A photograph for the masses or An individual’s story

Module 3, Post 5

As more and more aboriginal photographers become recognized for their work, a thought struck me that I’m not entirely sure I can answer. How are we, as visual recipients, supposed to react and engage with their work? Once a photograph is out in the public realm, the way the dominant society engages with it is mainly determined by the rules (spoke and unspoken, written and unwritten) of how to view any kind of media. This poses a problem because the interpretation of a work is an inherent part of those unspoken rules of the dominant society.

I think that “refocusing” the lens of the camera for an indigenous presence needs to go hand-in-hand with teaching the dominant society to be sensitive to the work of others (this includes minorities and aboriginals), and to allow those who produce the work to explain it themselves. This is something the dominant society has lost, even for those who are a part of it. It’s a sense of responsibility and respect and humility for humanity that the dominant society appears to have lost in the realm of art, while this can be partly blamed on post-modernism, I think it can actually be traced much further back.

Here is an example of a media production company that has shared photographs online but has not really given much context to the images posted (this can lead to many interpretations):


Here is something that I think goes the distance to help out journalists/media producers give context to their work:


This is what happens when an aboriginal is allowed to describe aboriginal work in the context of the dominant society:


I need to start wrapping up my research to make heads and tails of all of this.

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