Gordon Parks famously stated that photography was his “choice of weapons” against racism, intolerance, and poverty. While photographs have certainly been used to document and advance social justice causes in the past, the use of photography in recent protest movements has demonstrated one of the dangers of the medium. While protest photographs have amplified these movements’ messages and visibility, those very same photographs have been used against their makers by other authorities. This panel explored the new emerging chapter in the ethics of photography, considering how the digital, social world has made photography an instantaneous and global “weapon” that can slip easily from one hand to another, and offering guidance on ethical and inclusive approaches to protest photography.
Panelists included Caroline Sinders, Brian Palmer, and Tara Pixley. The program was moderated by Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, Prints, and Drawings at NOMA.
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Education and outreach initiatives at NOMA are supported in part by the Zemurray Foundation; the Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Foundation; The Helis Foundation; The Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation; The City of New Orleans; IBERIABANK; The Wagner Foundation; Janice Parmelee and Bill Hammack; the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation; Sara and David Kelso; Patrick F. Taylor Foundation; Dr. Scott S. Cowen; The RosaMary Foundation; The Azby Fund; the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency; The Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation; Burkenroad Foundation; Marian Dreux Van Horn Education Endowment; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Ruby K. Worner Trust through the PNC Charitable Trusts Grant Review Committee; The Harry T. Howard III Foundation; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.; Harvey and Marie Orth; The Bruce J. Heim Foundation; and Mrs. Bennett A. Molter, Jr. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.