The Power of Photography to Create Positive Change

Seeking inspiration from photography with a cause

The Photography Foundation supports our community and is committed to championing diverse voices and creating positive change in society through photography and training. First and foremost it’s important that we keep promoting the message of self-care and connection: you can’t give from an empty cup! All of the images on the news and social media can be triggering for many, myself included. It’s important that we take it slow and find our own individual way to navigate this time.

We all want to help make a difference, but sometimes this can feel a little overwhelming. For all of the photography lovers out there, perhaps all that is needed right now is to seek wisdom and inspiration from those who championed change through photography.

Ten incredibly diverse photographers & documentary resources:

  1. Zanele Muholi is a South African artist and visual activist working in photography. Zanele’s work focuses on race, gender and sexuality. There should be an exhibition of this work at the Tate Modern.
  2. Neil Kenlock documented the changing lives of Black Londoners during the 60s and 70s. There was an exhibition of his work at the Museum of London last year.
  3. Susheila Nasta wrote a book charting the Asian contribution to Britain through historical photographs - Asian Britain: A Photographic History - in pictures.
  4. Dorothea Lange is an American documentary photographer whose imagery of the depression era humanised the experiences of many during the great depression.
  5. You can explore photography which documents the Black British experience through a digital archive of some of the work at the V&A.
  6. Doris Derby is an American activist and photographer who photographed at the height of the civil rights era. You can find out more about her work in a Guardian article - ‘Through the lens of civil rights photographer Doris Derby – in pictures.’
  7. Mahtab Hussain's work invites people to re-think how they see young Asian men. His project ‘You Get Me’ depicts British Asian men not as a violent, homogeneous group, but rather as diverse and capable of being soft, thoughtful and vulnerable
  8. Daniel Jack Lyons' portraits of Mozambique’s vilified LGBT+ community are an act of artistic activism.
  9. Eddie Chambers' book Roots & Culture: Cultural Politics in Black Britain used news archive photography to examine how African-Caribbean immigrants in the UK fought racism to create a Black British identity.
  10. Eve Arnold was an American photojournalist and member of Magnum photo agency who documented Malcolm X and The Nation of Islam in 1961.

Support in the Creative Industry

Sources of creative support

We are all going through waves of change and uncertainty right now, so receiving and offering support is more important than ever. Here are some ideas on how to do just that – hopefully they will spark some thoughts about what you need and what you can offer to others.

Mentoring for creative women inVisible Creatives has launched Mentor-at-Home, a speed-dating-style online mentorship programme.

Get a mentor! Arts Emergency helps marginalised young people overcome barriers to participation and success in the creative and cultural industries.

Join a collective or creative meet-up Rye Here Rye Now is a Peckham-based monthly meet up. They can be a great source of support & shared experience.

Don’t abandon all the ideas you have nurtured! This great article from Lecture in Progress gives some useful advice on how to do this.