Postcards from Zambia (5)

7. A New Photographic Response

Although oppressive times may be becoming scarcer, albeit remaining in living memory, it is time for a change in outlook; there have been developments in the mechanics of photography: a transition from film to digital photography enabling the simple and instantaneous production of images for newspapers, magazines, poster-prints, slideshows and websites, mobile phones, social media or the photograph album; photography is more a media for the masses than ever before.

A common criticism of documentary photography is that it ‘constructs a victim for its always privileged audience in terms of class, ethnicity, gender or other social category, […] and the dignity of the subject […] is not guaranteed by any particular viewer (Bate, 62). Just such a negative approach has misplaced aid and development for many years and now there is a need for a new photographic response.

Cassava flour traders, Kasaba, ZambiaCassava flour traders, Kasaba near Samfya

In this book, the motivation is to disrupt this cliché and show the subject not as a victim but as a dignified participant in his or her own increasingly successful economy and environment.
These themed representations were taken without influence from donors or dignitaries, so I hope they fairly characterise the people I have met and the country I have seen.

34-second slideshow

Cover of Postcards from Zambia Started, Landless Corner-Mumbwa road A problem shared, Mpika road Hippos, Lower Zambezi Sundown in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia Plains Zebras, crossing. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia Savanna Baboons, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia Southern Crowned Cranes, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia Leopard and kill, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia David Livingstone, the first European to set eyes on Mosi-oa-Tunya Lunar rainbow over Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia The setting sun, over Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia Sunset crusing, The Zambezi at Livingstone, Zambia Tourist attraction,The Zambezi at Livingstone, Zambia A refreshing thought, Livingstone, Zambia At your service...

Peter Langmead

Lusaka, 2013

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