Visual storytelling to advance social justice

 

Bringing together artists and thinkers across disciplines

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Through grantmaking, mentoring, and creative collaborations, we partner with socially engaged imagemakers exploring new models for storytelling.

Building capacity and amplifying underrepresented voices

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Imagemakers working within their own communities have the possibility to transform how viewers see and understand the world by illuminating complex issues.

Fostering community through learning and collaboration

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Intensive training and mentorship, project development labs, strategic partnerships, and distribution assistance is critical for the reach and impact of their projects.

 

 
 

LIVING IN SANCTUARY

Cinthya Santos-Briones | Mexico/US

This is a long-term project about undocumented families living in sanctuary in churches throughout the United States. Positioning those who take sanctuary as resistance leaders, her work centers the emotional, psychological, and political impact of taking sanctuary, while showing the poignant, quiet, and tender moments of establishing home, routine, and community–imagery rarely depicted in the mainstream representation of asylum seekers.

 
 
 
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In the absence of any significant governmental protection, migrants are the ones pursuing and leading humanitarian strategies of resistance. In solidarity with the undocumented community, this project is a platform to elevate their voices.
— Cinthya Santos Briones
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STITCHING TOGETHER: GARMENT WORKERS IN SOLIDARITY

Taslima Akhter | Bangladesh

On April 24, 2013, more than 1,000 lives were taken in the Rana Plaza collapse. While history remembers this tragic event as the deadliest garment factory accident, activist and photographer Taslima Akhter reveals a story of dreams crushed by structural murder. Dedicating her career to the lives and struggles of garment workers in Bangladesh, she has continued to foster a community rallying together for safer working conditions. In an act of remembrance, healing, and solidarity, Taslima is currently working collaboratively with volunteer quilters to produce commemorations for their loved ones lost to the Rana Plaza collapse.

 
 
 
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It’s true that they’re living in very bad conditions, but I want to show their strength also. Because its is from their strength that we get hope. I don’t want to show them all the time as victims, I want to show them as fighters.
— Taslima Akhter
 
 

 
 

ONE DAY WE’LL UNDERSTAND

Sim Chi Yin | Singapore

This work takes Chi Yin’s family history as a point of departure and explores a hidden chapter of the Cold War in Asia: the leftist resistance of the Malayan Communists against the British colonial government from 1948 to 1960. Following her grandfather’s deportation trail, she studied the circumstances people– like her grandfather– found themselves in and their ideas, ideals and the choices they made at that time when the geopolitical intersected with the personal and familial, sometimes with tragic results.

 
 
 
 
 
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The Blood and the Rain

Yael Martínez and Orlando Velazquez | Mexico

 

Participating in rain petition rituals performed by ancestral communities in Guerrero, Mexico, Yael and Orlando sought a way to document and honor a community’s cultural expressions without exposing or violating them. In the process, they generated a new visual form portrays the physical and metaphysical layers of the rituals and the relationships that exists between the people, their gods, and nature.

 
 

 
 

WE ARE LIKE AIR

Xyza Cruz Bacani | The Philippines

Migrant workers are like air, invisible but necessary. Although vital to the socio-economic success of society, they are often treated as lower-class minorities. In many countries, labor migrants are unprotected by local labor laws and vulnerable to exploitation by employers. In extreme cases, they fall victim to trafficking. Xyza is using photography to magnify the voices of various labor trafficking survivors—from teachers to managers to domestic workers—in a variety of cities across the globe.

 
 
 
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I aim to challenge the stigma and stereotype of “helpless” victims, by focusing on the daily lives of survivors and highlighting those who take great risks to escape exploitation and speak out against the abuse they and others have endured.
— Xyza Crux Bacani
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Education is Forbidden

Raima Gambo | Nigeria

Education is Forbidden is a multimedia narrative about the experiences of students attending schools and universities in the midst of the Boko Haram insurgency in north east Nigeria.

 
 
 
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Healing from past trauma doesn’t fit into a timeframe. It overflows into the present, as each retelling resurrects the story in a new form. By combining photography and school book illustrations, I aim to convey the complex, open-ended, and fragmented nature of these students’ experiences.
— Rahima Gambo
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homemade

Heba Khalifa | Egypt

Homemade is a collaborative portraiture project that Heba began on Facebook, where she found many women with similar stories and struggles to her own. Inviting them into her home studio in Cairo, they created scenes to depict memories, feelings, and traumas relating to their womanhood and Egyptian society.

