Bernatzik. South Pacific

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Hugo A. Bernatzik travelled for over a year, between 1932 and 1933, to the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and Bali. His lively and fascinating account of the trip and his observations on myths, customs and traditions of the people he encountered were published as a book: S dsee: Travels in the South Seas , soon after translated into English (1935). A large and careful selection of the best photographs, reproduced here in duotone and in large format, has been made for South Pacific . Bernatzik's images are always informative. But the images reproduced in the book have to be appreciated especially for their high aesthetic value and their capacity to bring to life the spirit of the peoples portrayed. The photographs, full of movement and life, depict fascinating actions such as the turtle hunt in the Solomon Islands reef or seafaring on an oroum, a Papuan double canoe. Everyday life in villages and the habits proper to each particular group come to life in the photographs.


Kevin Conru is an ethnographer who established the Tribal, Antiquities, and Islamic departments at Bonhams Auctioneers.

Hugo A. Bernatzik was a travel writer, photographer, and one of the most famous scholars of ethnology in the German-speaking world prior to World War II. He traveled widely in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania and New Guinea during the 1930s. He became a professor at the University of Graz in 1939, where he founded the discipline of applied ethnology. His career ended abruptly when war broke out. Among his English-language works published are The Dark Continent: Africa, the Landscape and the People and Sudsee: Travels in the South Seas.

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