Tracing the social contract of photography: How do we evidence the collaborative social engagement process in photography without undermining the value of the final visual outcome?
The thesis sets out the theoretical framework for which the practice-based research is delivered, supporting but challenging to what extent, there is a ‘social contract’, inherent in photography as argued by Azoulay. The framework pays consideration to photography’s conflicted history, positioned between Rancière’s thinking of photography as a “trace of the true” against Sontag’s view of photography as enabling the “voyeuristic stroller”. For the purposes of this research, which actively privileges the process of social engaged practice in photography, weight is given to Rancière’s and Azoulay’s argument. The thesis further explores the principles of Helguera’s layers of participation, which discusses different approaches socially engaged art practitioners use for their collaboration with others. I specifically focus on the creative and collaborative participation methodology, which enables the most active and accessible approach to co-authoring art projects.