2021 - Ch.ACO Unlimited

Photography and Politics

The exhibition "Photography and Politics: Some Chilean publications" highlights an interesting selection of the important Chilean cultural production, from the catalog of the National Library and private collections, opening a way to approach and understand our history. Curated by the SudFotografica Foundation, it was represented by Jorge Gronemeyer, Andrea Jösch, Mauricio Toro Goya and Luis Weinstein and the National Library of Chile took place.

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Some Chilean publications  


Photography, since its invention, has been installed as an efficient means to transmit various messages. When historically the technical/technological development allowed the reproduction of printed images, massive publications with political objectives, among others, made intensive and strategic use of them.  


In Chile we have a large collection of various types and forms of publications with photographs that have contributed to shaping our society. From the catalog of the National Library and private collections, this exhibition highlights a selection of this interesting Chilean cultural production, it is a way of approaching and understanding our history, contained in the original publications of the time.  


When we look at a photograph we are not seeing reality, but rather a symbolic construction supported by a complex technological system. However, these images are often referred to as documentaries, due to their ability to become evidence that testifies to and illustrates the assertions of editors, candidates, political parties, public and private institutions, the State or the government in power. The editions that use photography with a political function choose, select, organize and circulate -in the sequence of pages- a story that supports their respective points of view, convictions and/or particular interests. It is precisely this ideological operation, in a broad sense, that we want to highlight in this exhibition.  


By exhibiting this diversity of materials from different origins and periods, what we do is try to read the respective editions critically. The rereading of these volumes allows us to see more clearly how the image is even used to cover up and justify crimes and political manipulations, just as the edition of the photographic document also collaborates in denouncing the abuses committed by power.  


The selected publications range from communication efforts of public departments, which editorialize the role of the State, to brochures promoting candidates for different elections, passing through "illustrated" newspapers and magazines where the political story is written with the essential support of photography. . All this thanks to the fact that photographic images are 'paradoxical', they suggest what is not necessarily present in the image, but the message is reinforced by the aesthetic component of the photographs, the material and design characteristics of the publication and above all by the relationships between text and images.  


Nowadays, the instantaneous reading and circulation of technical images has become a natural part of our way of communicating. This exhibition, as a visual exercise, is an invitation to read how photography was used historically to try to convince and establish ideological and political discourses contingent on events that are an important part of the history of the 20th century in our country.  


Far from pretending to be an exhaustive and definitive selection, we consider that this exhibition is rather a necessary exercise, just in times of crisis and profound social, political and cultural changes that we are once again experiencing.  


SudFotografica Foundation 

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