One facet of Autograph's mission is to educate: who makes photographs? Who are photographs for? Who is an artist? What can a photograph mean? Autograph has recently worked with teachers and schools to share how visual representation intersects with issues of identity and human rights, and how students can make profound commentary on these questions using a tool that is literally in their hands – their phone.
In September 2020 we teamed up with Creative Schools and professional photographer Alejandra Carles Tolra to work with George Monoux College and Morley College, Chelsea Centre for Creative Industries in London. Our goal was to empower students to represent themselves, and the issues they care about, using photography.
We started with the teachers, setting up training sessions about race and identity in the classroom, using images from Autograph’s collection and thinking about creative approaches to exploring these issues. Students then joined us for online workshops; a safe, constructive space for them to share their ideas about personal identity and community. What emerged were passionate discussions about the media stereotypes that affect their lives as young people, and the impact of current social justice issues including the Black Lives Matter movement and the global pandemic.
We asked: how could photography be a means to challenge negative representations and create images that show different perspectives and shine a positive light? For inspiration, we looked at work by artists including Zanele Muholi, Mahtab Hussain and Omar Victor Diop. Alejandra shared her documentary photography practice giving the students an insight into creative and sensitive ways of representing communities, a first-hand account of the life of a professional photographer. She then set a photography challenge, for each student to use their mobile phone camera to create a series of images that reveal ‘what is below the surface’.
We are proud to present the results of the project below.
Exploring how photography can be used to represent the depth and diversity of our identitiesView online image gallery
Can you spare a few moments? Autograph is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are. The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.
The information you provide will be held by Autograph and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.
You can take the survey here. Thank you!
Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list