Representation matters brings you insights from leading photographers, journalists and cultural practitioners on the importance of reflective representation and why it matters in global health. This series builds off the Global Health 50/50 inaugural photo contest, This is Gender, which aimed to challenge rigid and reductive ways of seeing gender and diversify representations of gender in global health.
Photography is an apparatus of political, social and representational power.
To take a photo is to freeze a moment in time and to create a space of encounter and contemplation. Within the frame of that photograph is a network of historically contingent interpretations and contexts. What is made visible within that frame and what is left unseen, in turn structures the social and political relations that can form between subject and observer.
In turn, when we disseminate an image to a wider audience, whether through marketing material, reports, websites or social media posts, we knowingly, and often unknowingly, enforce a particular way of seeing and feeling mediated by the politics of representation.
Power, privilege and priorities are embedded in photography from production, distribution, exchange, right through to consumption. Representation matters.
‘We cannot easily recognize life outside the frame in which it is given, and those frames not only structure how we come to know and identify life but constitute sustaining conditions for those very lives’
Judith Butler, Frames of War