October´s TalkSeePhotography is made in partnership with GramNet and will see the photographer Alice Myers and Professor Alison Phipps in a conversation which takes a point of departure in Alice Myers work Nothing is Impossible under the Sun from the refugee camp in Calais.
Since the discussions around what realist or documentary photography actually does to our senses began spreading in the late 60s early 70s, the question of what to do with lived reality represented in photographs has been conflated with the question of truth and how we perceive it. The suggestions of what happened and what we do when viewing victims in such imagery ranged from that it makes us indifferent to that looking at or photographing suffering constitutes a re-violation and that agency through photography is impossible. As Jean Baudrillard’s ideas around Simulacra mutated and gained widespread popular notoriety through his statement that the first gulf war only happened on TV (a reflection of the media control the Americans first tried when the invaded Grenada and then perfected during the gulf war) the discussion about what really happened to people who are represented in photographs that are victims of war, famine and political oppression itself became displaced. As a result serious analysis of images taken in the indexical present (Term by A.Piper for what happened to the life represented front of the lens when the shutter opened), and reality as experience ceased to be part of the critical debates around photography.
The last few weeks have again beyond any doubt proved that photographic representation of suffering can shift what we think and feel about something.
The issue is what do we do after we have started knowing and feeling?
How do we make “being in the know about something” make a difference?
In the runup to the event TSP will publish Photography is not in Crisis, We are by Scott Caruth (glasgow artist & author) and ‘The Mediterranean “between the pleasures of wealth and the desires of the poor”’ by Mariangela Palladino (researcher and partner at Gramnet).
Alice Myers combines original, found and given imagery and detail with conversations and collaborations. The camera becomes a tool for dialogue and interactions where the insider/outsider relationship between subject, author and the viewer is called into question.
Alison Phipps is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET). She has 20 years of experience using creative and intercultural methodologies, in participant observer roles to develop co dialogues in complex situations where the answers are few and the experiences many.
http://talkseephotography.com/ (Image Credit Alice Myers)