John Collier, Jr.: A Visual Journey

JOHN COLLIER, JR: A VISUAL JOURNEY provides an intimate portrait of the life, the stunning photographic work, and the unique humanitarian insights of one of this century's greatest teachers. When he was eight, John Collier was hit by a car and suffered severe brain trauma that left him with learning disabilities and speech and hearing impairments. As a result, he never finished grammar school, yet he went on to become an internationally renowned photographer, anthropologist, educator, and one of the founders of the field of visual anthropology.

As a disabled person who grew up with Native Americans in the Southwest, Collier identified with minorities and outsiders of all kinds, especially indigenous peoples. As an adult, his stark photographic images of the Great Depression, his portraits of Navajo and Eskimo life, and his documentary photos of South American cultures brought him international renown. This inspiring documentary traces Collier's life and shows how he ignored the boundaries of art and science to define new ways of seeing and understanding.

“Before John Collier, anthropology had been a word game. It was all through the ear and not through the eye. Collier's work opened up a whole new horizon for anthropology, and this inspiring film recounts that work. It should be seen by anyone interested in anthropology, photography, or the ability of the human spirit to overcome adversity”. – Dr. John Adair, Prof. Emeritus of Anthropology, San Francisco State University.

Produced & Directed by Stephen Olsson & Maria Luiza Aboim-Ingles


  • Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival
  • Society for Visual Anthropology honoree
  • American Anthropological Association selection
  • National Educational Film Festival Finalist
  • Gottingen International Ethnographic Film Festival

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