Photojournalism Nights 15th Edition – Summary

Photographer Denise Laura Baker answers questions from the public.

Written by Fatima Sanchez

On Friday 23rd, the Photojournalism Hub hosted the 15th edition of the Photojournalism Nights event at The Studio inside The Westworks, dynamic venue in White City Place.

The night was filled with an engaged public, thought-provoking conversations and presentations from outstanding photographers documenting outstanding current affairs .

Our guests for the night included Denise Laura Baker, Simon King and Carolina Rapezzi who shared great insights on the work they have been producing over the last few years of their career.

The event started with the presentation of the photojournalist and portrait photographer Denise Laura Baker. Denise’s work is heavily embedded in socially engaged work. She has been documenting communities and events since the age of 11 as well as becoming a psychologist, studies that have added an incredible depth to her photographic work. In her compelling presentation, she explained the importance of drawing back from any subjectivity, ‘putting aside your personal biases’, which also ‘strengthens the [psychological] work’ that she captures.

Furthermore, her family environment, engaged in social justice, has contributed to her inclination towards photographing issues that surround communities around the UK and Wales. Her key interests surround the travellers and environmentalist communities.

One compelling aspect from Denise’s personal approach to photojournalist work is that she is in the look-out for the bigger picture in a story. Yet, not losing to capture the small details, like it is the human “gaze” in an image.

Simon Black talks about his latest and ongoing project.

The second guest of the evening was Simon King, British documentary photographer who brought to us captivating documentary work shot on film. He presented us his photographic documentation of Washington, D.C. when it was subject to militarised observation to a degree not seen in about 53 years, due to fears of right-wing violence after the MAGA riot at the Capitol of January 6.

When asked why investigating this topic, he explained ‘to keep exploring Patriarchism and the political landscape in America’.

Simon proved transparency, honesty and openness with his words which all encompassed with the strong visual work from his project, yet to be shown in its entirety.

Simon’s photographs seem to bring together elements that form conversations and interactions that are symbolic and representative of the political landscape in America. Some of the work he shared from this project evidenced how the journalists and police force members’ body language mirrored the political scene at the time.

Carolina Rapezzi shares insights behind her iconic photo of a girl taking a short rest amid e-waste disposal in Ghana.

The last guest of the Photojournalism Nights event, was Carolina Rapezzi, who is a self-taught Italian photographer who has been working on social, humanitarian, and environmental issues. She took the initiative to merging her journalistic background and interest for photography to document current affairs such as migration issues, various protests, and ultimately environmental issues.

Carolina introduced us to her timely long-term project Burning dreams which she has invested herself in for the past few years. Her project was  inspired by an investigation that she came across while researching on e-waste. A gps was placed inside an old washing machine in the UK and it eventually ended up been shipped to Agbogbloshie in Ghana. This was Carolina’s starting point of her ongoing and timely project.

She travelled to Ghana to investigate the way the e-waste was disposed as well as the impact of this in the communities. She learned that the cheapest way to get rid of huge amounts of e-waste was by burning it – often by local children.

Her project exposes the impact of disposing e-waste illegally and/or using methods that are not environmentally friendly.

Her presentation also opened up conversations on how important it is for a country to develop and sustain several sources of income, in order to divert from reliance on e-waste disposal, a completely non-sustainable activity.

Her presentation and insights, make us reconsider expanding the life of our day-to-day devices such as our mobile phones or laptops, something we often overlook.

Furthermore, her powerful work stresses how important it is for environmental issues to be talked about at a global level rather than simply national because of its scale and repercussions.

The Photojournalism Nights presented photographers whose work is committed to bringing to the wider public topics that impacts social justice. Bringing people together to learn and talk about these pressing issues is a fundamental step for action and positive change.

To learn more on the Photojournalism Nights: HERE

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