A photograph speaks the truth; to some degree. It captures a moment and in that moment it suggests a particular space and time. The intersection of space and time speak to the context of the photograph. The subject of the photograph and the photographer are in a conversation mediated or interrupted by a lens. What is kept in the frame is as important as what is left out. An image asks: “Where am I?” and “Who am I?” in this space and time.
Intention is a certain version of the truth transmitted by the gaze of the photographer. If photography is the ideal medium to navigate ideas around identity, memory, experience, intimacy, presence, and connection, it also co-opts narrative through selection of subject matter and presentation. Photographs can present a historically, socially significant moment and can frame the conversation around that moment either by representing or misrepresenting. How do we remedy this? Not an “African thing” that happened in an “African place” but a particular interaction in a particular location. To tear off this gaze or to counter it, the photographer needs to be grounded in their locality, in their particular space and time.
“In search of relevance, Locality and remediation’’ brings together bodies of work that celebrate Africa’s diversity, foster learning and events that provoke conversations that matter on the continent. On the heels of this vision is a keen desire to promote and amplify our voices with inclusiveness and authenticity. Today, when an image invites the viewer to ask “Where am I?”, “Who am I?” the answer does not come easily in the wake of similar photographs that came before. Instead, the answer emerges slowly, from the depths of the image.
Fidelity then, is not just a matter of pixels, but a matter of presentation: when a photograph is seen in its context, in its city or at its street corner. In that presentation, the context beyond the frame is present and it is harder to skew the narrative.