29 is this not imperialist nostalgia at its best

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29 Is this not imperialist nostalgia at its best-potent expression of longing for the "primitive"? One desires "a bit of the Other" to enhance the blank landscape of whiteness. Nothing is said in the text about Egyptian people, yet their images are spread throughout its pages. Often their faces are blurred by the camera, a strategy which ensures that readers will not become more enthralled by the images of Otherness than those of whiteness. The point of this photographic attempt at defamiliarization is to distance us from whiteness, so that we will return to it more intently. In most of the "snapshots, " all carefully selected and posed, there is no mutual looking. One desires contact with the Other even as one wishes boundaries to remain intact. When bodies contact one another, touch, it almost always a white hand doing the touching, white hands that rest on the bodies of colored people, unless the Other is a child. One snapshot of "intimate" contact shows two women with their anns linked, the way close friends might link anns. One is an Egyptian woman identified by a caption that reads ''with her husband and baby, Ahmedio A'bass, 22, leads a gypsy's life"; the second woman is a white-skinned model. The linked hands suggest that these two women share something, have a basis of contact and indeed they do, they resemble one another, look more alike than different. The message again is that "primitivism," though more apparent in the Other, also resides in the white self. It is not the world of Egypt, of "gypsy" life, that is affIrmed by this snapshot, but the ability of white people to roam the world, making contact. Wearing pants while standing next to her dark !'sister"·who wears· a traditional skirt, the white woman appears to be cross-dressing (an ongoing theme in Tweeds). Visually the image sug- gests that she and first world white women like her are liberated, have greater freedom to roam than darker women who live peripatetic lifestyles. Significantly, the catalogue that followed this one focused on Norway. There the people of Norway are not represented, only the scenery. Are we to assume that white folks from this country are as at "home" in Norway as they are here so there is no need for captions and
30 BLACK LOOKS explanations? In this visual text, whiteness is the unifying feature-not culture. Of course, for Tweeds to exploit Otherness to dramatize "whiteness" while in Egypt, it cannot include darker-skinned models since the play on contrasts that Is meant to highlight "whiteness" could not happen nor could the exploitation that urges consumption of the Other whet the appetite in quite the same way; just as inclusion of darker-skinned models in the Norway issue might suggest dlat the west is not as unified by whiteness as this visual text suggests. Essentially speaking, both catalogues evoke a sense that white people are homo- ~ geneous and share "white bread culture." Those progressive white intellectuals who are particularly critical of "essentialist" notions of identity when writing about mass culture, race, and gender

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