 
 
 
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Since I was young, I’ve been constantly reminded that being a girl is a liability. Trapped in this body I resented–I wished to lose it, to live without it. For me, storytelling is a way to heal, to free ourselves from the weight of experience.
— Heba Khalifa
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THE VALUE OF SANCTUARY

For Freedoms | US

Magnum Foundation and For Freedoms joined together to install seven billboards from the 50 State Initiative on the exterior of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Together, these visual provocations ask us to place ourselves in the position of a migrant, to consider where we are going together as a nation, and where divisive political language about immigration is leading us.

 
 
 
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Full moon on a dark night

Soumya Sankar-Bose | India

Soumya collaborated with his friends and members of the LGBTQ community, using their anxieties and memories to stage dream-like portraits that ask the viewer to consider the less-visible impacts of stigma and to imagine possible futures for queer youth in Indian society.

 
 
 
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My friends’ stories inspired me to work on narratives about their experiences being LGBTQ in India, and about their rights, dreams, and desires. In a society that prevents them from living a “normal” life, this work imagines a world in which freedom to live according to one’s own desires exists for all.
— Soumya Sankar-Bose
 
 

 
 

OCCUPIED PLEASURES

Tanya Habjouqa | Palestine

More than four million Palestinians live in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, where the political situation regularly intrudes upon the most mundane of moments. Movement is circumscribed and threat of violence often hangs overhead. This creates the strongest of desires for the smallest of pleasures, and a sharp sense of humour about the absurdities that a 47-year occupation has produced.

 
 
 
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Europa

Thomas Dworzak | Europe

Contrary to most photography books, Europa was made for practical use by migrants and refugees, and as an educational tool to inform, engage, and facilitate community exchange. The book is free and distributed primarily through NGOS and community centers.

 
 
 
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Am I What You’re Looking For?

Endia Beal | US

Am I What You’re Looking For? provides an in-depth investigation into the experiences and fears of being a woman of color incorporate America. Focusing on young women of color who are transitioning from the academic world to the corporate setting, Endia captures their struggles and uncertainties on how to best present themselves in the professional workspace. Posing in front of an office backdrop, they recall interviews that suggested they alter themselves in some way for the job.

 
 
 
 
 
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I realized that as a woman of color, I was being judged, quickly, before I even said anything, before I showed my skills or my resumé. No one really knows about the struggles about being a woman of color, and really knowing that you have to mute yourself in order to fit into these spaces. So each woman brought their own experiences, their testimonies.
— Endia Beal
 
 

 
 

The Feminist Memory Project

Nepal Picture Library | Nepal

The Feminist Memory Project by Nepal Picture Library seeks to create a visual archive of women’s movements in Nepal. Through gathered archival photographs, other ephemera, and oral histories from around Nepal that capture women in pivotal moments of Nepali history, it consolidates contributions made by pioneering figures who remain marginalized in our male dominated historiographies.

 
 
 
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To become public is to be seen and accounted for in history. The journey of Nepali women from within the boundaries of domesticity to the openness of public life is a move from obscurity to memory.
— Nepal Picture Library
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Travel Guide for Mama

Sumeja Tulic | US/Bosnia

While visiting New York City for the first time on a Magnum Foundation Fellowship, Sumeja thought about her mother, who wears hijab, and how she would feel about navigating the city. Sumeja developed a conceptual travel guide with advice, safety tips, and insights gleaned from interviews with dozens of women describing their daily experiences and encounters with discrimination while wearing hijab in New York.

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Just Like Us

Eric Gyamfi | Ghana

Just Like Us documents the everyday life of Ghana’s queer community. The work challenges discrimination, stigma, and misrepresentation by portraying commonalities between neighbors, facilitating dialogue, and building a visual record.

 
 
 
I’m super grateful to Magnum Foundation for helping me kickstart a project like this, which I only had as files stashed under my pillows! And for helping me to start important conversations that need to be had. My project has definitely challenged the way people perceive queer people in Ghana
— Eric Gyamfi
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