The putrefaction of photography is inevitable unless we find other ways to entertain our visual cortex.
We are far past the few daily images we saw who were either made to inform or to communicate a brand message. Images that either reflected an existing or depicted a yearned reality. Today, it’s a blur between the two. And only when a photograph challenges our beliefs do we questioned them. Otherwise, it is all the same: An endless flow of unrelated content where images of real violence are jumbled with vacation landscapes and occasional reminders. Photos of our presidents are mixed with those of our cousins, handbags or miracle gadgets, images of floods and devastation appear before ( or after) cute cats, more handbags and some street demonstrations. An endless scroll of content that leaves us unfulfilled enough to keep us scrolling down, endlessly, expecting one will act as a period, making us stop and put down our phones. But that image never appears.
Paul D’Amato has the above photograph in the Presumed Innonece exhibition that I just mentioned. It’s from his beatiful series entitled Barrio, photographs made between 1988 and 2002 in Pilsen, Chicago’s largest Mexican neighborhood, and the neighboring Little Village.
The photographs that D’Amato made in those fourteen years became increasingly intimate; he eventually grew to know residents of the neighborhood and could then make photographs of people at work, children at play, families at weddings or parties, and even portraits of gang members.
We've recently been incredibly inspired by a handful of photographers who are giving back to their communities in ways that go far beyond the occasional volunteer day or pro bono assignment. From a celebrity photographer who started a grassroots revolutio