Surface Tension: Navigating Socially Engaged Documentary Photographic Practices

Gemma-Rose Turnbull

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


As Documentary Photographers increasingly introduce the collaborative and participatory methodologies common to socially engaged art practices into their projects (particularly those that are activist in nature, seeking to catalyse social change agendas and policies through image making and sharing), there is an increased tension between the process of production and the photographic representation that is created. Over the course of the last five years I have utilised these methodologies of co-authorship. This article contextualizes this kind of transdisciplinary work, and examines the ways in which the integration of collaborative strategies and co-authored practice in projects that are explicitly designed to be of benefit to a primary audience (the participants, collaborators and producers) might be usefully disseminated to a secondary audience (the general public, the ‘art world’, critics etc.) through analysis of my projects Red Light Dark Room; Sex, lives and stereotypes made in Melbourne, Australia, and The King School Portrait Project made in Portland, Oregon, America.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordicom Review: Special Issue 2015
EditorsPradip Ninan Thomas
ISBN (Print)978-91-87957-07-9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

The full text is available from:


  • socially engaged art
  • documentary photography
  • participatory photography
  • collaborative photography
  • Wendy Ewald


Dive into the research topics of 'Surface Tension: Navigating Socially Engaged Documentary Photographic Practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this