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Halpern's interest in photography as an anthropological resource began during his undergraduate days; even his earliest research trips are extraordinarily well documented in photographs and slides. He continued to rely on photography throughout his career to document the cultures he studied, and by returning to the same villages and regions over the course of many decades, was able to record significant changes that might otherwise have been elusive.
Some of the most extensive runs of slides chronicle his work in Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and the Arctic. Images from Southeast Asia and the Balkans hold particular value for recording social and cultural variation among the many ethnic groups represented in those regions. Halpern's extensive writings on the Balkans, in particular, are well complemented by a visual record of almost fifty years in duration. The content of the images ranges from landscapes to dwellings, monuments, markets, food preparation, animal sacrifices, rituals, weddings and other ceremonies, national celebrations, dancing, musical instruments, costume, and children.