A good example of activist photography, where the photographer has worked alongside Oxfam to illustrate the issues of poor people in Cambodia and their right to own, live and work on the land. Currently exhibited at The Gallery, London until 31 March 2013
Stories can be told with pictures and photophilanthropy has been established to connect photographers with non profit organisations to tell stories that can lead to social change. I am reminded of the work of Susan Scott (2002) who said you can change the world one conversation at a time (1c@t)
Perhaps the challenge is also to change the world one image at a time (1p@t).
Here is a photograph seen on the wall of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. There is an idea here that I might try. Show a water test in the middle and then add profiles of a water user on the left and a scientist on the right. Will have to try out to see what it will loook like.
‘India’s future? Men, Machines, but no water’, a photograph by Indian science journalist Pallava Bagla.
Water is a vital but scarce resource. Yet many people throughout the world do not have access to clean drinking water.
The photograph above communicates the idea that all the development of science and technology may fail to deliver on basic needs of people. The image is “posed” like a still life yet it instantly communicates the issue.
Water is a key basic need for everyone and in the UK most people take it for granted in both quality and availability. People living in the Terai area of Nepal are not so fortunate. For many of these people the quality of water is affected by arsenic that leads to long term health problems. Detecting the presence of arsenic in drinking water in a reliable, repeatable, and low cost way is a major challenge. As a member of the team trying to develop a solution that local people will use there is a need to understand the local context and capture it in such a way that the scientists can develop an appropriate technology.
The background is covered well in the following article posted on the Wellcome Trust web site (the funder of the project).
The biggest poisoning in history | Wellcome Trust.
What has this got to do with photography? Perhaps an image may be used to help communicate between science and the community. The challenge is to produce a set of images that will bridge the the gap between science and users.
Ideas come from many sources. Images are essentially a mix of ideas and asthetics that communicate (often through ambiguity, juxtaposition or metaphor).
Helen Sear – Inside the View 2004 – 2008
- Montage of images could be used to frame what is “inside the head” of (say) the scientist or the user.
When Art and Science Collide – Picturing Science February 2011.
- An example of an image that questions the use of drugs by showing dust filled pills.
Brian Griffin – The Water People
- An interesting use of space between to illustrate a gap. This idea might be adapted to show scientists meeting local people and a mix of background landcapes. Here the wall is a useful sign – what is over the wall (different world of science).