To understand photography from a literal perspective is to believe that the camera can be independent of the thing being recorded - a situation whereby the author is not present and the image creates itself. This assumes that the camera is a perfection of the mechanics of the eye, an idealised way of recording information without introducing human subjectivity: as a technology, it supposes to reproduce objective reality.

However, as those involved in the creation of the photobook Africamericanos show, all images are both culturally and historically specific, not only in the way that the scene is viewed and filmed, but also in the way that those photographs are then circulated, or not, and recorded, or not.

The book brings into focus the relationship between representation and realism and the value of narration and figuration in the creation of what the authors call ‘the imaginary’.  This is the (sometimes violent) way in which dominant discourse creates gaps which systematically erase the visibility of a community, a process of ‘invisiblization’. Africamericanos attempts to render visible these communities, and the eradication of Afro Latino identity, by activating subjectivities which resist a projection of totality: the multiplicity of settings, voices and visions.

First presented as an exhibition organized by the Centro de la Imagen in collaboration with Museo Amparo in Mexico this photobook is the coalescence of archival material from a number of libraries, museums and galleries across Latin America as well as contemporary photography from 34 artists. It is published by Editorial RM and features texts by Claudi Carreras, Abrahiam Nahón, Germán Rey and Sheila Walker (translated by Emily Kirkpatrick).

As Carreras notes, photography means writing with light. It can be used to expose realities and fictions that have been concealed or denied. It can also be used to create new narratives that reappraise the assumed objectivities that construct our current imaginary. And this photobook attempts to do just that.

It is available here.

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