Newspace Center for Photography, in collaboration with BARK, will host a community discussion on the pointed uses of images in environmental activist campaigns. We will consider a range of questions including: Do images have the transformative abilities that photojournalists have long-claimed? How to organizations and community groups utilize images to forward social change? How are they manipulated or staged to align with a campaign agenda? When does the image cross over to the realm of propaganda, and what are the implications to activists?
The use, manufacturing, and manipulation of images for a targeted cause has been common practice since the invention of photography, informing such iconic images as Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” from the Dust Bowl era; Robert Capa’s “Falling Soldier” from the Spanish Civil War; George W. Bush’s image in front of a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner, and countless others.
How do these debates play out through the lens of environmental activism? In conjunction with Newspace’s current exhibition, Water Warriors – a photography and video installation by Michael Premo and Andrew Stern that chronicles the successful efforts of one community’s resistance to fossil fuel drilling – we are holding a community discussion with local environmental organizers about the employment of images in their campaigns. We will learn about current initiatives and actions around Oregon and how images are (and can be) utilized and manipulated to forward work of this nature.
Julia DeGraw, Northwest Senior Organizer | Food and Water Watch
Barbara Ford, Coordinator, Arts and Events Team | 350 PDX
Amy Harwood, Interim Executive Director | BARK
Trip Jennings, Principal & Founder | Balance Media
Free and open to the general public.