“The task of an alternative photography is to incorporate photography into social and political memory, instead of using it as a substitute which encourages the atrophy of any such memory.”
A photograph is as personal as it is political. At the intersection of photography and power we can consider a range of issues inextricably linked to representation. When a photograph is taken who is speaking?
Who is responsible for the representation of a subject and how can we embrace accountability? These questions remain pertinent to journalism, social media, fine arts and activism. How can we build an ethical framework around photographic practice that ensures we respect and acknowledge the social and historical memory our photographs reference and at the same time embody an awareness of the spaces and contexts we currently occupy?
I spoke to Sheida Soleimani and Jonno Révanche about the possibilities and limitations of photographic work, their influences and motivations and the conceptual frameworks they operate within.
Sheida Soleimani is an Iranian-American artist who lives in Providence. The daughter of political refugees who were persecuted by the Iranian government in the early 1980s, Soleimani makes work that melds sculpture, collage and photography and highlights her own critical perspective on historical and contemporary socio-political occurrences in Iran. She focuses on media trends and the dissemination of societal occurrences in the news, adapting images from popular press and social media leaks to exist within alternate scenarios. Her work has been recognized internationally in both exhibitions and publications such as Artforum, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Interview Magazine, and VICE Magazine.
Jonno Revanche is a writer/editor and multidisciplinary artist originally from Adelaide, South Australia. They edit frequently for Vaein Zine, edit non-fiction for Voiceworks, and they would like to talk to you about your feelings. Their work has been published in publications like I-D, Archer, Spook, Overland, Yen and Oyster.