Photography, Truth and Reconciliation  book cover
1st Edition

Photography, Truth and Reconciliation

ISBN 9781474296069
Published May 16, 2019 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Photography, Truth and Reconciliation charts the connections between photography and a crucial issue in contemporary social history. The book examines the prevalence of photography in cultural responses to processes of truth and reconciliation, and argues that photographs are a valuable means through which stories can be retold and historiography can be rethought. Five compelling case studies from Argentina, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Cambodia underscore the special role that this medium has played in facilitating processes of recovery, and in reconstructing suppressed histories, even when a documentary record of the events does not exist. The diverse practices addressed in this book – including artistic, protest, institutional, archival, legal and personal photography – prompt a new consideration of photography’s links to presence, place, time, spectatorship and justice. Collectively, these practices attest to photography’s key role in transitional justice, and in shaping historical understanding internationally. Important reading for students taking photography, visual culture, history and media studies courses, Photography, Truth and Reconciliation explores key historical and theoretical themes, including photography and testimony, international discourses on human rights and justice, and problematic notions of public and collective memory.

The introduction and conclusion of this book a43 freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license available at

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction: The Photographic Witness2. Photography, Testimony and Presence: Making Visible Argentina’s Disappeared 3. Photography, Time and History: Canada’s Indian Residential Schools 5. Photography and Place: Recovering Indigenous Australian Histories4. Photography and Secondary Witnessing: Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa 6. Photography and Justice: Official and Family Photographies in Cambodia 7. Conclusion ReferencesIndex

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Professor Melissa Miles is a photography historian and the Associate Dean, Research at Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Australia. Her research explores the interdisciplinary qualities of photography and its movement across the domains of art, law, politics and history. The role of photographs in cross-cultural photographic relations is another key area of research interest. She is author of Pacific Exposures: Photography and the Australia-Japan Relationship (with Robin Gerster, 2018),The Language of Light and Dark: Light and Place in Australian Photography (2015), The Burning Mirror: Photography in an Ambivalent Light (2008), and co-editor of The Culture of Photography in Public Space (with Anne Marsh and Daniel Palmer, 2015).


The central question—addressed in depth—is how one determines the truth of the sociopolitical past and how photography influences that determination... This is a useful, provocative text. - CHOICE