In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Portuguese government began the construction of a railway in the Moçâmedes district, in the south of its colony of Angola. The works and afterwards the operation produced a fair collection of photographs, which is studied in this paper. Drawing from the assumption that, despite what its promoters touted, photography is a highly subjective document, I explain in this article the representations embedded in those images, using a methodology combining semiotics with photojournalism analysis. I show how photography was used to build an image of Portugal as a modern and technological nation with imperial leaning that did its part on the mission of civilising Africa and educating its inhabitants in the European ways, albeit many times with discriminatory and racist attitudes. Therefore, I add to the debate about photography as a tool of Empire.
|Translated title of the contribution||Visions of the Empire: The photo collection of the survey and construction brigade of the Moçâmedes railway (c. 1907 - c. 1914)|
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||Revista de Historia da Sociedade e da Cultura|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2020|