Photo exhibit underlines social justice role of the art

by | Mar 20, 2015 | News

Amy Wallace
News Reporter

The 100 black and white photographs depict global disasters, poverty and cancer. They depict happiness and sadness.

Humber’s L Space Gallery and the School of Social and Community Services has partnered with PhotoSensitive to present Picture Change, a photography exhibit.

PhotoSensitive is a non-profit group of Canadian photographers, who use photojournalism for social change and social justice. The collection of work shows how photography has the potential to make a positive change in the world.

“Our visual perception perceives knowledge faster than text, and the ability to see something and want to learn more about it is very quick to resonate in our minds,” said curator Tara Mazurk.

“Photojournalism has been used throughout history to capture inequalities and disasters around the world which then prompts different organizations or people to create movements around that,” she added.

Photojournalist Boris Spremo captured an image of Africans suffering during a 1974 famine. The image was published in the Toronto Star, which prompted the Canadian Red Cross to take action.

Tours are offered for students from the School of Social and Community Services, so they can take their learning outside of the classroom.

Students are able to have critical discussions about what they see in these images and how it relates to their studies, said Mazurk.

Natalie Blake-Noel, a social service work professor, said that the exhibit allows students to connect content and theory to a physical space.

“I’m always wanting students to shift their thinking, to take their thinking much deeper than what they’re used to, and hopefully by being inspired by art,” said Blake-Noel.

Shantel Devonish, 23, a first-year social service worker student, was struck by a photo taken by Phil Carpenter. The image is of a breast cancer survivor, who bares her scars just two weeks after both her breasts were removed.

“It’s a very powerful photo,” said Devonish. “The fact that she has a smile on her face and she wasn’t afraid to pose topless two weeks after her surgery completely floored me.

“The message that it will teach me is that everyone has different experiences. This puts a learning perspective such as self-awareness to understand other ways of how people live.”

Picture Change runs until March 26 at Humber’s Lakeshore Campus, A Building, Room 170.