Beyond Magnum: On Representation and Self-Representation

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchExhibition


Anthony Luvera was invited by Magnum Photos to curate and co-chair Beyond Magnum - On Representation and Self-Representation, with Noelle Flores Théard (The New Yorker). This online talk series was composed of six events held over three days from the 14th to the 16th of June 2021. Speakers included Susan Meiselas (artist), Professor Laura Wexler (Yale University), Tanya Habjouqa (artist), Laia Abril (artist), Robert Andy Coombes (artist), Shahidul Alam (Drik Picture Library and the Pathshala Media Institute), Kristen Lubben (Magnum Foundation), Mark Sealy (Autograph ABP), Agata Kay (subject of Bieke Depoorter's work Agata), Mark Strandquist (artist), Julian Germain (artist), and Tiffany Fairey (King's College London).

DAY 1 – Wednesday 16th June 2021

Shannon Ghannam and Pauline Vermare

'On Representation and Self-Representation'
Anthony Luvera and Noelle Flores-Théard

Susan Meiselas, Laura Wexler and Anthony Luvera discuss 'Collaborations', a project that maps the many forms collaboration can take within the medium of photography, and that proposes the lens of collaboration as a more just way to view and interpret images.

DAY 2 – Thursday 17th June 2021

'Practices of Representation'
Tanya Habjouqa, Laia Abril, and Robert Andy Coombes in discussion with Anthony Luvera

DAY 3 – Friday 18th June 2021

'Representation and Responsibility: Institutions as Changemakers'
Shahidul Alam, Kristen Lubben, and Mark Sealy in discussion with Noelle Flores-Théard

Agata Kay, who features in the work of, and collaborated with Bieke Depoorter, on representation, in discussion with Anthony Luvera

'Social practice – Who’s Looking at Whom?'
Mark Strandquist, Julian Germain, and Tiffany Fairey in discussion with Anthony Luvera

'Final Comments'
Anthony Luvera and Noelle Flores-Théard

Curatorial statement:

The question of representation is complex. Now more than ever, with improvements in human rights apparently won or afforded to individuals and communities who have long suffered historical oppression, there is also a recognition that institutional racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, and many other forms of social, economic, environmental, and political inequality and discrimination, continue to persist in our daily lives and in the policies pursued by corporations, governments, and nation-states. 

Terms such as equality, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability are used so regularly and broadly they are often siphoned of demonstrable meaning or action. At the core of the problem here, and part of the solution, is the role representation plays. On the one hand, representation enables visibility and visibility matters. Especially when it can bring about greater understanding of the circumstances of what or who is depicted or described, and contribute to a culture shift which results in change for the better or leads to social justice. On the other hand, questions about representation strike at the power dynamics at play between who is represented and who is in control of this depiction. But who is representing whom? How are they going about it? What gives any photographer the right to construct a representation of an individual, group of people, situation, or issue outside of the realms of their own lived experience? 

How are we to view images made on assignment for the purposes of photojournalism or an NGO commission when they circulate in museums, galleries, and in other contexts they were not originally intended for? What questions should we ask of documentary photography when it is created for the art market? What responsibilities are incumbent on us all involved in photographing other people? And what role do institutions play?

These are the kinds of questions we feel are particularly important for photography, but never more so when the topic of conversation is focused on individuals and groups of people who are marginalised, excluded, overlooked or typically depicted in ways they themselves do not recognise or choose. It is questions such as these that bring us to On Representation and Self-Representation. Questions which we are certain will generate many more questions. But now more than ever, we all need to question and not be afraid to be questioned. 
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021


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