Latin America and the Caribbean have a rich visual culture. Photography of the region depicts vibrant communities and breathtaking landscapes. However, it also conveys a traumatic legacy in which colonialism and imperialism, the exploitation and destruction of Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Africans, and the extraction of natural resources wrought ongoing conflict and lasting political, economic, and social inequalities. Photography of Latin America and the Caribbean also reflects unique regional modernities since photographers contributed to larger cultural movements seeking to reconcile industrialization, technology, and urbanization with a pastoral heritage and Indigenous and African folklife. The collections described in this research guide speak to these themes. They represent important contributions to the history of photography and visual culture.
Many collections in this guide depict more than one country; hence the "Selected Collections" section of the guide is organized not by country but instead by format: photo archives, photography browsing files, photographic surveys, photo albums, photographically illustrated books, photojournalism, digital photography collections, photography portfolios, and other print collections. The country or countries depicted in a given collection are prominently displayed when appropriate, and a special effort was made to acknowledge Latin American and Caribbean photographers by name. A list of helpful reference works is included at the end along with information about graphic arts of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Prints & Photographs Division.