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Anthropologists have long thought critically about modes of ethnographic representation. Recently, there has been renewed attention to the role of vision and aesthetics in ethnographic film and in photography, and, more generally, in alternative forms of ethnographic expression. Cultural Anthropology invites submissions using the visual as such—as a mode of inquiry and an opening or invitation to see and represent in new ways. The photo essay feature was inaugurated with Danny Hoffman's essay, “Corpus: Mining the Border,” which was published online with the November 2012 issue.

With this new feature the journal seeks to engage in discussions about visual content and aesthetics as well as procedure and review. We aim to publish photo essays in a dynamic format online that includes comments and reviews that put the author in direct dialogue with the viewer. The essays will also explore alternative peer-review formats in an attempt to initiate new modes of collaboration and critical standards for visual content. Cultural Anthropology is committed to keeping up with modes of ethnographic inquiry as they morph alongside new theoretical and technological literacies. The photo essay feature welcomes contributions engaged in visual work that is both empirically grounded and theoretically provocative.

All photo essay images are displayed within a 1,600 × 1,000 pixel frame. To ensure optimal quality, authors can resize photos to fit within these dimensions, that is, portrait photos have a maximum height of 1,000 pixels and landscape photos have a maximum width of 1,600 pixels. If a photo is larger than these dimensions, it will be automatically resized to fit within the frame, while maintaining its original aspect ratio.