The Harrison Forman Slide Collection: Creating Digital Access to a Hidden Collection of Mid- Century Color Photography from Around the World

Material Description

Harrison Forman was a prominent photojournalist, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, Life, Look, Collier's, Harpers, and Readers' Digest. Described as an "anthropologist with his camera", Forman photographed people and their daily lives. His mid- twentieth century color photography provides an extensive study of human and physical geography, which show the extent of worldwide cultural diffusion focused primarily on the non- western world. Subjects include: *Candid portraits of ethnic groups such as Sakai aborigines, Bajau, Berbers, Todas, Chakma, and Hunza people. *Western influences depicted in business ventures, American movie posters, and clothing such as Afghani men wearing repurposed U.S. Air Force uniforms. *Commerce and industry including business centers, shipping, shopping districts, skilled workers, female laborers, food harvesting and processing, mining, manufacturing, and agriculture. *Infrastructure and transportation including road building, bridges, dam projects, and the Red Flag Canal construction in Linxian, China. *Politics and government including an exploration of communism, building the Berlin Wall, and Mao Zedong's cave home in Yanan, China. *Historic events including the Dalai Lama upon exile to India during Tibetan uprising; apartheid in South Africa; Portuguese troops during Angola's Colonial War; post-war evidence of bomb damage in Berlin and Warsaw. *Historic sites and memorials such as Nagasaki and Hiroshima; archeological sites in Greece, Italy, the Buddhas of Bamian, Afghanistan prior to destruction; Angkor Wat (Cambodia); Khajuraho (India); and the Zimbabwe Acropolis (Central Africa). *Customs and the arts including pilgrims bathing in the holy waters in Varanasi, weddings, traditional dance, musicians and instruments. *Landscape and wildlife such as mountains and glaciers showing effects of erosion and climate change; rainforests and jungles; volcanoes and volcanic formations; Mongolia's wild horses; and Indonesia's Komodo dragons.

Year Added:



Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System for University of Wisconsin-Milwauke


Ms. Marcy Bidney
American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Ms. Ann Hanlon
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Mr. Ling Meng
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Date Range

1950 - 1950

Geographic Scope

Harrison Forman's work took him to over 130 countries around the world. In the collection nominated for digitization, the coverage of South America, Asia and Africa is extensive both in the size of the collection and the sociological, political and ancient religious significance of the images captured.


  • 51000 35mm Kodachrome and 2x2 Ektachrome slides