THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHING POVERTY: TO WHAT END?
The article examines various kinds of visual representations of poverty. Its first part presents historical background and shortly reminds of the most representative and well-known photo-actions, like Farm Security Administration, documentary projects by Jacob A. Riis and Lewis W. Hine, and some others. In the second part the author concentrates on more contemporary photographers and different aspects of their work (for instance, S. Salgado, D. McCullin, J. Holdt). His theoretical assumption is based on conviction that there are no neutral and disinterested images. Beyond every single photo one may find a complicated net of transactions, private and public interests, tensions between channels of images distribution (official and non-official circulations of the photos). Images presenting the poor, homeless, excluded, disfunctional people very often are ordered by state agendas, institutions of social control, police and many others institutions of power. Photographical evidence of poverty is always ideologically influenced and it always serves a cause (fight for social changes, controlling some groups, exploration of visual attractiveness of poverty). The final conclusion is that in many cases such images least of all serve the poor and excluded
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