On May 30th, the photographer, journalist, and professor Tara Pixley shared photographs from the Fairfax protest following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery. She captured the deeply collaborative atmosphere of the protest, echoing a global cry for justice.
She wrote on Instagram, “While dozens and dozens of police blocked off streets as no less than seven police helicopters and various drones hovered above the crowd, protestors just marched, chanted and took care of one another,” before adding: “Those with faces visible in these images gave consent to be photographed.”
Pixley’s commitment to consent, collaboration, and context underscore the importance of ethical, accurate, and empathetic photography, all ideas explored in The Photographer’s Guide to Inclusive Photography from PhotoShelter and The Authority Collective.
With an introduction and conclusion by Pixley, this essential resource features stirring essays from Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Hannah Reyes Morales, Tailyr Irvine, Danielle Villasana, and Mengwen Cao, on Photographing Race, Photographing the Global South, Photographing Indigeneity, Photographing Gender, and Photographing the LGBTQAI Community.
The guide includes ethical codes and well as personal stories. It speaks to the importance of collaboration and trust, and often, it highlights the importance of putting away the camera for a while and listening to others.
Barrayn refrained from making pictures because a woman in Saint-Louis, Senegal asked her not to, and Villasana has removed photos in the past because they could be taken out of context. They’ve also made unforgettable, empowering, inspiring images that give agency and voice to people rather than taking it for themselves.
The last week has laid bare the brutal and violent realities of racism and hatred, and those deeply rooted problems won’t go away once the headlines recede. The photography community plays a pivotal role in how people see each other, and that’s a powerful tool that comes with a profound responsibility.
As we’ve seen in recent months, a failure to understand the context of each other’s stories can be lethal. On other hand, as these extraordinary photographers confirm, the camera can also be a tool for healing–and for restoring and recognizing each other’s dignity and worth.
The guide is available for free via PhotoShelter. Download it, bookmark it, and return to it, in times of despair and in times of hope.