In the ‘heroic’ era of photojournalism - roughly from the Spanish Civil War until the late 1960s - it seemed that a single image could define the greatest human dramas and catastrophes. Today, digital manipulation has undermined photography’s claim to veracity; video is available on everyone’s mobile; and artists and amateurs have taken over the territory of intimate revelation. What authority does documentary photography retain as a record of events and source of insight into the historical realities of the world?
The famous photo-agency, Magnum, founded in 1947 to represent independent photojournalists who travelled the world in search of stories, remains the touch-stone of quality and seriousness in documentary photography. Disposable People, curated by Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph ABP, presents newly commissioned photo-essays by eight internationally renowned Magnum photographers, all of whom have a strong commitment to human rights issues. Each explores an aspect of slavery in the world today.
Abbas – documenting child labour in Bangladesh
Ian Berry – examines the effects of international trade rules on farmers in Ghana
Stuart Franklin – exploring chattel slavery in Sudan
Jim Goldberg – documenting the trafficking of young people from Eastern Europe
Susan Meiselas – investigating the conditions of Indonesian women working in Singapore as domestic servants
Paolo Pellegrin – documenting Haitian ‘Restaveks’ (child slaves)
Chris Steele-Perkins – documenting South Korean women who were held as sex slaves by the Japanese in World War II and are still seeking restitution
Alex Webb – photographing Haitian cane workers held in organised bonded labour in the Dominican Republic
A fully Illustrated publication will be produced by Hayward Touring, Southbank Centre in association with Autograph ABP and will include personal testimonies and texts by the photographers and Professor Kevin Bales, Director of the US-based ‘Free the Slaves’.
A Hayward Touring exhibition in collaboration with Autograph ABP and Magnum Photos.
The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England, MTV Europe Foundation, Christian Aid and Concern Worldwide.
This exhibition toured to the following venues:
26 September - 9th November 2008
Southbank Centre, London
10 January - 21 February 2009
The Gallery, Peninsula Arts, University of Plymouth
28 February – 9 April 2009
University of Northumbria, Newcastle
23 May - 5 July 2009
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
1 August - 13 September 2009
New Art Exchange, Nottingham
7 November 2009 – 9 January 2010
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
For more information please contact Alison Maun firstname.lastname@example.org
Top image: © Paolo Pellegrin / Magnum Photos
Bottom image: © Jim Goldberg/ Magnum Photos