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Art as Transformation: Using Photography for Social Change
Each day, we’re bombarded by images: on billboards, on screens, in schools and in our bedrooms. And these images, largely corporate in origin, carry power — power to shape, control and constrain — even when they offer a fantasy, or an outright lie.
That’s why, as LaToya Ruby Frazier argues, photography is a battleground of representation. We cannot control the material circumstances of our birth, our families or our economic circumstances. But in order to change society — to seed real change and cultural transformation, especially for the marginalized and the forgotten — we must change the picture we have of ourselves and our communities.
In this talk, Frazier discusses how she has used photography to fight injustice — poverty, healthcare and gender inequality, environmental contamination, racism and more — and create a more representative self-portrait. Drawing from her book The Notion of Family as well as from works of art by Frederick Douglass, August Sander, Julia Margaret Cameron and Langston Hughes, she relates her conscious approach to photography, opens up more authentic ways to talk about family, inheritance and place, and celebrates the inspirational, transformative power of images.