Photography as Social Justice
Photography has been a vehicle for social justice since its invention in the 19th century. In particular, documentary photography can deepen our awareness of social and economic inequality. During the month of May, Toronto celebrates the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Toronto Public Library has many excellent resources for those interested in the broader topic of photography, as well as its role in advancing human rights.
"Freedom Now! showcases photographs rarely seen in the mainstream media, which depict the power wielded by black men, women and children in remaking US society through their activism."
The Dust Bowl Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Helped Remedy a National Disaster: 'The Dust Bowl was a time of hardship and environmental and economic disaster. FDR's army of photographers took to the roads to document this national crisis. Their pictures spoke a thousand words, and a new form of storytelling — photojournalism — was born."
Reza War + Peace: A Photographer's Journey: "Reza trains his lens not just on war and conflict, but also on friendship and loyalty, family life and love. The book follows Reza's photographic career and is narrated in his own words, focusing our attention on the costs of war and the human condition."
African Photographer J.A. Green: Reimagining the Indigenous and the Colonial: "J. A. Green (1873-1905) was one of the most prolific and accomplished indigenous photographers to be active in West Africa. This beautiful book celebrates Green's photographs and opens a new chapter in the early photographic history of Africa. Soon after photography reached the west coast of Africa in the 1840s, the technology and the resultant images were disseminated widely, appealing to African elites, European residents, and travelers to the region."