Photography as a Medium of Change: Practice, Politics, and History

April 23, 2015


DUC 276

What are the politics of representing the black subject and the black community in photography? What moral obligations do photographers confront when photographing civil rights struggles--to the community? to presenting multiple viewpoints? to creating an archive for the local community, in its effort to know and preserve its stories for future generations?

Who are the imagined audiences for civil rights photography? what are the politics of the photographer's physical presence--inserting her/his body into the scene of struggle? coming into the community invited or uninvited? how do photographs engage with and potentially transform public discourse in the age of social media?

Should the photographer aspire to create an "iconic image," of the sort that so powerfully shapes understandings of the mid-20th-century civil rights movement?

The panel is one in an ongoing series of AMCS "Master Classes" which invites and creates conversations about the politics of practicing, theorizing and historicizing art forms. The goal is to create a platform upon which practitioners, historians, theoreticians, researchers and teachers can, from their different perspectives, discuss the politics of such media.

Featured Panelists:
Matthew Fox-Amato, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Washington University
Angela Miller, Professor, Art History and Archeology, Washington University
Leigh Raiford, Associate Professor, African American Studies and African Diaspora Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Adrian O. Walker, Photographer

Co-Sponsored By Law, Identity, and Culture Initiative, WUSTL School of Law. See Related Law, Identity, and Culture
Event: (Un)Civil Mediations: A Civil Rights and Visual Culture Symposium, April 23-25.
Symposium Schedule at:

key contact

Contact the AMCS office for more information: