Eliamani's Homestead





stereotypes, reflexivity, observer paradox, cultural tourism, visual anthropology


'Eliamani's Homestead' was shot as a result of long-term anthropological research in Tanzania and the translations were created in close cooperation with the Maasai research participants. Originally recorded for research purposes for a project on the relationship between images of and interactions with ‘the other’, the 20-minute single-shot includes jerky camera movements, but was left uncut and without voiceover in order to give the viewer a real-time experience of 'being there'. Within anthropology, the documentary invites to reflect on parallels between anthropology and tourism, and spurs debates regarding reflexivity. It addresses elements of the 'observer paradox' through the almost complete invisibility of the researcher’s camera, which stands in stark contrast with the obtrusive tourist cameras. That is, until Eliamani looks straight into the lens and dismissively comments upon the researcher’s camera too, making researcher and the documentary’s public part of the voyeuristic 'problem' as well. Outside anthropology, it invokes debates about how we see and interact with 'the other' in (cultural) tourism as well as in wider contexts. It thus addresses the question whether and how audiovisual data segments could be used to share anthropological knowledge inside and outside the discipline and academia.

Author Biography

Vanessa Wijngaarden, University of Johannesburg

Vanessa Wijngaarden has double degrees in Cultural Anthropology and International Relations, specializing in sub-Saharan Africa. During her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Bayreuth, she specialized in visual methods and was thought filmmaking at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester. Recurring themes in her research are human-animal relationships and the (re)production of images of ‘the other’. Her work is the result of years of deep engagement with local communities, especially Maasai in Tanzania. She has a deep interest in methodology, introducing innovative techniques to further anthropological reflexivity and theoretical impact in the wider social sciences. She has published four monographs, a variety of articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, and shot and produced six short films. Her debut film ‘Eliamani’s Homestead’ was awarded best documentary short film at the Lisbon International Film Festival. She currently works at the University of Johannesburg and was selected for a prestigious Wenner Gren Fejos Fellowship to produce her next film.




How to Cite

Wijngaarden, V. (2019). Eliamani’s Homestead. Journal of Anthropological Films, 3(1), e1488. https://doi.org/10.15845/jaf.v3i1.1488