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Oceania 1919

The success of the Johnsons’ first film, “Among the Cannibal Isles of the South Seas,” made possible a second and better equipped film expedition to the South Pacific in 1919.

In April they left San Francisco for the New Hebrides. Returning to Vao they organized an expedition and set sail for Tenmarou Bay on the island of Malekula with the intention of again filming the Big Nambas. After a successful visit, Martin and Osa left Chief Nagapate and his part of Malakula to photograph and film other tribes of the island.

Off the south coast of Malekula they visited the island of Tomman where the heads of children were elongated through the use of tight bindings. From Tomman they visited the island of Espiritu Santo before returning to Sydney, Australia, with 25,000 feet of film and 1,000 photographs.

Photography note: Martin + Osa Johnson often used and experimented with different types of film and cameras in the field, and each took still shots and ran film footage.  Repetitions and duplicates of images in order and the repetition of the same images in later series numbers stem from the use of these different cameras, film types and each series may have been done by Martin, Osa or a mix of both.  The numbering system in the expedition photos is the one Martin created for their inventory.

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