Almost a century ago, the celebrated documentary photographer, Lewis Hine wrote: “While photographs may not lie, liars may photograph. It becomes necessary then to see to it that the camera we depend on contracts no bad habits.”
UNDEREXPOSED depicts some of these bad habits. The exhibition includes images which were actively suppressed or banned – such as a photo of Hitler practicing his presentation skills; or propaganda images from the USSR and from the now celebrated Farm Security Administration in the USA.
It includes examples of clumsy airbrushing, as well as more subtle forms of censorship. For ‘censorship’ is an emotive and disturbing concept, often taken to refer to words or images which someone actively prevents us from seeing. But equally, it can mean we are persuaded to accept phoney material as genuine or to view a distorted context as the supposed truth.
Most insidiously of all, in presenting images of atrocities of which we were aware, the exhibition reminds us of our own ability to block out unpalatable truths. It underlines the fact that freedom of expression is not self-perpetuating, but must be maintained by constant vigilance.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, with essays by John le Carre, Harold Evans, Philip Jones-Griffiths, Edward Lucie-Smith and others.
Martin McCabe,Lecturer, Photography & Digital Imaging Studio, DIT, will discuss the UNDEREXPOSED exhibition and issues relating to censorship. Wednesday January 31 at 3:00pm in the Gallery.
UNDEREXPOSED is organised by Index on Censorship, the charity founded to protect and promote freedom of expression.
The exhibition is brought to Ireland in association with Proud Gallery,London with the kind collaboration of the Hulton Getty Picture Collection.
Underexposed is available in the Gallery of Photography bookshop. Get it in store or online at http://photobooks.site/product/index-underexposed/