Galton's eugenics, Jewish portraits, 1878

Galton's eugenics, Jewish portraits, 1878

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This image is part of the feature The First Scientific Photographers


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Caption: Galton's eugenics, Jewish portraits, 1878. 'The Jewish Type' from Pearson's 'Life of Galton'. Galton developed (initially in parallel with Herbert Spencer) the idea and method of combining images, (Galton used negative exposures) of the faces of a number of individuals sharing a perceived 'characteristic' (health, race, profession, criminality etc) to gain an average type. He believed his findings would help in medical diagnosis, criminal investigations, etc. The composite of 'The Jewish Type' was taken as being successful and helpful in anthropological research and identification of generic lines of descent. Galton believed composite photography scientifically formalised the physical traits people use everyday to make classification judgements of people. But Galton's role as the father of eugenics, and the holocaust of WWII give this photograph special poignance.

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Keywords: 1800s, 1878, 19th century, anthropology, black and white, black-and-white, british, composite, eugenics, faces, features, francis, front, full face, galton, herbert spencer, human, identification, jewish, monochrome, people, person, photographs, photography, profile, race, racial, type, victorian

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