SANTA FE HAS HAD A LONG ROMANCE WITH PRECOLUMBIAN ANTIQUITIES, AND IN THIS RESPECT FREJ IS IN GOOD COMPANY.
Since its invention in 1839, scientists and artists have used photography to make images of the world’s antiquities, whether found in Egypt, the Middle East, or in the Americas. Archaeologists used photography to document their finds and European colonial officers made records of the cultural, economic, and demographic resources of far-flung empires. In the Americas, photography is intimately bound to the rediscovery of the ancient Maya. We know that within six months of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre’s announcement of his invention of photography, the first daguerreotype outfit was brought to Mexico. The Austrian diplomat Emanuel von Friedrichsthal took the first photographs of Maya ruins in 1841, when he visited sites in Campeche and Yucatán. Friedrichsthal was inspired by the bestselling account Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatán (1841), written by the U.S. attorney turned travel writer John Lloyd Stephens. The British artist Frederick Catherwood accompanied Stephens, and his images of Maya ruins occupy a foundational position in the history of both archaeological illustration and in the history of the way that the Maya have been represented by outsiders. When Stephens and Catherwood set out for Mexico on their
continued on Page 34