Race, Representations and Photography

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Race, Representations and Photography, is a three day workshop about how race and racism have been an integral part of the medium of photography and artistic strategies used to unveil, corrupt and acknowledge this history.  Together we will build a vocabulary with which to engage this history, its present and examine concepts and critical approaches to thinking through questions  of race, representation and visual imagery.  We will rely on case studies of artists that have put a critical eye on this issue as well as others who have been involved in controversies because of it.


Basic knowledge of photography is expected.

Necessary documentation (in English):
a. Updated CV, with telephone, WhatsApp and email contact;
b. Letter of intent;

Limit participants

10 – 15 participants

Selection Procedures

To fulfil the requirement and selection based on the letter of intent.

Start Date

June 17th


7 hours

June 17th 4-6 pm

June 18th 4-6 pm

June 19th 3-6 pm


Day 1

Conceptual approach and works. The first session will frame the discussion around ideas and histories of representation in photography.

1. Failures of vision and representation (discussion around the impossibilities and failures of photography and mechanical images).

2. Examples and discussions

– Analogue racism (To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light, Broomberg and Chanarin).
– Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa and Viviane Sassen.

3. How spaces and territories are constructed. Race, algorithms and the invisibilities in the landscape.

– How to write about Africa, Binyavaga Wainaina (reading provided)

– Leni Riefenstahl

– Richard Mosse

– David Benjamin Sherry

Day 2

Agency and strategies.

1.The failures of photography and other artistic possibilities

– “Violence and the Image” – selections -, in Decolonizing the Camera, by Mark Sealey (reading provided)

2.Agency in the archive

– Cases: Santu Mofokeng, The Black Photo Album / Malik Sidibe / Ahlam Shibli / Zanele Muholi

– Interventions and alterations – Strategies. The representational functions of images. Michael Subotzky’s Massive Nerve Corpus (on whiteness)

3.Concept: Digitopia (the promise of the digital- John Akomfrah); (Reading, “Spam of the Earth” Hito Steyerl – reading provided; (suggested, new Foam Magazine number)

4.End thoughts. Inherited solidarities, whiteness and wanderings.

Day 3

1.Open session on ideas, creative exchanges and thoughts.

2.Crit session with participant’s work.

Course Features

  • Lectures 3
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 17 June - 19 June
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 1
  • Assessments Yes
  • Day 1 2

    • Lecture1.1
      How to write about Africa
    • Lecture1.2
      Live session – Day 1
  • Day 2 1

    • Lecture2.1
      The failures of photography and other artistic possibilities