Discussion Topics


Whilst writing my main review on Aida Silvestri’s ‘Even This Will Pass’ show at Roman road I have decided I ought to further my knowledge of why so many refugees are fleeing the Horn of Africa.

I have begun reading the book ‘Conflict and the refugee experience: flight, exile, and repatriation in the Horn of Africa by Assafaw Bariagaber, 2006.


Conflict and the refugee experience: flight, exile, and repatriation in the Horn of Africa by Assafaw Bariagaber, 2006. 

Silvestri suggests that many of the refugees she interviews have fled Eritrea due to the poor standard of the dictatorial government, the population are under political regime and strict surveillance as well as having no freedom of speech.  From what I have discovered from ‘Conflict and the refugee experience…’ so far is that many refugees leave Africa due to political events, crisis and violence. It seems although the political situations are being hidden in the media as I’ve researched why refugees are leaving the Horn of Africa and many past articles have simply put it down to drought and famine.


Leyla Ali Adow, second from left, a Somali refugee who is pregnant, waited with others to be interrogated at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. 

A recent church shooting terrorist situation has lead to a mass security sweep in Kenya. Thousands of Somalian refugees are being swept up by the police and forced into overcrowded refugee camps. An article from the New York Times states that Police officers have entered homes and shops en masse, arresting hundreds of people, including women and children, and placing them on police trucks to take them to detention centres. “They don’t care if you have an ID card or not” claims a Mr. Abdulahi. 

Outside the gates of the camp families have commented to the press:

“My pregnant wife, 17-month-old child and sister are in there,” said Mahdi Ibrahim, 39, a refugee from Ethiopia. “This is the second time they come and arrest my family. Our refugee papers are valid.”

Ismail Osman, 63, a Kenyan citizen who is an ethnic Somali, said that police officers in his neighbourhood the day before had arrested his 32-year-old son, who has a mental illness and was not carrying identification.

“We don’t know where he is,” Mr. Osman said tearfully, showing his son’s Kenyan citizenship papers. “The process is confusing.”

Many of the refugees are terrified of being sent back to war-torn Somalia. What shocks me is that fellow Africans are not helping each other out through times of crisis, the corrupt police ethics are extremely concerning. The moral principles of humanity are shocking in these situations and I find it ultimately distressing.

Video insight to the situation and camps in Kenya available at Aljazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/03/kenya-confines-all-refugees-two-camps-2014325211245266713.html 

New York Times Article, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/world/africa/kenyas-answer-to-terrorism-sweeping-roundups-of-somalis.html?_r=0


I Connect Therefore I am.

‘iConnect therefore I am.’ My photographic response to the Social Identity debate and Sherry Turkles TED talk. 

Available at: 


Discussion Topic:



iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect iConnect

Social Identity.

How do you think the role of photography in our culture is changing, when you think about how it is being used on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc? I’m particularly interested to hear your opinions on how you think photography, particularly self portrait photography, is being used to define an individual’s identity. How is our ‘identity’ constructed through the choice of photographs we post online? 


My Response:

As humans from early Greeks to modern day we have demonstrated an interest in self-exploration. Our current ‘selfie’ craze is a revolution, which reinforces our social identity over the Internet. Sociological research shows that humans are only capable of intimately knowing 150 people, due to social networking we feel we ought to share with more, as man is a social creature and the thought of loneliness drives us mad.

The problem being is we’re rapidly collecting online friends and not distancing quantity vs. quality. In a world where time is money and we are pressured to achieve more, when it comes to socializing it takes place in real life, in real time where you cannot control how you look or what you say. We’re obsessed with building an online persona so we can present ourselves as we want to be seen, we can edit and therefore delete. We can share pictures of when we look our best; it’s endless personal promotion.

However, sacrificing mere connection for conversation is what makes us feel lonely, we claim to have all these online friends but how many of them can you spend a day with, how many can you have a personal conversation with? We share to feel connected, to define ourselves and to feel less alone but in fact it’s doing the exact opposite as you loose physical human interaction.

Technology is rapidly changing who we are as we feel more and more lonely and vulnerable we turn to social media for what we believe to be stability, a controlled network of friends. Sharing a ‘selfie’, getting likes and comments makes one feel good about themselves but what is the actual value of this? We’re slowly forgetting how to physically interact socially face to face with one another, as we feel more comfortable hiding and controlling who we are via technology.

Negative News Obsession. (Explicit Imagery)

Forum 2: Viewer or Voyeur

Please have a look at the following links and share your thoughts regarding the
morality and ethics of reportage photography.




Stoned to Death.

Farah Abdo Warsameh’s Stoned to Death, Somalia, 13 December. Photograph: AP.

My Response:

Why are we obsessed with negative news?

It occurred to me from scanning newspapers everyday that the ratio of negative reportage is unbelievably high compared to the positive. What I wanted to find out was why are we so obsessed as viewers with negative news?

The work of evolutionary psychologist and neuroscientists suggest that we seek dramatic and negative events as our brain craves negative energy, our negative brain tripwires are far more sensitive than the positive and therefore we experience fear more than happiness. We have much more access to the wider world now due to social networking and the media focusing on the negative news constantly creates an atmosphere of fear and stress for the reader as they’re overwhelmed by horrific stories, however as we’re hard-wired to this we share and talk about these dramatic cases much more than the good news when it occasionally comes around. Of course, this is great publicity for the publications, the more shocking their front page headline and accompanying picture is grabs our attention even if we are sickened by it and this compels us to find out more about the situation from shock and intrigue more than the rare positive news, which only seems to be about trashy TV shows and smug gold-plated assholes like Simon Cowell these days.

