultural History, Oslo/Carl Lumholtz.                                                                                                                                           

He travelled with the support of friends, sponsors and large institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History and American Geographical Society. He learnt to photograph along the way and wrote down his observations. The knowledge he shared to a very large audience, through his books and numerous articles and lectures, gave him much respect and turned him into a celebrity, both in the US and in Norway. Today, however strong his memory stays in Mexico, most people have forgotten about him Norway.

Already in 1892 Carl Lumholtz realized that to gain the confidence of the often very wary people he met he had to dispose of his initially large travel party. In the sole Company of local guides and a translator he continued to explore rough and uninviting landscapes in his search for man still "untouched by civilization".

A hundred years later we meet, through the photographs presented in this exhibition, the people Carl Lumholtz encountered. The portraits and groups of individuals he photographed are a unique documentation of cultures he feared would disappear, and show us a world few Europeans had visited before him. Due to Carl Lumholtz’s genuine interest in learning about and from people he met he gradually won over their skepticism. His photographs depict their reality and portray their dignity.

Published Nov. 19, 2013 10:14 AM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2022 3:31 PM