The photographic medium is shadowed by its exploitative traits. The notions of “capturing” and “taking” photographs highlight an imbalanced power dynamic that renders one side of the lens as dominating and the other as vulnerable. The exhibition Looking After: Photography as an Act of Care seeks to counter this narrative. It centres a different perspective in which image-making is based on a relationship of respect and the photograph is a gesture of care. Emily Carr University’s artists ask: How does photography make us care? How does it depict care? And why do we care about photography?
Here, images serve as a bond – even to those who are not with us anymore. They highlight photography’s close relationship to memory, convey its fluidity, and articulate how images form and express our identities and deepest connections. The look through the viewfinder doesn’t depict the subject as “other,” and isn’t one of investigation, but rather one that is concerned, curious, and compassionate. The works created for this exhibition reveal a sense of belonging not only to our communities but also to the natural world and the land we now inhabit. They ask how we care for ourselves and our own bodies through image-making. Looking After: Photography as an Act of Care brings together emerging artistic voices that understand the urgency of needing to care and examine how a camera can constitute, conduct, or create a work that demonstrates this. It is the study of care through a lens.
Curator Birthe Piontek is the Assistant Professor of Photography, Audain Faculty of Art, Emily Carr
Capture x Emily Carr is a partnership between Capture Photography Festival and the Audain Faculty of Art at Emily Carr University of Art + Design