Firstly I want to apologise for not reading people’s blogs at the moment. I’m in the middle of an exceptionally busy time at the moment. Next week I’ll write a post about it because it’s also an exciting time for me and my photography.
My relaxation at the moment includes my reading. I tried to read Ariella Azoulay’s The Civil Contract Of Photography last year and couldn’t get into it. No fault of the book, my mental health had an impact upon my ability to focus. I am finding her book incredibly refreshing and enjoy her approach to reading photography, ownership, and most certainly in relation to citizenship. State citizenship is exclusive and is based upon proving your worth to be a citizen. Women and non nationals are excluded from citizenship even though they are governed by the same State that governs it’s worthy citizens.
Women are excluded from citizenship on the basis that if they stand up to the sexualisation and sexual violence committed upon them then they are deemed to be causing harm to men, and a requirement of citizenship is to not harm the right of “man”. This creates a state where women are non citizens and therefore have no right to be protected by the State that governs them.
It may be argued that women’s right are important and that change is happening, especially in the West, that domestic abuse laws have changed, that work place laws have added protection. However the rate of successful rape prosecutions is farcical, harassment laws are in effective, women receive less pay than men for the same job, women have exclusive and discriminatory workplace dress codes, woman are still spending more time completing household chores than men. The list goes on.
Azoulay’s demonstrates that photography creates citizenship that is not controlled by the state, where the photographed, photographer and “watcher” of photography are equals regardless of nationality, race, gender, income, ability (although she also references how the photographed are vulnerable and exploited. It’s only through this equal citizenship that the State can be held to account.
I’m also reading “On Photography” by Walter Benjamin. A fascinating contrast to “On Photography” by Susan Sontag. Benjamin had a genuine interest in photography, had friends in the photographic and artistic community and explored how the access to the means of making photography benefitted society but also allowed state propaganda. On the other hand, in my opinion, Sontag had no interest in photography, was only interested in boosting her ego by showing she could be an academic writer. In saying that I also am starting to see how I, as a photographer can benefit and develop from Sontag’s views.
That’s me for now. Over and out.