Image into Sequence

Colonial Photography and the Invention of Filipino Evolution

  • Angela Reyes


This article explores photography as a colonial state technology during the early years of American empire in the Philippines. It centers on the image sequence, its enregisterment across the second half of the nineteenth century, and its use at the turn of the twentieth century to depict Filipino evolution as the result of American imperial intervention. The analysis reveals how the image sequence advanced the temporal conception of a one-type racial logic of the “wild” Filipino, while Philippine elites asserted the spatial conception of a two-type racial logic, which distinguished “civilized” Filipinos in the lowlands from “wild” Filipinos in the highlands. This article argues that the enregistered image sequence placed into sequence not only images of ontogenetic evolution but also conceptualizations of destitution, blackness, and indigeneity that provided frames of reference for U.S. expansionism in the Philippines.

Cropped image from front of 1904 World's Fair Philippine Exposition brochure
Jan 24, 2021
How to Cite
REYES, Angela. Image into Sequence. Semiotic Review, [S.l.], v. 9, jan. 2021. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 mar. 2021.