Why Black Photographers Documenting the Protests Will Shape History

With the Black Lives Matters protests attempting to trigger a shift in attitudes towards race around the world, the role of black photographers in documenting the demonstrations is crucial, as outlined by this short video from PBS NewsHour. (Warning: This video contains graphic imagery.)In a recent article, I argued that the lack of photographs taken by black photographers appearing in mainstream publications was at risk of creating a version of history that is shaped by an existing status quo that fails to include a diversity of voices and experiences. In this short video, photographer Mark Clennon adds his thoughts:“I want to make sure that the black voice is not left out of this conversation,” he explains, “especially since we are at the center of this conversation. We black Americans are taking ownership of our stories, right?”PBS NewsHour unpicks the power of journalism to shape history and thus our future, emphasizing the importance of having black people’s experiences given equal weight in the public record of what the U.S.A. is experiencing since the death of George Floyd. The role of photographers such as the legendary Gordon Parks should become the norm, not the exception.

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