Beresford Hodge Q&A
For the best part we all have the ability to look and not truly see. To engage others requires a platform, a means to open visual debate and hone our skills via collaboration, to think and act in the context of we and us and not me, myself and I. No one is the finished article, we are all a work in progress. This is what the Black Gaze means to me and why it matters.
How does the Black gaze relate to your photography practice?
For the best part my photography practice is a solitary pursuit, dialog is pushed to the periphery it becomes essential to engage and build relationships to understand your subject matter.
I find the camera to be a wonderful companion which has to ability to decode the complexities of life.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
Who speaks for the maligned and the disenfranchised? Documented imagery must serve as their voice. The world is full of people and subject matter that is overlooked.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
I’m influenced by what is clearly palpable in 2020. People are asking questions of themselves and others. There is no where to hide which is an inspiration as this will bring about a lasting change for the benefit of all.
The challenge is to produce work that makes a contribution, the camera in the right hands is a powerful tool.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Stanley Greene is unquestionably one of the stand out pillars of photojournalism. I admire his ability to allow his work to do the speaking for him, his body of work engages the viewer. It tells you to ask questions of yourself, your behaviour to your fellow human beings and what we are capable of reducing ourselves to.
The majestic Gordon Parks; photojournalism, film, writing and director. He is the 360 man, a human being that was more than the sum total of his parts!
I have to also Ruddy Roye even though he is a contemporary photographer. His work speaks of the human condition. Nothing is thrown together, his work is more the imagery!
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
The discipline is not to frame the debate through race. This in my experience sucks the oxygen out of the room. This is my low!
The debate now, is not to underestimate who you are capable of becoming. This is my high!
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
For the last three and a half years, I have been documenting the tragedy that is the Grenfell fire disaster, it has redefined what it is to be a citizen and a subject in the United Kingdom.
This callous unprecedented catastrophe has exposed what it means to be socially housed, what has become clearer to all over time, is that the state and local authorities were fully aware of these clandestine malpractices, demonising this community, and braking the social contract of trust, choosing financial gain over combustible substandard cladding which was no fit for purpose, sending innocent people to their deaths
As for what more I would like to do, why have we not produced a Larry Burrows, Don McCullin or Eddie Mullholland?
As a contracted freelance stringer for Thomson Reuters, my industry of photojournalism and editorial press photography is guilty of woeful representation of ethnicities and the inclusion of people from all walks of life which does not reflect the readership it serves.
About Beresford Hodge
Beresford Hodge is a photojournalist and freelance editorial press photographer based in London and the South East.
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