Activist Photographers Keep Their Eyes On The Movement

This Friday May 1st, a group of activist photographers will be showing photos from local communities who have been organizing on different social issues around California. Two photographers featured in the show, Jenny Cain and Leopoldo Peña tell us what it means to be a photographer embedded in these struggles.

There will also be a showing of photos from May 1st Marches that day from San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco and L.A. For more info on the opening of the show check out  https://www.facebook.com/events/812628032105878/

Leopoldo Peña
 
Show us a photo you took that intersects social justice and activism, tell us why ?


In a recent immigration march, I came across a Vietnam veteran directing participants. The intersection, I think, is clear: a veteran in solidarity with immigrants; plight and need for social guarantees is doubly manifested.

What is the role of photography in social justice?

A photography that aims not at entertaining but at raising questions is a photography that might be more relevant to enacting social justice.

What makes social justice photography different from other photography?

Social justice photography is conscious of its ends. It shows an awareness of how it functions as a medium of communication and exhibits an ideological impetus that is not solely gratifying to the photographer.  

Jenny Cain 

Show us a photo you took that intersects social justice and activism, tell us why?


Marc Payan (left) in Santa Ana, CA rallies with local residents at a free community workout in the dark hours of a recent weekday morning. Payan provides exercise training at no cost for workers. The group fills a void for low-income and undocumented residents, who can't afford gym memberships and have no access to affordable healthcare. Operating in one of the densest cities in America, Payan draws up to 450 participents per session, three times a week, and plays a major role in maintaining Orange County's public health.

What is the role of photography in social justice?

Photography's role in social justice is to "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfrotable." It is means of storytelling to create relationships between people, different and similar. Its role is to establish a better understanding of the struggles and problems humankind must address together. Photography inspires interaction, conversation, collaboration, and action. Photography is a tool to document and measure the progress in establishing equal rights for all.

What makes social justice photography different from other photography?

Social justice photography is different than other photography because its primary focuses is on society's battle to change. It acknowledges the imbalance of wealth, rights, and resources between various groups of society. And it spotlights ideas, individuals, and movements that want to expose injustice and preserve human rights and equality.

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