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According to Ariella Azoulay, understanding photography does not just mean evaluating photographs. The photo is only an event in that process that constitutes a photograph and always involves an actual or potential spectator in the relationship between the photographer and the photographed person. Moving the focus from the product to the practitioner, defined in Civil Imagination, underlines the way which images can strengthen and resist the oppressive reality imposed on photographed persons. Azoulay sustains that “civil” must be distinguished from “political” and the ontological claim of the need to distinguish between public and private constitues the basis for a civil discourse. The book traces new perspectives of civil action for citizens, but also for those to whom citizenship is denied – unavoidable partners in a reality that they are invited to re-imagine and re-build.
Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: Ontologia politica della fotografia