Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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The nail and the door

April 22, 2007

by Jessica Reed liveblogging at the Democratic Image conference

Yesterday afternoon our wifi connection went down, but I want to write a great and relevant story Pedro Meyer told us about during the afternoon session.

A couple of years ago in Peru a project was organized around young kids and literacy – maybe photography could, after all, be a very good tool to teach young people various skills, and help them analyse their own world. The teachers decided to give them a camera, and told them to come back with a picture which would be an answer to this a question: “who is exploiting you?“.

One of the kids came back with a picture of a nail sticking out of a door. The teachers were all confused: “a nail on a door? they thought, “how could that possibly represent who is exploiting him?  He probably didn’t  understand the assignement, let’s talk to him”.

But one of the teachers decided to show the pictures to his classmates. To their surprise, all the kids vigorously nodded in agreement, immediately understanding the picture and what it represented. It turned out the kids were walking to Lima, miles away from their hometown, to work as shoeshine boys everyday. They would rent a nail from a man in order to hang out their kits every night, and the man would in turn take their money and mistreat them.

How important is it not to dismiss what the viewer is seeing in the picture?

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IRL vs. Online experiments

April 21, 2007

Bill Thompson was scheduled to speak at the conference this morning, but had to stay at home due to personal matters. He was, however, talking to us live via Skype, and asked himself/us a really good question: how will he remember the event? Will he remember it as being in Manchester with us, or being at home, following the symposium from his desk? His reply seemed to be simple: “I will remember it as being blurry!”.

He then mentioned following the general elections with his friends online, all of them chatting and drinking behind their respective screens – “I remember quite vividly, he said, as being an event I was truly following with my friends”.

Fair enough Bill (maybe you will want to comment on this one)!

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Giuseppe di Bella’s stamps

April 21, 2007

by Jessica Reed, liveblogging from the The Democratic Image conference

stamps.jpg

As I was walking to the conference this morning I found myself chatting with Giuseppe Di Bella, a French-Sicilian photographer based in London; I hope to get him to blog here this week-end. Talking about the myriad of exhibitions around the city, he asked me if I had seen his work. “Not yet”, I replied slightly embarrassed, “but I will as soon as possible”.

He smiled, “well there’s a really good story attached to my work, something you might like to blog about. It turns out I have the FBI following me around. They find my work to be suspicious”.

And how could they not! Giuseppe used photographs of Abu Ghraib which he then transformed into stamps, sending letters worldwide adorned with his controversial art. “Of course”, he pointed out, “I would also add a real stamp so as not to be accused of counterfeit. But they didn’t like my art one bit. They have been watching my actions closely, and even interrogated one of my acquaintance in New York”.

“Well”, I replied, “… that would certainly make a good blog story”.

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Can the democratic republic of photography be glimpsed on the horizon?

April 21, 2007

By Charlie Devereux, liveblogging from the Democratic Image symposium

The title of this blog is a quote by John Perivolaris, who opened today’s symposium by throwing some questions to the audience.

Most important of all, considering the title of the conference, he asked that we consider how we define democracy.

“Democracy is a word much bandied about,” he said.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of democracy:

“While the term democracy is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to other groups and organizations.”

I think that if this discussion is going to take off we will have to arrive at some kind of definition for democracy.