Subversiveness, Simon Norfolk and the Citizen

So in 350MC we have been discussing subversiveness. Jon Levy shown us a short clip today of an interview with war photographer Simon Norfolk. Norfolk asks “where is the critique on photojournalism?” and what are they doing in Afghanistan? The war has be fought longer than Vietnam and yet there have been no iconic photographs that have helped the war come to an end. Not only that but in 40 years time there won’t be one pinacle image anyone can say “that’s from the Afghanistan war”.

Day by day the media delivers devastating imagery of car bomb explosions and wounded civilians. What they are doing is recording the moment and that moment is fluid as it will only be a matter of time before the next suicide bomb. We have come to accept that ‘this is the war’ and that ‘we can’t do anything about it’. Furthermore, with the imagery never changing, we can establish that what the American and British armies are doing is not working. No matter how much troops open fire, their civilisation will not change. They will never be democratic by any Western means. But why aren’t photojournalists picking up on this and why aren’t they making a stand that this needs to change?

‘If you want to change the world, you got to start looking at it differently’

Norfolk does exactly that; portraying what does and does not work in Afghanistan in the hope that ‘enough is enough’. This idea that Norfolk is trying to evoke change through his photography is echoed in Fred Ritchin’s Bending the Frame. Ritchin explores the citizen’s role in journalism. Citizens all carry camera phones with apps to share pictures, so why don’t we use them effectively? Hashtags and groups can link people together in force, real images can be made and distributed so that everyone can see that there needs to be change. Like photojournalists we Instagram our lives and document them, but how can we use these devices for our benefit.

We are in a new media revolution. And instead of following the notions like how we are told to, why don’t we choose how we want our revolution to be.

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