Reading and seeing negative news all the time stimulates a state of depression and those who indulge in the bad news become stressed and are more likely to make rational unwise decisions which are influenced by consumerism, notice since the recession consumer sales in entertainment has risen rapidly as we constantly try to fix what we cannot mentally escape, even those who don’t read the news are generally still surrounded by it everyday due to conversation or social media.

Essentially bad news makes us think that we feel good about ourselves and we continue to read it, by this the media have us wrapped around their little fingers in fear and control. However, there is no reason why we cannot equal the balance out by simply surrounding yourself with positivity whatever that may be to you.

Photography and The Law.

Forum 1: Photography and The Law

Between 1999-2001 Philip-Lorca diCorcia photographed pedestrians in Times Square, NYC.
The resulting works were shown at Pace/MacGill Gallery in Chelsea. When Erno
Nussenzweig, an Orthodox Jew and retired diamond merchant from Union City,
N.J., saw his picture in the exhibition catalogue, he sued diCorcia and Pace
for exhibiting and publishing the portrait without permission and profiting
from it financially. The suit sought an injunction to halt sales and
publication of the photograph, as well as $500,000 in compensatory damages and
$1.5 million in punitive damages.The suit was eventually dismissed by a New
York State Supreme Court judge who said that the photographer’s right to
artistic expression trumped the subject’s privacy rights.

Mr. Nussenzweig’s lawyer, Jay Goldberg, told The New York Law Journal that his
client “has lost control over his own image” he went on to say
“It’s a terrible invasion to me,” Mr. Goldberg said. “The last
thing a person has is his own dignity.”

When is it right or ethically wrong to make an image? Think of yourself in the
position of the subject and ask yourself, am I happy to be photographed and be
unaware of it?



Head Series

Phillip Lorca diCorcia, Head Series, 2001. 

My response: 

This court case raises awareness of just how easy it is to photograph someone without them knowing. If we’re having any kind of dig at Lorca diCorcia for invasion of privacy then we ought to be reminded that he’s not even close to the only one doing so. We’re constantly being watched by CCTV alone, isn’t this an invasion of privacy or is it for our own good? I believe it’s for our own good as personally I’ve been involved in an incident on public transport to which I was disgusted to find out afterwards that there was no CCTV and I had no physical evidence of what happened. Of course it’s quite scary to know we’re potentially being constantly recorded in public but if it’s for our own safety then I can’t say that I mind.

As for Lorca diCorcia I appreciate his work and the look he was trying to achieve, however I do feel that there should have been some consent from the people he photographed afterwards out of curtsy more than anything. At least then he wouldn’t have had the hassle of the court case, even if he did win. If I was the subject I’d be flattered that someone wanted to use a photograph of me for artistic merit and appreciate that they’d asked permission even after they’d taken it. It seems ethically a little unjust to exhibit an image of someone without their authorization.


Proof that hashtags, tags and self promotion get’s your work seen!

An unexpected share from the Roman Road’s facebook page of my short review has motivated me to focus my main review for the project on this show. Without sending my short review to them I found by ‘liking’ their facebook page that their social media team has read my short review and shared it, which unexpectedly made me feel quite proud.

I have decided I will write my main review on this show as out of all the shows I have seen in 2014 this one has been occupying my mind the most. The seriousness of the powerful work displayed and curated in this particular way at Roman Road has a overwhelming affect on ones state of mind. Although quite dark issues I feel they are extremely important and raising awareness of this can perhaps help to eliminate aspects of these horrific situations the refugees face. In order for an individual to simply better their life is absurd to think that some people have no choice but to risk death before the opportunity arises.


Even This Will Pass, short review available at: https://daniellepughvisualexploration.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/even-this-will-pass/



Watermarks, are the pretentious or sensible?

I find that personally it’s the only way a photographer can protect their work from theft. We all see thousands of images floating around over the web day in and day out but unfortunately not everyone is as respectful to credit them, at least with a watermark it allows someone to view an image and if they admire it they can simply direct themselves to the artist/photographer within a web search.

Of course it seems a little pretentious and arrogant but you’re better safe than sorry, right? I’ve personally had issues in the past where I’ve taken photographs not thought much of them and posted them online, only to find a few years down the line they had been published in a magazine without any credit. It seems that a lot of photographs become more valuable over time, if we’re circulating them now without any tags they may become worthless, anonymous and overlooked.

Commercially it’s a great way to get your name out there alongside your images, it directs customers back to you for more work.

Things to be aware of is that your watermark mustn’t look tacky, it mustn’t be too big to overpower your photograph and distract from the piece but also not too small that it can be very easily removed!

I’ve found a happy medium within my own watermarks with the help of a graphic designer Zack O’Toole. Perhaps they are too distracting, perhaps they ruin the photograph but the way I see it is that if someone wishes to see more than they know where to find us… they can simply contact us to buy a print or the rights to an image. Photographers should be protecting their work, it’s not feasible for us to work for free forever. Besides I’ve never disregarded a great photograph because it had a watermark.