There is so much to be said about taking the distance of time on certain projects, letting them marinate a little. I am so happy to be returning to my MA dissertation - see Abstract below - and the process of rewriting it for publication.
How do the visual strategies of contemporary artists and photojournalists differ from one another and affect their role to bear witness to human suffering? How can we apply Walter Benjamin’s concept of the ‘optical unconscious’ across these territories of image production to help us analyse photography’s potential to shape our worldview, build momentum for political response or numb the sensorium to apathy? This paper looks at the imperceptible effects photographs can potentially have on shaping our worldview in the context of the aesthetic regime of what has come to be known as ‘the refugee crisis’. Considerations of psychic numbing and the power of the dialectic image are here applied to case studies of prize winning work awarded by World Press Photo, Prix Pictet and the Pulitzer in 2016. Looking at issues of integrity of the image and degrees of trust in ‘image worlds’ this paper aims to apply a different lens of analysis to help us reconceptualise the ‘orthodox relationship between modernity and what passes for its prehistory’. (Paul Gilroy)