community photography

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What is community photo?


What is Community Photography?

Broadly speaking, community photography is what happens when a group of people decides to use photography as a way of communicating about themselves or their concerns. Community photography is about people taking, processing and displaying their own pictures. It seeks to provide an alternative to images which are stereotyped, mass produced, commercially led, and fed to us by a small elite.

Community photography embraces the social and political aspects of photography as well as the traditional artistic ones. It is possible that simply extending resources to the least powerful members of society may help to bring about a change in people's consciousness, leading towards more control over their lives. Art and education offer a powerful context for building self confidence and personal communication skills.

Community photography projects can exist either in their own right or as part of wider community arts projects. They may take a variety of forms, for example; collaboration between a community group and an arts organisation, or collaboration between a community group and a professional photographer who seeks to work with and for the local community. Many community photography projects are run by professionals, on an individual basis or as part of another organisation, who come from outside the community, therefore, it is important for local people to be involved in the decision making processes in order to feel ownership of the project. Community arts practice is about working towards a cultural democracy from a "bottom up" rather than a "top down" basis, because social justice and sustainable personal development go hand in hand.

Community Arts projects are often organized in the context of community education, where participants become involved in a learning process in order to gain the skills of the art form, in this case photography, with which to express their ideas. In such cases it is the job of the professionals to help with the acquisition of knowledge and understanding so that participants can develop an organic photography culture and be self sustaining.

For further information see:

  1. Ability
  2. History of Photography
  3. Photography links
  4. Community photography
  5. Photo Net
  6. Media Workshop
  7. Photography links
  8. Disposable camera project
  9. Photography links
  10. Knowle West Media Centre