This N That: Keep In The Know With Photography News
Latoya Ruby Frazier photographs Ohio worker’s strike
After 53, a General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio, has been shut down. Phrased as being “unallocated” by the company’s chief executive, Mary Barra, the closing of the factory sees 1,500 workers lose their jobs; their lives turned upside down.
Chicago based artist and photographer, LaToya Ruby Frazier, known for blurring the lines between art and journalism, captures the devastating impact that the shutdown has had on the people of Lordstown. Her new body of work, titled ‘The Last Cruze’ focuses mostly on the individuals affected and is on exhibition at The Renaissance Society in Chicago until December. Aptly named after a protest sign held outside of the General Motors factory, ‘The Last Cruze’ took Frazier months to complete. Factory employees had been working on the Chevrolet Cruze when the shutdown occurred. Work on this specific product was supposed to continue through 2021.
Since she was not allowed on the site of the protests, many of Frazier’s pictures had to be taken from a helicopter, 1,500 feet above the factory. General Motors had threatened to shoot her if she was found trespassing. It was only thanks to the votes of 1,112 members of the United Auto Workers union that Frazier has been able to take her photographs.
The strikes are ongoing.
Online photo database, ImageNet, to remove 600,000 images due to racist classifications
An unlikely pair shed light on the flawed classification system employed by ImageNet in its use of people’s images. ImageNet, one of the world’s leading online image databases, will remove 600,000 images from its website due to the revealing work of artist, Trevor Paglen, and A.I. researcher, Kate Crawford.
The duo’s exhibit, titled ‘Training Humans’, is on display at the Fondazione Praada’s Osservatorio venue in Milan and was supposed to run until February 2020. It exposes the racist and ridiculous ways in which the online database categorises its subjects. ImageNet is largely used to train machines and law enforcement agencies how to “see”, as well as being a method of facial-recognition for schools and private employers for security purposes. It chooses from over 2,500 possible tags in order to classify people.
Many of these tags include racial slurs, and often give out assignments to individuals on ethnicity, fashion sense and general appearance. Words like “doctor”, “parent”, “handsome”, and “pipe smoker” tend to be applied more to white people’s images. On the other side of this, however, people of color seem to be painted with far more offensive and generalizing brushes. Despite over 2,500 tags, black people may only be seen by the website as “black”, “black African, “negro” or “negroid”.
Their exhibition is accompanied by an online site in which user can upload a photograph of themselves and have it labelled the ImageNet way. In their investigative article on ImageNet, Crawford and Paglen state, “We created ImageNet Roulette as a provocation: it acts as a window into some of the racist, misogynistic, cruel, and simply absurd categorisations embedded within ImageNet. It lets the training set ‘speak for itself,’ and in doing so, highlights why classifying people in this way is unscientific at best, and deeply harmful at worst.”
With ImageNet’s removal of the images from their website, Crawford and Paglen have announced that their exhibition, ImageRoulette, has “achieved its aims” and will only be available until Friday, September 27th.
Fotoware exhibition in Oslo features photographs to reveal the struggles of the world and its inhabitants.
Norweigian software company, Fotoware, has put on an exhibition gathering photographs from organizations around the world. The exhibition is titled ‘Making a Difference through Photography’, and aims to bring awareness to the difficulties that the world faces today such as fighting climate change, poverty, hunger, and promoting human rights. The exhibition takes place over three weeks from September 18th and is hosted in Oslo on the former shipyard of Aker Brygge.
Fotoware spokesperson, Radmila Milenkovich states, ‘In day-to-day life, it’s sometimes easy to forget about things we do not see; media writes about world issues that are just so hard to take in, and sometimes hard to imagine.’ The exhibition features photographs from multiple humanitarian and environmental organizations, as well as photographers.
The organizations featured in the exhibition include Oceana; an international advocacy organization dedicated to ocean conservation, PhotoVoice; a UK based charity that designs and delivers tailor-made participatory photography, digital storytelling, and self-advocacy projects for socially excluded groups, Wings of Support; an independent and private initiative of KLM employees that aims to achieve a sustainable improvement in the quality of children’s lives by facilitating education, care and medical assistance. Other contributors include Greenpeace, photojournalist, Ami Vitale, and French photographer, Melanie-Jane Frey.
Images emerge from Moscow’s discouragingly small climate protest
Friday, September 20th saw the outcry of thousands of protestors across the globe united in demanding urgent governmental and political action to combat climate change. Cities big and small had varying turnouts with roughly 1,600 protests in 125 countries. New York saw a crowd of 300,000 take to the streets, while a smaller city like Dublin had a turnout of 10,000. The movement was felt across the globe. One city in particular, however, couldn’t quite reach the same amount as others. Moscow had roughly 40 people take up the mantle.
Moscow had arguably the most disappointing showing of all of the protests. However the activists in their bleak numbers faced a number of challenges on the day. Russia’s restrictive laws against organized protests make it incredibly hard for civilians to express themselves politically. Protesters need permits which are extremely hard to obtain. The flaw in this is that protesters without permits may picket silently, but one at a time. Photographer, Konstantin Formin, was on the scene to capture each protester’s allotted time on the picket line.
This meant that 40 people had to line up and take turns to protest in one particular spot, without chants or vocal outbursts against their government. Yet this isn’t a complete failure. Activists see the bright side in there being more Russian’s willing to speak out than in years before.
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