The experience of alterity is as old as the history of contact between human groups. However, the relationship with the other acquired a particular slant since the XV century european expansion. As the conquest of peoples and territories advanced, an dismissive imaginary about others was deployed, powered by the reports of travelers and the illustrators production. A few centuries later, with the rise of colonialism, there was a jump in the willingness to explain and dominate, with the prominence of the scientific theories of racism and cultural evolutionism. The exhibition of 'wild' human groups in the many universal exhibitions, fairs and human zoos implemented during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was part of a new regime of visibility, and an essential step in the process of invention of others.
The paper proposes an overview on three aspects interrelated: the experience of human strangeness, the implication between knowledge and power in the production and exhibition of otherness, and the role of the photographic record as technology of capture and dissemination of imaginary about own and strangers.