art and politics: Dayanita Singh

From BBC RADIO 4 ‘Imagining the new truth’

The relevant part (for me) is that Dayanita Singh recalls her distaste for her job as a photojournalist. She says:

‘In my few years as a photojournalist, I realised that photography or art can’t change the world. I think it just doesn’t happen anymore. You know that was a different time, th time of Hiroshima when we didn’t see images. Now that is not the case.  But even when I was working as a photojournalist, I realised, very early on, especially because I was working with prostitutes, not just prostitutes but prostitutes children.  I couldn’t deal with being a photojournalist in these really dire situations in India that I couldn’t really change.   So I used to think I am actually no better than another pimp if I continue just photographing the children of the prostitutes,say. Either I become an activist If I care so much about these children, then I must become an activist. But I loved by that time photography more so I thought it is better to make family portraits till this became complicated. So then I started to make empty spaces  (cf Zoran Music and his post war landscapes).  And then I started to go to factories and then archives.’

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