Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography

Installation image Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography

About the Exhibition Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography (text from the Hasselblad Foundation website, Spring 2021)

The times we live in have been characterised as a period of post-truth – one in which fact-based truths are often replaced by so-called alternative facts. Emotions and personal beliefs are used to sway public opinion at the expense of science-based arguments.

In photography, objectivity and truth have been debated since the 1980s, and the once widespread idea of photography as a neutral representation has been discredited. Portraying other people’s lives is challenging and there is the constant risk of exoticisation and exploitation. Documentary photography has therefore long been subject to criticism, but in the last twenty years, the field has undergone a change. Today, photo-based artists are approaching social issues with new strategies and an awareness of their own role in forming narratives.

This exhibition explores how nine contemporary artists approach ideas of truth, facts, and objectivity, and how they – guided by ethical reflections – make urgent matters visible. Their work portrays some of the most challenging issues of our time: human rights, the environment, democracy, migration, technology, and violence. The projects are rooted in social realities – but they do not attempt to represent reality. The artists step into the world, turn to archives, and nuance established views. Here, the truth plays a central part – not as an authoritarian or neutral vision, but as a starting point for socially engaged contemporary art.

Curator: Kerstin Hamilton, PhD candidate in Artistic Research at HDK-Valand, Gothenburg University

For information, images, catalogue and videos, visit the Research Catalogue.