Generation Z: Visual Self-Governance through Photography

Hacker, Kerstin (2018) Generation Z: Visual Self-Governance through Photography. In: Personas and Places: Negotiating Myths, Stereotypes and National Identities. Waterhill Publishing, New York, NY, pp. 27-41. ISBN 978-0-9939938-9-3

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Abstract. Zambia is presented to the West through prevailing visual narratives of Africa’s population growth, epidemics and poverty. This continual overexposure to similar images creates a familiarity with a visual narrative which is rarely questioned and often feeds into a narrative of ‘Afro-pessimism’. Everyday life, however, as experienced by Zambia’s growing affluent middle class in its urban centres, could not be further from these preconceived images. I have been photographing the series Generation Z in Zambia’s capital Lusaka since 2016, and am documenting the rapidly developing city. This chapter explores the photographic series for its representational function, as well as its engagement with extant theoretical perspectives on Africa. It is critical that new photographic work contributes to the displacement of stereotypes and encourages viewers to contemplate the development processes of a country. Many postcolonial countries were, until now, denied access to photographic education, their own visual history and the research into visual self-governance. However, this lack of research about photographic image production in Zambia in itself does not mean that there was no image production. In my series Generation Z, I attempt to combine the acknowledgement of my own Western visual heritage with the experience of extended stays in Lusaka. I ask viewers to contemplate change in Zambia and dismantle neocolonial visual discourses. I contend that it is important not to return to the limited visual research material available and to not use outdated reference material from the ‘colonial libraries’, as that in itself would not acknowledge the ‘uncited’ recent developments.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Africa, Visual Self-Governance, Practice Research, photography, Zambia, colonial library, representation
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Kerstin Hacker
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 09:56
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:57

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