How Has the Camera Been a Tool for Colonialism?

Charlotte Jansen, Elephant, September 12, 2019

"My first encounter with Ayana V. Jackson’s work was the artist’s 2013 Poverty Pornography series. Inspired by Geoff Dyer’s rumination on the history of photography in The Ongoing Moment, Jackson interrogated the way black bodies in the global south had been represented by the camera, creating a stereotype image—bodies ravaged and ruined by sickness, subjected to suffering, economic, physical and psychological. From colonial period missionaries and periodicals to images used by National Geographic or western charitable organisations, the colonial lens has assumed a dominant gaze on black bodies, pitying and distant. “It is my view that we are still suffering from that ‘framing’ of the earth and its inhabitants.” "


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