Photography as Activism : Images for Social Change book cover
1st Edition

Photography as Activism
Images for Social Change

ISBN 9780240812755
Published September 19, 2011 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

You want to look through the lens of your camera and change the world. You want to capture powerful moments in one click that will impact the minds of other people. Photographic images are one of the most popular tools used to advocate for social and environmental awareness. This can be as close to home as drug use, prostitution, or pollution or as far away as famine, war, and the plight of refugees and migrant workers. One well-known example of an activist photographer would be landscape photographer Ansel Adams, who trudged to Washington with stunning images of the American west to advocate protecting these areas. His images and testimony were instrumental in creating the National Park System and garnering specific protection for Yellowstone National Park. More recently Robert Glenn Ketchum's images of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge raised awareness of why this area should be protected. Nigel Barker's seal photographs advocates against seal clubbing. What is your cause and how can you use your camera to make the world a better place?

This book provides a comprehensive theory of, and history of, photography as activism. It also includes interviews with contemporary photographers. It is a call to action for young photographers to become activists, a primer of sorts, with advice for how to work with NGOs and non-profits, how to work safely in conflict zones and with suggestions for distribution on websites, blogs, and interactive agencies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Includes Philosophy of Activism

Explanation of book

Chapter One: Activism: Practice and Process

Philosophy and Psychology

History: Early Activism

History: Early Conflict and War Photography

Social Reform and the Progressive Era

Farm Security Administration

Chapter Two: Moments in Time

Modern History

W. Eugene Smith

Mary Ellen Mark

Susan Meiselas

Donna Ferrato

British Activism: Chris Killip and Paul Graham

Stephen Shames

SebastiĆ£o Salgado

Chapter Three: Constructing a Better World

Photographer Profiles

Eugene Richards

Marcus Bleasdale

Tom Stoddart

Jonathan Torgovnik

Edward Kashi

Brent Stirton

Stephen Dupont

Walter Astrada

Appendix: Resources

Websites, Magazines & Galleries

Festivals & Events

Non-Profits & NGOs

Miscellaneous Projects

Foundations & Grants

Photographers & Artists




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"Michelle Bogre's volume on activist photography is a 'just right' introduction to this fascinating subject. The book has a high word-to-picture ratio for a 'photography' book, and is not about the technical side of the subject. . in plain language, Ms. Bogre defines 'activist photography,' a distinct subset of documentary photography in which the photographer often freely admits their work is not simply objective journalism.At just over 160 pages, this is not a thick book, though it covers a lot of ground tracing the history of activist photography from its very beginning to Matthew Brady, Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, the FSA photographers, W. Eugene Smith, and on to today with a profile of Sabastiao Salgado and interviews with many of the best and brightest in this field."

"Bogre's honest, balanced survey is supported by high-quality photographs ranging from sepia-tone to full color. Resources for aspiring activist photographers include websites for galleries, artists, events, nonprofits, and foundations. Summing Up: Highly recommended" -- L. C. Duhon, The University of Toledo, CHOICE