"The Quick Click: Historical Presence of the Black Power Movement" Accepted for a panel discussion at the SECAC conference, originally scheduled for November 11-13, 2021
How does the viewer and artist navigate the increasingly blurred lines of photojournalism, commercial, and fine art photography? How is social media implicated in fusing them and expanding definitions of art? A comparison of global Black Lives Matter protest photography from 2020, and the late 1960s American Black power movement will reveal encoded visual connections that create striking photographic similarities between the eras that produce easily consumable historical associations to complicated sociopolitical issues.
The aim of this paper is to use contemporary protest photography to highlight how the images focus on capturing direct links to the past that folds the viewer’s present time into a historic moment. A critical lens of Benjamin, Baudrillard, and Leigh Raiford examines the assertion of a sustained consumption of signs that lack the signifiers of a complex global protest movement; thus creating an echo chamber of individual beliefs and desires.
My examination draws attention to how the relationship of art to information has been altered by social media platforms where a single feed contains photography that entangles capitalistic intentions, cultural capital, historical narratives, and aesthetic judgements. Emphasizing how the relationship to history transcends simply inserting oneself into the narrative, but creates active participants in it.