You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘David Campbell’ tag.

There’s so much to be read and said about the unraveling stories and analysis of the Wikileaked Embassy Cables. The coverage by the Guardian, the New York Times’ Lede Blog and Kevin Poulsen and friends at have been my main sources.

I cannot recommend highly enough David Campbell’s analysis – Wikileaks: From the personal to the Political.

Here’s some important snippets:

Wikileaks does publish the cables with the redactions made by media partners. (The Guardian explains how it does this here). So at the time of writing, Wikileaks has released only 1,203 of the 251,287 cables contained in the leak. This makes the coverage of the cables a prime example of networked journalism from which all partners, including the public, win.

In 2009, Wikileaks and Julian Assange won the prestigious Amnesty International New Media Award for exposing hundreds of alleged murders by the Kenyan police, an act which led to a United Nations investigation.

Assange is holding up a copy of The Guardian displaying a front-page story on the earlier release of the Afghan war logs. He is standing with his laptop. In the background is Don McCullin’s famous 1968 photograph of a shell-shocked marine from Hue in Vietnam. Signifying, first, the relationship between Wikileaks and its media partners, second, the role of the Internet, and third, the historical memory of the Vietnam War that hangs over current American military operations…

And just two more things from me.

1. If Julian Assange and his employees were Chinese they’d be lauded in the US as heroic dissidents and champions of free speech.

2. When was the last time rape was the headline story across the globe for a 48 hour period? Rarely? Never? Ever? Unfortunately, in this instance, I think the topic of rape will merely serve as a prop in the distraction techniques of mass media as existing powers attempt to divert the issue – from the global cultural sea change upon us – to the witch-hunt of America’s newest most-wanted. Dialogue about women’s rights, societal violence, machismo and misogyny is vitally important, but again it is diluted, set aside. The discussions that are occurring are, for the most part, not the right ones.

Photographing an American Marine with a malnourished boy during Operation Restore Hope, Mogadishu, Somalia (1991). © Paul Lowe/Panos

Victor Acquah has established AfricanLens to present African nations as “you” and “photojournalists who travel across the continent see it.” Hopefully, AfricanLens as a collaborative space for photographers contributing outside of their employers’ (agencies’) influence or editors’ decisions may dish up some novel, calmer stories.

AfricanLens also provides a platform for analysis. Early indications – and early contributors – are good. David Campbell, professor of cultural and political geography at Durham University, over the past couple of years has published (to academia AND blogs) excellent research and positions on media and photography; Campbell’s editorial for AfricanLens takes on the potential pitfalls of the debate about defining Africa:

“What is the visual story that needs to be told about Africa? … Would we even ask that question of the Americas, Asia or Europe? It is unlikely. Others are represented in ways designed to shore up the self and  ‘Africa’ is central to the formation of European and North American identity.”

This is a familiar argument, and inasmuch as it still exists, I reckon it is as valid as ever; visual consumption is almost always simplifying and reductive. Would we be better with dozens of  [Insert individual African nation names here]Lens instead of AfricanLens? Possibly, but let us not expect to run before we can walk. That Campbell’s position questions some tenets of AfricanLens itself would suggest this is to be an intellectually honest and open forum.

Campbell presented the above image from Somalia by Paul Lowe in 1991. Lowe’s image is an echo of Nathan Weber’s from Haiti (talked about here) and reminds me that discourse on the use and usefulness of photography outside our borders is as vital as ever.

Good luck to Victor and AfricanLens.

Photographers and Fabienne Cherisma, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 19th 2010. © Nathan Weber


I ran across the University College Dublin’s Photography & International Conflict project this week. It operates out of UCD’s Institute for American Studies … and it’s awesome.

Or as awesome as something about war can be … or at least the best academic offering on photos and carnage since Photography and Atrocity served up at Leeds University a couple of years ago.

If you fancy going all rogue-scholar then this is the site for you: Imaging, Africa, ethics, Northern Ireland, the political economies of photography, America, Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia and well known academes of the media/photo/critic world.

Anyhoo, this is all by the by, because amongst this thinkers-paradise are some straight video interviews with leading photography editors.


Roger Tooth, Head of Photography for the Guardian UK says (at about 18 minutes and 30 seconds):

I would have thought we are at saturation point for photojournalists, but then you have the colleges churning out thousands of graduates each year, so its all a bit worrying really. I haven’t got a clue what these people are going to do? I would have thought we’ve got enough people to go around at the moment. What I suspect they’ll do in the future, I suspect they’ll do video because that’s going to be the currency.

Well, how’s about that?! Seriously, great site and plenty of food for thought.

Found via the reliably excellent CONTACT blog, which keeps me real with all things Britski.


As if on cue, A Photo Editor has this interview with Vincent Laforet about his switch over to moving images.


prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com


Prison Photography Archives

Post Categories