Self portrait of María de las Nieves de Braganza
Self portrait of María de las Nieves de Braganza

A digital archive of the female gaze in the turn of the Century

Uncovering María de las Nieves de Braganza's multilingual diaries and travel photographs
1 February 2023 until 30 January 2026
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Within the extensive Bourbon de Parme archive held at the Katholiek Documentatie Centrum, lies the vast photographic archive created by María de las Nieves de Braganza during her travels around the world, from 1883 until the late 1930s. A woman who was described by her contemporaries as a "proud and arrogant Amazon", she fought in the Spanish Carlist wars next to her husband, who claimed the throne, and later faced exile. Her travels around the world were thoroughly documented through diaries, drawings and copious photographies that have never been studied before.

By understanding the material archive and developing a digital archive for future research, this project aims to uncover the development of the female gaze in the advent of modern travel photography, while highlighting the intersections between María de las Nieves experience of gender, economic and symbolic power, and the relationship with the subjects from colonial backgrounds that, most often than not, become skewed protagonists of her worldview.

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