In the effervescent half ot the nineteenth century, characterized by an order-and-progress fever, a blind belief on rationality and on enlightment, French anthropologists-naturalists discover, besides many other scientists, the heuristic possibilities photography could offer their "vision" of "anthropology" as an effort to outline, from an evolucionist point of view, "human species" and races as a whole, and, amidst them, the different types of human beings. La Lumière (1850-1867), the first French journal concentrated on "Photography, Arts and Sciences", has partly been reprinted in 1995. By diving into the columns of this weekly journal, the reader not only gets into contact with the origins of French anthropology, but also discovers the conceptions and beliefs these early scientists shared regarding the new "retina" and technical support photography represented for them. And the reader also discovers how this protesis brings about a new order of seeing, and arises, in terms of an epistemology of knowledge, an interesting questioning regarding two other means of figurative representations usual in the anthropological circles of that time: drawings and mouldings of plaster.
French Visual Anthropology in the nineteenth century; journal La Lumière (France); means of figurative representations; Hottentot Venus