Darkroom Revolutions: Photography and Political Life in Nicaragua

Darkroom Revolutions: Photography and Political Life in Nicaragua
7 December 2017, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Ileana L. Selejan, UCL

Politically motivated imagery has had a prominent role in Nicaragua's recent history, particularly in the aftermath of the Sandinista Revolution (1978-79). During the decade of the 1980s the Sandinista government utilised photography in a variety of settings, illustrating newspapers and magazines, producing posters and pamphlets, in order to promote revolutionary idealism and to implement its agenda. Paralleling these movements, various communities and citizens’ groups sought to affirm their own ideals, and to voice their claims in a public forum, creating new images or repurposing extant ones to their ends. Nation-building efforts thus coalesced at the intersection of state programs and citizen demands.

Grounded in this history, my project investigates forms of vernacular photography and their impact on politics through participation and identification across various social and cultural sectors. I seek to understand how photography has contributed to the formation of political identities in Nicaragua, evaluating the legacy of this ideological visual record and how it is reflected or overturned (perhaps altogether ignored) in present discourses. Building on dissertation work in art history, the paper will address recent ethnographic fieldwork, exploring current political imaginaries, as well as fractures and contestations in the story of the revolution.

This project is a part of Citizens of Photography: The Camera and The Political Imagination: “an empirical anthropological investigation of a hypothesis about the relationship between photographic self-representation and different societies’ understanding of what is politically possible.” http://www.ucl.ac.uk/anthropology/photodemos

For more information about the seminar, you can visit our blog: http://anthropologyseminarilas.blogs.sas.ac.uk


Olga Jimenez
020 7862 8871