Every so often I stumble on an article that has the rare quality of being timeless. This is one such article written by Duncan McNicholl that sought to start a photography project with the objective of providing a different image and perspective on the stereotypical narrative on Africa. The sort of image that only seems to exist in the imaginative minds of some charities and the so called “aid industry”.
Duncan’s project uses photography to depict two photos of a person: one in a typical poverty pose and the other with the person “looking their very finest”.
In Duncan’s words:
“We’ve all seen it: the photo of a teary-eyed African child, dressed in rags, smothered in flies, with a look of desperation that the caption all too readily points out. Some organization has made a poster that tells you about the realities of poverty, what they are doing about it, and how your donation will change things.
I reacted very strongly to these kinds of photos when I returned from Africa in 2008. I compared these photos to my own memories of Malawian friends and felt lied to. How had these photos failed so spectacularly to capture the intelligence, the laughter, the resilience, and the capabilities of so many incredible people?”
Full details of the project and comments here.