‘Racism’ of early colour photography explored in art exhibition

Can the camera be racist? The question is explored in an exhibition that reflects on how Polaroid built an efficient tool for South Africa’s apartheid regime to photograph and police black people.

The London-based artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin spent a month in South Africa taking pictures on decades-old film that had been engineered with only white faces in mind. They used Polaroid’s vintage ID-2 camera, which had a “boost” button to increase the flash – enabling it to be used to photograph black people for the notorious passbooks, or “dompas”, that allowed the state to control their movements.

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One thought on “‘Racism’ of early colour photography explored in art exhibition

  1. A Kunzman

    It’s devastating but not surprising that racial capitalism in the US is completely intertwined with the South African apartheid. This is a really interesting bit on globalization and how white people have always been the definers of reality for people all over the world.

    Reply

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