Tag Archives: Participatory Photography

On Ethics and Art

Lara Pawson writes a beautiful article exploring what it means to bear witness to suffering and how one bears witness. I met Pawson at Goldsmiths at a conference in 2011 where I had been invited to talk about the work I did with PhotoVoice. It was a very interesting conference and you can read more about it in her article here. I thought I was a bit less obtuse/simple in the way I think about photography and I remember someone asking me a question that was so difficult to comprehend because of the language used (meant to anchor oneself in a certain place with regard to education). The question reeked of the kind of appropriation of politics that has happened in the art world making sure that those who come with voices that speak of lived realities are not welcome. If you’ve gone and done something radical like exploiting people in the name of art, that’s uber cool and very welcome because it helps those closeted in safe spaces think.

What I love most about Pawson’s writing is how she brings herself into the frame. Also looking at how she saw me, which she writes about here, was such a revelation and so affirming!