How contemporary photographers have subverted the constructions and complicities of whiteness
From the advent of early colonial photography in the 19th century to contemporary “white savior” social-media images, photography continues to play an integral role in the maintenance of white sovereignty. As various scholars have shown, the technology of the camera is not innocent, and nor are the images it produces.
In this way, the invention and continuance of the “white race” is not just a political, social and legal phenomenon, it is also a complexly visual one. In a time of revivified fascisms, from Donald Trump to Tommy Robinson, we must attempt to locate the image of whiteness anew, so that we can better understand its nonsensical construction. What does whiteness look like, and how might we begin to trace an anti-racist history of artistic resistance that works against it?
The Image of Whiteness seeks to introduce its reader to some important extracts from the troubling story of whiteness, to describe its falsehoods, its paradoxes and its oppressive nature, and to highlight some of the crucial work photographic artists have done to subvert and critique its image.