Robin Hammond, a South African based photographer documents the issue of mental health in Africa. He is on a mission to raise awareness to the issue of neglect. The publication of the story on the New York Times Lens blog started an interesting twitter conversation about the stereotypical presentation of images from Africa. Some were of the opinion that the photos simply hew to the usual stereotype and give us very little information. The conversation is quite useful, so I am publishing it here with the hope that Robin will see this and perhaps use this to inform on the next stage of his project - which is certainly important and needs a voice. I applaud him for tackling this topic.
Please join the discussion if you can.
Friday, November 25, 2011Author:
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Added Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 08:58 am by Victor Acquah
I want to start this discussion by quoting from Robin’s response:
“Bad stuff happens in Africa - as it happens in other parts of the world - should we not document it?”
This question has been on my mind for awhile. Is there a way to portray the problems of Africa without being stereotypical? Is that an unavoidable consequence of the severity of some of these issues? For those of us who are not photojournalists, we will appreciate examples of how hard subjects like this can be covered in a non-stereotypical way - something, perhaps to set a benchmark for how stories from Africa should be approached. ( Do we need a benchmark at all?).1
Added Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - 08:50 am by Victor Acquah
Steve - the point about the NGOs - So are they really helping to perpetuate this “desperate” need of Africa? The question is, is that the only tool they’ve got to raise money effectively?
This reminds me of countless TV adverts I have seen soliciting help ( a dollar a day ) of helpless and needy children2
Added Thu, Jun 10, 2010 - 06:43 pm by Steve Forrest
Photographers on the whole need to make money to survive. The only organizations usually willing to pay for their services are NGOs, most of whose needs are to raise money (within the capitalist framework) by showing the desperate state of the African majority. Their aim (the NGOs) is to help the poorest while not challenging the status quo (rich west, poor Africa). So, nothing changes….Africa, stereotypes, most photo stories….I could go on.3
Added Tue, Jun 01, 2010 - 06:01 pm by Bernhard Rearden
Beautiful site!!! Job well done. I have shared this site with a few of my native African friends and I am sure this is going to spread worldwide.4
Added Sun, May 30, 2010 - 10:08 pm by Victor Acquah
Thanks John! You have the honor of being the first to comment on the new site! Looking forward to your submission too!5
Added Sun, May 30, 2010 - 05:17 pm by John Edwin Mason
Congratulations, Victor! African Lens is off to a great start.6