EP20: How Can Photography Shape Political Discourse in the 21st Century? – with Jane Tormey
NKATA: Dots of Thoughts
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NKATA: Dots of Thoughts
EP20: How Can Photography Shape Political Discourse in the 21st Century? – with Jane Tormey
May 13, 2024 Episode 20
Nkata Podcast Station

In this episode, I discuss the book, "Photography and Political Aesthetics" with the author, art critic and professor, Jane Tormey. 

Our enlightening conversation traverses the landscape where artistry intersects with political fervour, dissecting how photographs can sway social movements and mould public opinion. We navigate the evolution of politically motivated photography, from its historical roots to contemporary schools of thought, probing the depth and breadth of visual politics. Jane argues for the need to reconsider how photography could be deployed "in a more focused way" to shape present-day political discourses and encourage critical engagement by the viewer. 

As with the book, our conversation touched on such key figures as Walter Benjamin, and how his work laid the premise for understanding the potency of photography in our time and the time to come. 

We reflect on the normative passivity with which photojournalism or politically-motivated images are often digested, advocating for a proactive stance that beckons photographs to be more than ephemeral snapshots—they must incite tangible change through how it is presented and disseminated. 

The session alludes to the pitfalls in the conflation of art and journalism while spotlighting African photographers who are reconstructing the narrative and calling for a conscientious, celebratory and playful portrayal of imagery that dares to defy the conventional. 

Yet, the overarching aim of this conversation is to draw attention to this cohesive and timely book that students of photography, media and cultural studies will find invaluable. 

Host: Emeka Okereke
Guest: Jane Tormey
Production: Atelier E.K Okereke

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