Famine photographs and the need for careful critique


General Culture, General Photography

David Campbell has an excellent post about what he calls ‘famine photography’: “The photographic reporting of famine, especially in ‘Africa’, continues to replicate stereotypes. Malnourished children, either pictured alone in passive poses or with their mothers at hand, continue to be the obvious subjects of our gaze. What should drive our concern about this persistent portrayal?” You want to read the whole piece; but I can’t refrain from posting the following quote: “One of my refrains for how we should understand photographs in these situations is that the problem lies with the absence of alternatives as much as it does with the presence of the stereotypes.”