• An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque

    Author(s):
    Pages: 392
    Illustrations: 65 b&w illustrations, 38 color plates
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: Objects/Histories
    Series Editor(s): Nicholas Thomas
  • Cloth: $109.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-3751-5
  • Paperback: $29.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-3764-5
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Illustrations ix

    Abbreviations xiii

    Acknowledgments xv

    Introduction: Tropicalization: The Aesthetics and Politics of Space in Jamaica and the Bahamas 1

    1. Framing “The New Jamaica”: Feasting on the Picturesque Tropical Landscape 27

    2. Developing the Tropics: The Politics of the Picturesque in the Bahamas 92

    3. Through the Looking Glass: Visualizing the Sea as Icon of the Bahamas 156

    4. Diving into the Racial Waters of Beach Space in Jamaica: Tropical Modernity and the Myrtle Bank Hotel’s Pool 204

    5. “I Am Rendered Speechless by Your Idea of Beauty”: The Picturesque in History and Art in the Postcolony 252

    Epilogue: Tropical Futures: Civilizing Citizens and Uncivilizing Tourists 297

    Notes 307

    References 331

    Illustration Credits 349

    Index 355
  • Krista Thompson is the winner of the 2009 David C. Driskell Award, presented by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

  • An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography and Framing the Caribbean Landscape, which concentrates on Jamaica and the Bahamas, teases out the issues at stake in promotional representations of the islands in the popular medium of photography (from postcards to slide presentations) and underscores the connections between the visual marketing of the islands and the politics of race. . . . An Eye for the Tropics reveals some essential reflections upon the image-making machinery of tourism.”

    An Eye for the Tropics is a valuable contribution to Caribbean studies. In particular, it does an amiable job in alerting scholars to the problems inherent in regarding postcards and other photographic representations of the region as somehow truer, or more objective, than other historical documents.”

    “A wryly intelligent examination of the ways that postcard and poster depictions of the Caribbean have influenced and been influenced by the island’s tourist economies.”

    “Although it frequently seems that the old adage holds true, and there are really no new ideas under the sun, only new writers (or something to that effect), An Eye for the Tropics reads as a maiden, thoroughly researched, and highly successful journey over previously unexplored territory.”

    “One of the first studies to critically interrogate the visual culture of the Caribbean through the lens of both popular art and fine art, it’s an important book that, no doubt, will continue to force the question of an distinct Caribbean art history, singular from a similarly contentious, African American chronicle, and impacted by the parallel histories of economic underdevelopment in the region and Western nostalgia for a present-day, accessible paradise.”

    Awards

  • Krista Thompson is the winner of the 2009 David C. Driskell Award, presented by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

  • Reviews

  • An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography and Framing the Caribbean Landscape, which concentrates on Jamaica and the Bahamas, teases out the issues at stake in promotional representations of the islands in the popular medium of photography (from postcards to slide presentations) and underscores the connections between the visual marketing of the islands and the politics of race. . . . An Eye for the Tropics reveals some essential reflections upon the image-making machinery of tourism.”

    An Eye for the Tropics is a valuable contribution to Caribbean studies. In particular, it does an amiable job in alerting scholars to the problems inherent in regarding postcards and other photographic representations of the region as somehow truer, or more objective, than other historical documents.”

    “A wryly intelligent examination of the ways that postcard and poster depictions of the Caribbean have influenced and been influenced by the island’s tourist economies.”

    “Although it frequently seems that the old adage holds true, and there are really no new ideas under the sun, only new writers (or something to that effect), An Eye for the Tropics reads as a maiden, thoroughly researched, and highly successful journey over previously unexplored territory.”

    “One of the first studies to critically interrogate the visual culture of the Caribbean through the lens of both popular art and fine art, it’s an important book that, no doubt, will continue to force the question of an distinct Caribbean art history, singular from a similarly contentious, African American chronicle, and impacted by the parallel histories of economic underdevelopment in the region and Western nostalgia for a present-day, accessible paradise.”

  • “In An Eye for the Tropics, Krista A. Thompson’s guiding preoccupation is with the construction of the Anglo-Creole Caribbean within a colonial regime of visual and discursive representation. How, she asks, was the Caribbean framed within the ocular terms of a tropical paradise as a space of verdant, quasi-primitive desire? The story she tells to answer this question is at once historically detailed and theoretically acute.” — David Scott, author of, Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment

    “Krista A. Thompson masterfully uses early-twentieth-century postcards to show how social, political, and racial issues are embedded in postcard imagery, while simultaneously analyzing current collecting practices. She makes substantial new and intriguing contributions to the understanding not simply of the historical tropicalization of the islands but of the persistence of such propagandistic attitudes in the economic survival of the islands today.” — Judith Bettelheim, Professor of Art and Art History, San Francisco State University

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    Images of Jamaica and the Bahamas as tropical paradises full of palm trees, white sandy beaches, and inviting warm water seem timeless. Surprisingly, the origins of those images can be traced back to the roots of the islands’ tourism industry in the 1880s. As Krista A. Thompson explains, in the late nineteenth century, tourism promoters, backed by British colonial administrators, began to market Jamaica and the Bahamas as picturesque “tropical” paradises. They hired photographers and artists to create carefully crafted representations, which then circulated internationally via postcards and illustrated guides and lectures.

    Illustrated with more than one hundred images, including many in color, An Eye for the Tropics is a nuanced evaluation of the aesthetics of the “tropicalizing images” and their effects on Jamaica and the Bahamas. Thompson describes how representations created to project an image to the outside world altered everyday life on the islands. Hoteliers imported tropical plants to make the islands look more like the images. Many prominent tourist-oriented spaces, including hotels and famous beaches, became off-limits to the islands’ black populations, who were encouraged to act like the disciplined, loyal colonial subjects depicted in the pictures.

    Analyzing the work of specific photographers and artists who created tropical representations of Jamaica and the Bahamas between the 1880s and the 1930s, Thompson shows how their images differ from the English picturesque landscape tradition. Turning to the present, she examines how tropicalizing images are deconstructed in works by contemporary artists—including Christopher Cozier, David Bailey, and Irénée Shaw—at the same time that they remain a staple of postcolonial governments’ vigorous efforts to attract tourists.

    About The Author(s)

    Krista A. Thompson is Assistant Professor of Art History and African American Studies at Northwestern University.

Explore More

Sign up for Subject Matters email updates to receive discounts, new book announcements, and more.

Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu