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July 21, 2011
Karen Strassler Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java Objects/Histories: Critical Perspectives on Art, Material Culture, and Representation. Ed. Nicholas Thomas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. 387 pp.; 32 color ills.; 95 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (9780822346111)

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Refracted Visions is a substantial and well-researched study of contemporary popular photography in Indonesia, a result of anthropologist Karen Strassler’s extensive fieldwork in Java since the mid-1990s, which covers a period when analog photography was still dominant. While the book provides adequate historical background into the consolidation of popular photography since the colonial era, its focus is on six genres, each given a separate chapter treatment: amateur photography (chapter 1), studio portraiture (chapter 2), identity...