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    Entries in Politics (2)

    Good shoot'n

    A colleague pointed me towards Robbie Cooper's work with teenagers playing on-screen games. He filmed them with a camera directly behind the screen. My first interest went towards the facial expressions in the video. The faces are all very well lit and embody high-res frontal portraits. Then of course something else takes over...

    Familiar teenager faces but strangely alienating experiences. Experiences showing strong visual feedback with so little physical engagement. What kind of engagement world are we evolving into? The video and stills were on show at the National Media Museum in Bradford earlier this year.

    This brings me onto something else. In modern warfare more and more systems involve screens to aim with. Where physical distance increases, how easy is it to mix real and virtual killing? If your stomach permits, relate these thoughts to Wikileak's Colletaral Murder Video. Make yourself sit through it. Taunts and words of encouragement are identical to the teenagers murmurings. Horrifying. Good shoot'n.

    One hundred cameras

    A view days ago I became aware of the 100cameras photography project through a popular podcast. The project described itself as

    a nonprofit organization that identifies children living in unjust conditions and gives them cameras to document their lives.

    Their photo narratives are used to raise awareness and capital to meet physical needs and empower sustainable growth within their community.

    100cameras believes that children should be both heard and defended. Photography is the vehicle that both carries their voice across borders and raises funds to better their communities.

    When you purchase one of the children's prints, 100percent of that money is given back to the partner organization.

    Doing good for others in less privileged circumstances is commendable. Or so it seems. Yes, - giving children the opportunity to discover photography, to create images of their worlds, even to learn a skill is beyond question a worthy intention. Good work in this direction has been demonstrated by PhotoVoice over the last ten years.

    But niggling questions remain about 100cameras. Is it right to sell the creative work of children to well off consumers thousands of miles away? Are children in "unjust conditions" coming any closer to justice through publication of their experiences in image making? Is this project assuming that no voices and photographers exist already wanting to "be heard and defended"?

    100cameras links the context of these photographs intrinsically to a commercial transaction. When is aid given and when is an unjust condition exploited?

    Three video clips worth pondering about:

    1. A promotional video from 100cameras
    2. A promotional video from PhotoVoice
    3. A trailer for Renzo Martens' work entitled "Enjoy Poverty"

    I let you make up your own mind. If you have an opinion, please leave a comment below.