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 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.
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