Photography and Memory: Rethinking May '68

Philosophy of Photography 2 (1):83-96 (2011)
Abstract
This article takes as its starting point an exhibition of photographs of May '68 by photojournalist Bruno Barbey at the Hayward Gallery in London in 2008, in order to consider the role that photography has played in shaping the memory and the forgetting of May '68, 40 years on. The article examines the problematic of the documentation and display of protest photographs, focusing on how compositional decisions by the photographer have come to facilitate his photographs' subsequent institutional framing. On this basis I argue that the predominant representational modes support hegemonic narratives of the events of May '68 and highlight questions regarding the current difficulty of attending to the representation of collective political action
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