Judith MacDougall graduated from the Ethnographic Film Program at UCLA, along with her husband who also went through the program, the two marrying shortly after their graduation at the end of the 1960’s. The two began producing ethnographic films together covering indigenous populations in both Africa and Australia. They utilize a particular style of documentary production, one which focuses on long shots taking in every aspect of the subjects lives they are recording. This style of documentary production is different from traditional documentary production, which aims for a more narrative and “cinematic” approach to documentation. This means that the pair’s documentaries are actually more closely regarded in visual anthropology circles than they are in strictly documentarian communities.
Lorang’s Way is a film made by the visual anthro power duo in 1979, following the story of Lorang of the Turkana in northwestern Kenya. The Turkana were a relatively isolated group of semi-nomadic pastoralists. An elder of the group, Lorang returns from a stint in the army, and is afforded the ability to see what his tribe looks like from an outside looking in perspective. Cognizant of the changing world around them, Lorang’s approach to his tribe’s future is explored in depth and in indigenous voices throughout the course of the film. The film is available in the music and media library at Emory, and a link to a digital version is provided on this post.
Together the pair made 20 ethnographic films, and they are considered to be some of the most prominent pioneers in visual anthropology today. Although the two are separated, they continue to work on new pieces of visual anthropology and also write books covering the subject and their documentaries.