Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Michael Rockefeller

Michael Rockefeller

New Guinea Photographs, 1961

Kevin Bubriski

ISBN 9780873658065

Publication date: 03/31/2007

From April to August 1961, recent Harvard graduate Michael Clark Rockefeller was sound recordist and still photographer on a remarkable multidisciplinary expedition to the Dani people of highland New Guinea. In five short months he produced a wonderful body of work, including over 4,000 black-and-white negatives.

In this catalogue, photographer Kevin Bubriski explores Rockefeller's journey into the culture and community of the Dani and into rapport with the people whose lives he chronicled. The book reveals not only the young photographer's growing fluency in the language of the camera, but also the development of his personal way of seeing the Dani world around him. Although Rockefeller's life was cut tragically short on an expedition to the Asmat in the fall of 1961, his photographs are as vivid today as they were the moment they were made.

Featuring over 75 photographs, this beautiful volume is the first publication of a substantial body of Michael Rockefeller's visual legacy. Rockefeller's extraordinary photographs reveal both the resilient spirit of the Dani people and the anthropological and aesthetic eye of a young man full of promise. In a Foreword, Robert Gardner provides a personal recollection of Michael Rockefeller's experience in the New Guinea highlands.

Praise

  • Scenes of tribal life possess a certain beauty and innocence, and this volume is made all the more poignant by the fact that [Rockefeller] did not get to continue his work, for he disappeared while on his next expedition. The documents reproduced here are a fascinating first look at the considerable talent of this anthropologist with a camera.

    —Black & White Magazine

Authors

  • Kevin Bubriski, a documentary photographer, has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fulbright, and NEA fellowships, and his photographs are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. He curated an exhibit of Michael Rockefeller’s photographs at the Harvard Peabody Museum.
  • Robert Gardner was a nonfiction filmmaker, author, and founder of the Film Study Center at Harvard. His films include Dead Birds and Forest of Bliss.

Book Details

  • 96 pages
  • Peabody Museum Press
  • Foreword by Robert Gardner
  • Photographs by Michael Rockefeller

Recommendations