21 January 2010

The Uses of Photography ~ "expanding the circle of knowledge" (Susan Meiselas)

There is a nice, brief video produced by the Documentary Photography Project of The Open Society Institute in which Susan Meiselas talks about the uses of 'documentary' photography. She (unsurprisingly!) seems quite insightful and realistic about the impact photography might have:
"This is how understanding is key of we are going to be able to build bridges, and I do think photography is a lot about creating the bridge. People still have to walk over it. I think photographers are the ones who perceive the bridge as a possibility ... and it goes back to that hope that people will feel the connection. And that connectivity is the opening of the door."
I have argued elsewhere that the point of photography is to establish or to help establish solidarity. It sounds to me like Meiselas is talking about just that.

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Blogger Ryan Anderson said...

Using photography as a means to create solidarity is something that is pretty worthwhile, IMO. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of journalism is geared toward capturing just the right image of tragedy that will garner a press award. But maybe I am being cynical today...

I definitely think that Meiselas is on the right track, and I hope that more photogs think along these lines. The actual effects of media matter, and those who produce it should pay attention to the results of their efforts.

25 January, 2010 14:27  

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