Winner of the John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography
As a young Fulbright scholar in Bogotá determined to democratize the photographic gaze and bring new visions and voices to public debate about Colombia’s armed conflict, Alexander L. Fattal founded Disparando Cámaras para la Paz (Shooting Cameras for Peace). The project taught photography to young people in El Progreso, a neighborhood on the city’s outskirts that was home to families displaced by violence in the countryside. Cameras in hand, the youth had a chance to record and reimagine their daily existence.
Shooting Cameras for Peace / Disparando Cámaras para la Paz is a penetrating look at one of Latin America’s most dynamic participatory media projects. The haunting and exuberant photographs made under its auspices testify to young people’s will to play, to dream, and to survive. The images bear witness to the resilience and creativity of lives marked by a war that refuses to die.
With text in English and Spanish, Shooting Cameras for Peace / Disparando Cámaras para la Paz makes vital contributions to studies of collaborative media, photographic activism, and peace and conflict in Colombia. Fattal’s insightful text offers critical reflection on the genre of participatory photography and the structural challenges faced by similar media projects.
Shooting Cameras for Peace / Disparando Cámaras para la Paz is more than a particularly profound reflection on a haunting gallery of photographs. The project in Colombia and this bilingual publication, in which aesthetics and academics engage in a fruitful dialogue, will serve as a model and a guide for arts interventions in a range of genres and environments and will resonate widely among activists and potential allies.
The photographs taken by the young people of Altos de Cazucá exquisitely present the infinite worlds of their everyday lives. This book is not only an homage to the daily struggles of that community but also a call to reconsider self-representation in the era of the selfie.
This book is a paean to the piercing wisdom of children, an examination of the vagaries of representation, and a resounding challenge to a horribly frayed social contract that displaces empathy with terrifying violence. It is an astonishing portrait of lives as they are lived.
The haunting photographs in Shooting Cameras for Peace will leave you unsettled and moved. Alex Fattal’s ethical and political commitments are boldly present, even as he submits the terms of his own initiative to searching, critical examination. This is an example of engaged anthropology at its best.
- 2021, Winner of the John Collier Jr., Award for Still Photography
- 252 pages
- 10-3/4 x 9-1/4 inches
- Peabody Museum Press
- Afterword by Doris Sommer
- Photographs by Young People of Altos de Cazucá
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