Accepted Paper:

Photographer in the field: collaborative visual work as a research methodology to investigate Indigenous self representation practices in Colombia  

Author:

Agata Lulkowska (Birkbeck)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to investigate the role of visual representations of the indigenous peoples in Colombia, as a result of collaborative photography work of practise-based research.

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to investigate the role of visual representations of the indigenous peoples in Colombia, as a result of collaborative photography work of practise-based research. It inspects the successes and failures of the intercultural dialogue, attempting to redefine ways of using visual media in academic, artistic and indigenous contexts.

The questions I would like to raise are: how does visual media negotiate the representations of its subjects? How do these representations create meanings? To what extent do such representations function outside of their original contexts? I will investigate the implications and responsibilities of creating visual imagery of fairly isolated communities (using the example of the Kogi community from the north of Colombia), the practicalities of such collaborations, and the attempts to define the outcomes of similar work.

The significance of the visual media for representing the Kogi culture in the wider audiovisual context is the main focal point for my paper. I find this question increasingly important in a world dominated by visual media, where the meaning and understanding of the world is less dependent on direct experience, and mostly negotiated by the information provided by visual materials. In the case of highly isolated communities, the importance of these visual mediations acquire particular relevance. So far, the presence of the camera and its significance as a mediator of the meaning, seems to be ignored in the existing documentaries. I find this absence an important subject for the discussion.

Panel P28
Photography as a research method