Jan 28, 2022Liked by Adam Ferguson

Hi Adam, great post but what a minefield you have elected to cross. I come from a slightly different position and argue that it is all but impossible to make a non-political photograph. For any author is not capable of divorcing themselves from their culture let alone the biases they have imbued through the lived experience. Explicitly or implicitly these understandings have become embedded in their language - text or visual. The harvester for example is made from a distant viewpoint and places the farmer in a dominant position within the image. He is small, yet he is presented as master of nature, commerce and animals. I don't believe this to be accidental. The nun, one of ten women present (not counting children) is portrayed heroically. Both line and tone leads the viewer past the others to rest on her. Were these deliberate acts of the photographer? I suspect so, but even if they were not, they are reflections of the dominant ideologies held by these authors at that time. And yet they are presented and read (even today) as nothing more than composition. The farmer, the nun and the barrister (it's not a suit but judicial robes note wigs in background) are superordinate beings, the rest - first nation people, nature, animals - are subordinate. The overt intent may have been to record only, but the results are reflections of the authors’ understanding, biases and cultural influences. These images are political. It is not just through the changing context of time that this politic manifests, but through the magic of photography, that is photography is not the ‘taking images of others’ but is, and has always been. the making images of ourselves with others. That space is taut with ideologies, philosophies, ethics, principals, politics. etc Today we may argue with the interpretations of the above, but if ignored, this visual space still writes our history. Nonetheless, without question impressed with your work, your process and your reflection. Many thanks.

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Hi David, perfect, thank you for this articulate response. I absolutely agree with you, perhaps my position was lost there. But yes - it’s impossible to make a non-political photograph. I really struggled to write this post to be honest - there were questions that needed months of reading and answering! Cheers, Adam

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