Collaboration as an Ethical Documentary Practice
What would an ethical way to practice documentary photography look like? This class suggests that collaboration between the image-maker and the people or communities who consent to be photographed can provide a path toward an ethical practice. We'll examine documentary photography, beginning with its origins often as a tool of imperialism and racism, to the ways in which those visual tropes continue to exist in contemporary practice. In response, we will discuss projects by photographers who work collaboratvely, identifying the methodologies that exemplify this practice. In this class, students will begin a collaborative relationship with a person or community that consents to be photographed; practices for COVID-safe collaboration will be discussed. Through weekly exercises — portraiture, oral histories, archival mining, reimaging and re-creation — students will gain an understanding of the foundations of this method of working. Supported by in-class critique, students will finish the course with a cohesive portfolio of works that will guide their practice in the future. Class sessions are 2.5 hours.
Samantha Box is a Jamaican-born, Bronx-based photographer. In her studio-based practice, she uses self-portraiture, sound, and installation to articulate her personal diasporic/Caribbean experience. This work has been exhibited at the Houston Center of Photography (2019), and the Andrew Freedman House (2020). In Spring 2021, Box will join the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ AIM Fellowship program.
Her previous documentary work focused on New York City's community of LGBTQ youth of color, and was widely recognized, notably with a NYFA Fellowship (2010), and shown, most prominently, as part of the ICP Museum’s Perpetual Revolution exhibition (2017). This work is part of the permanent collections of the Open Society Foundation, EN FOCO, and Light Work.
Samantha holds a certificate in Photojournalism and Documentary Studies from the International Center of Photography (2006). She also holds an MFA in Advanced Photographic Studies from the International Center of Photographer/Bard College (2019).Samantha teaches self-portraiture and documentary photography for StrudelmediaLive.