What surrounds the creation of an NGO photographic image? How is this constructed? What underpins it and what is its social dynamic and texture? In his new book, Unwrapping Photography; Reading the Layers Behind a Photographic Image, GMD Associate Lecturer Luca Damiani considers these difficult issues amongst others.

Unwrapping Photography looks at the development, from concept to delivery, of human rights photography. The work is based on the photo-documentary Une Saveur Inegalee (published by Amnesty in 2013, http://ai-burkinafaso-reportage.lucadamiani-art.com/#!home), that Luca developed in 2011-2012 in Burkina Faso, in collaboration with Amnesty International.

This study unpacks the photograph and shows its flow and over-layering process of stages and elements. These elements are often hidden in the final photographic image, but they are key aspects in the analysis, meaning and complete reading of the photograph.

“Since 2008 I have collaborated with Amnesty International as a media artist and photographer. I have worked with Amnesty on a variety of international campaigns and education projects mainly within Europe and West Africa. The work with Amnesty has always been balanced by one area of my academic research around art, design and human rights. Unwrapping Photography is based on my work in the field as a photographer, but it looks at the practice with a critical reflection, observation and visual analysis.” – Luca M. Damiani

Unwrapping Photography analyses how we can read and look at a human rights photograph not only as an output, but as a multi-layered performance of social and visual construction. With a mixed ethnographic diary style and with around 400 photographs and 60 diagrams, this book shapes a critical and analytical perspective of the photographic practice in human rights, giving a different camera view.

Readers interested in Photography, Human Rights, Social Research, Ethnographic Methods, Art & Design for Action might find this piece very relevant for their practice and research.

Luca M. Damiani, Unwrapping Photography (2017) Cambridge Academic. ISBN-10: 1903499917