To accompany the exhibition ‘Decolonizing “witchcraft”: Portraits of traditional healing in Bolivia’ at the Peltz Gallery, ‘Photographing the rituals of healing and dying in Latin America’ considers some of the visual and ethical challenges of documentary photography. Join Patrizia di Bello, Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Photography at Birkbeck College, and photographers David Green and Marcel Reyes-Cortez, as they explore the themes of ritual, community and cultural memory raised by the exhibition. The evening will reflect on Green’s experience working with communities of indigenous health practitioners in Bolivia and Reyes-Cortez’s work documenting the cultural practices of death and mourning in Mexico.
Dr Patrizia di Bello is Senior Lecturer in the History of Photography and co-director of the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of Women’s Albums and Photography in Victorian Britain: Ladies, Mothers and Flirts (Ashgate 2007); editor of Art, History and the Senses: 1830 to the present (Ashgate 2009), with Gabriel Koureas; and of The Photobook from Talbot to Ruscha (IB Tauris, 2012), with Colette Wilson and Shamoon Zamir. Her next monograph, Sculptural Photographs from the Calotype to the Digital, will be published by Bloomsbury in December 2017.
David Green is a born people watcher. ‘The challenge of relaxing a subject and capturing their essence is endlessly compelling to me and keeps me passionate about portrait photography.’ An American, who’s made his home in North London, David has been working as a freelance photographer for several years, shooting a wide range of people, from Noble Prize winners to comedians, authors, actors, CEOs, TV news readers, and most recently “witches” in Bolivia and robot camel jockeys in Oman. His work has appeared in Timeout London, the Guardian, Hackney and Islington Gazettes, Artenol magazine in New York, The Times of Oman, the Southbank Centre, Barcelona Metropolitan to name a few – even the FBI website (that’s the Feminist Bureau of Investigation, of course): http://www.feministbureauofinvestigation.co.uk
Marcel Reyes-Cortez is a Visual Anthropologist and photographer living and working in London. In 1993 he graduated with a BA (Hons) in photography from the London College of Printing and in 1995 he gained an MA in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Marcel returned to academia and in 2006 he gained an MRes in Visual Anthropology. His doctoral research (2007-10) became the first to be awarded a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London in ‘Visual Anthropology’.
‘Decolonising “witchcraft”: Portraits of traditional healers in Bolivia’ is on at the Peltz Gallery, School of Arts, Birkbeck College 3-25 March 2017.
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