Since the late nineteenth century the print photograph in the media stood as a powerful tool for denouncing social injustice and claiming better life conditions – i.e. as seen in the work of Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, or Joshua Benoliel, as many others. In the early decades of the twentieth century the use of images had a significant boost with film, when directors such as Flaherty, Eisenstein, John Grierson, Vertov, Dvorjenko or Jivens, combining documental intentions with avant-garde experimental claims, made possible to discuss political and historical conditions.
The aim of the conference is to discuss and debate photographs and film as a social tool from a leftist stance. In particular, to examine and explore the relation of documentary practices and political commitment in different historical circumstances throughout the twentieth and the twenty first centuries.
Photography and the Left – 2016
Since the late nineteenth century, with Jacob Rijs and Lewis Hine as many others from all over the world, photography has been a medium for denouncing injustice, claiming for better life means and helping revolutionary causes. As a natural consequence of its documental nature it became the privileged medium for contemporary art that aim to challenge political and social establishment.
This conference will explore photographic creation as a social and leftist weapon and its publics all along the twentieth and twentieth-first century. It aims to examine the relationship between documentary photography, human causes and social ideals, class and political commitment, social and economical criticism. It will consider photographic practices and their production of both publics and politics, thinking specifically about the relationship between Leftist practices and the mainstream. It will be accompanied by a film projection program at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the site where the conference will take place on 16 and 17 June 2016.