Teacher guide Felice Beato's Japan: people - an album by the pioneer foreign photographer in Yokohama, c1869 - essay by Alona Wilson

TLF ID M007093

This is a collection of online materials centring on a richly illustrated essay by Alona Wilson. The essay is about the photgrapher Felice Beato and an album of 50 photographs of Japanese people that he compiled about 1869. As well as the essay, the collection includes a glossary of photographic terms, a chronology of Beato's life and transcripts of the captions that accompany the images in the album. At least one of the photographs of punishments may be disturbing for students.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This collection of materials, providing a wealth of visual sources, is valuable for history in year 9, particularly for the comparative depth study of the ways of life in cities in Asia and Australia. The photographs of men, women and children in the treaty port of Yokohama show street scenes, forms of transport, entertainments and occupations. The collection shows a group of people living on the cusp of change at the time of Japan's transition from a feudal society.
  • As Alona Wilson explains in the essay, the album provides a view of Japanese people in Yokohama as seen through Western imperialist eyes. Beato posed many of the photographs in his studio and his colleague James Murray wrote the captions, many of which contain numerous misconceptions of Japanese culture.
  • The essay illustrates how the images and text together would have provided an exotic cultural experience for Westerners purchasing the album. It also demonstrates how a curatorial perspective can enhance a historical explanation. Wilson is a museum curator specialising in photography.
Year level

9; 10; 11; 12

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Alona Wilson
  • Description: Author
  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Person: Alona Wilson
  • Description: Author
  • Person: Felice Beato
  • Description: Photographer
  • Publisher
  • Name: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: Massachusetts, UNITED STATES
  • URL: http://web.mit.edu/
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Online
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2008 Visualizing Cultures. Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.