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Social Medium: Photography as a Tool for Community Collaboration

September 15, 2018November 10, 2018

Social Medium exhibits and facilitates projects that create archives of communities made collaboratively with the communities being documented. Artists have made a place for themselves in the world of social work, being recognized as instigators for community redevelopment and for being able to build communication and collaboration in communities through creative means. Photography in particular has been used to create, document, and share communities, and as with the majority of art practices, in most photographic processes there is the artist, and then there is the subject.

In the world of social-practice art, where the aim is to create community and enact social change, the dynamic between photographer and model, artist and subject, can be problematic. Are we creating community or simply documenting it? Celebrating and bringing attention to populations or exploiting them? In response to this conflict of interest and the struggle of well-intentioned social-practice photographers to find the balance between using a camera to tell a story versus creating a new one, there has been a surge of photographic experiments that blur the lines between photographer and subject, artist and community.

Social Medium displays the results of several of these collaborative approaches to photography, and sees a shared, community-based photography project come to fruition with our own community.

Featured Artists: Eliza Gregory, Gemma-Rose Turnbull, Rebecca Hackemann, Mark Strandquist, Jason Lazarus, Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayete Ross Smith, Kamal Sinclair, C. Jacqueline Wood, Natalie Mancino

  • Eliza Gregory and Gemma-Rose Turnbull, Massive Urban Change (installation view), 2014. mixed media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist

  • Rebecca Hackemann and Mark Strandquist, The Archive of Unmade Photographs, 2014–present (ongoing). postcard archive, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artists

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