Photography review: Human Rights and Human Wrongs

Martin Luther King photographed by Rob Fitch

Photographers’ Gallery | ★★★★☆

Starting with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Human Rights and Human Wrongs exhibition features 300 prints taken from the Black Star collection of twentieth century photoreportage. The prints depict racism, oppression and a common struggle uniting movements as diverse as American Civil Rights and north Africans’ attempts at overthrowing their French colonial overlords. They hark back to a time when news photographers bore a greater burden of responsibility.
Sometimes the fate of oppressed groups depended on how successfully they carried out their roles a witnesses to, and recorders of, history. The exhibition makes a great case for the political potency of photographs. Clearly they change things. Some of the images are hard to look at, and that’s the point – it’s difficult to ignore the plight of others when you can see it plain view.

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