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Can images really change the society?

Images for Change: To Change Where We Live and How We Live

Rubbles after the earthquake in Kashmir. © Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majorityworld

It was literally challenging to organise a photography exhibition on Fair Trade when many of us do not know how our clothes are produced, where does the cotton come from, what do the producers receive in return and why hundreds of cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have committed suicide when their produce creates the fabric of the moment.

We were left with no option other than picking up good photographs to show us the bad.

Whenever discussions arise on ‘Trade and Development’ it reminds me of a lecture given by our very own Shahidul Alam, the architect of Drik and the designer of Majority World. In ‘Debunking the Expert Myth’ he says: “Experts determine our lives. They decide what we should wear, who we should have as partners, how many children we should have, who we should take loans from. They determine the very characteristics of a ‘civilised society’.” In times of ‘recession’ it is the same ‘civilised society’ that through strong advertising visuals sentimentally suggests us to develop ‘kissable skin’ and ‘designer skin’, even as the skin of most of us has already been turned into ‘leather that weathers’, victims in the era of ‘globalised games’.

Here lies the challenge: to counter visuals goading us to develop fair and lovely designer skin with those of the realism of sufferings that is likely to ruthlessly confront ‘civilised society’ in the coming days. We no longer have the option to keep our eyes closed to issues of poverty, trade inequities, unmitigated greed and global warming.

The contributing social and documentary photographers in this exhibition, as part of the civil society, have relentlessly been practicing the culture of human rights through their creations — images with power and strength, democratic in its right to inform and move us.

The images in this exhibition move us, taking viewers beyond the suffering, encouraging them to understand the complex realities of the age. These realities can no longer allow us to say, ‘What to do, this will go on…’ or take refuge in indifference. Rather, the images speak about change, the change that will stir us enough to say: ‘THIS MUST STOP!’

IMAGES FOR CHANGE is not a utopia, it is a progress….

Suvendu Chatterjee/Drik India/Majority World

  • A note on ‘Majority World and Fair Trade of Images’ is on the third back cover of the catalogue which will be released on the inaugural day, 9 May by the noted personality Mahasweta Devi.

by Suvendu Chatterjee at 2009-05-26 16:46:30 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

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Suvendu Chatterjee, Photographer/Photo Editor Suvendu Chatterjee
Photographer/Photo Editor
(Director,Drik India)
[undisclosed location].


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