Tiffany Fairey is a Research Fellow at Photography and the Archive Research Centre, University of the Arts, London. Co-founder of PhotoVoice, she was its director for its first 10 years (1999-2009), leading award-winning participatory photography projects in the UK and overseas and pioneering participatory visual pedagogy, training, methods and resources. Her research interests focuses on the impact, ethics and promise of collaborative, participatory and community based photographic practice. Fairey complete her PhD in Visual Sociology at Goldsmiths College in 2015. She is currently a Research Fellow on the AHRC funded project, Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community examining the role of the visual arts in processes of reconciliation. In 2010 she was awarded the Royal Photographic Society’s Hood Medal for outstanding advance in photography for public service.
"Legacies of Visual Activism: The Story of TAFOS, its images and citizen photographers"
Los Talleres de Fotografia Social (TAFOS) was a pioneering grassroots photography project that ran over 12 years (1986-98) during Peru’s bloody internal conflict, arming 270 Peruvians from 30 communities – young people, campesinos, miners, Afro-Peruvians, men and women in the barrios – with cameras. Defining itself as being born out of the people’s need ‘to recover their own image’ (TAFOS 2006), TAFOS photographers documented daily life, living and working conditions, political upheaval and grassroots mobilization during a turbulent period of Peruvian history. TAFOS created a ‘visual memory gathered by the very people that lived it’ (Pastor 2007) that has become part of Peruvian society’s ‘visual social makeup’ (Falconi quoted in Fairey 2015:198).
The TAFOS photographers were doing citizens journalism before the term was coined. Sketching a ‘potential’ history (Azoulay 2014), this presentation will consider the TAFOS experience, its visual pedagogy and its legacy over time, for its photographers and its images. What has become of the TAFOS archive and photographs? How have they been used and by whom? A Korsakow film, These Photos Were My Life, explores the long-term significance of TAFOS for some of its former participants, 20 years after their initial involvement. How has learning and using photography impacted on their lives, what relevance has it had in the years since the project ended? The story of TAFOS raises key questions around the critical relationship between political agency and visual self-representation that remain pertinent to this day.