Anthropology PhD student explores new approaches to humanitarian photography

By Carol Clark | eScienceCommons | March 31, 2015

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"I sat down with Marciella on some rocks in front of her house and had a chat, I asked her how she wanted to be represented," recalls Aubrey Graham, a photographer and a PhD candidate in anthropology at Emory's Laney Graduate School. "She said that she wanted to be shown suffering, no question about that. So I asked her how she wanted to portray her suffering. She took her beautiful headscarf off to show her gray hair and clasped her hands to her face. It was quite dramatic."

Marciella was thrilled with the resulting photographs (above and right), says Graham. The striking images are part of an exhibition of Graham's photographs on the ground floor of the Emory Center for Ethics, where Graham is currently an artist-in-residence through the Ethics and Arts Program. She will be giving a talk on the exhibition at noon on Wednesday, April 15, in the Center for Ethics, room 102.

"Portraits in Disneyland: Stories of Mugunga III," on view through May, consists of photos that Graham made in collaboration with internally displaced people in a camp near the humanitarian hub of Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Graham describes the camp, known as Mugunga III, as having "been visited and photographed by nearly every errant aid worker, VIP, celebrity and journalist who arrives in the region — to the degree that its frustrated coordinators casually dubbed it 'Disneyland.'"

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