Representing Others


Autograph ABP

Image by Shira Jeczmien

The question of representation has forever been a struggle for accurate answers - from the ways ethnographers represent their studied subjects, journalists entering conflict zones, to local representation of ones own culture, history and political scenarios - an unbiased depiction is close to impossible. If we accept this notion however, of the inability to portray anything in fact, without its tinting, how can we develop a responsible depiction at the very least? "Africa, that vast continent full of wild animals, and wild people who we do not understand", as author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said. How can anyone who has never been an active part in at least one of the infinite cultures that thrive in its countries begin to depict a truthful documentation of stories from within it? How can documentary makers, journalists artists and researchers avoid the ultimate posing in front of a 'wild African scene'? Many would argue that the depiction of intimacy can only truthful come from within that very intimacy - but what if the resources are not there to depict such stories, who then is responsible for their representation? Specialising in African studies, with a focus on British locality, Autograph ABP will hold a discussion with two photographers who will speak about collaborating with communities, ethical considerations, and how to manage cultural and political sensitivities when making work from an outsider's perspective.