This year Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday. But this is not a day of celebration for the indigenous people the country was built on. On the 11th of April 2016, Attawapiskat, a small isolated town in the North of Canada, was in the news around the world. On that day 11, mostly young, people tried to commit suicide. This was due to a high rate of unemployment, intergenerational trauma, addiction and mental health problems. ‘ECHO’ is a collaborative project that tries to give the youth a voice while in the same time making critical remarks about the media’s portrayal of social minorities and about the consequences of our colonial past in their everyday life.
The good, the bad and the ugly
In this thesis I try to find the answer to the following question: How do I make sure that I, as a (white) privileged engaged photographer, make nuanced work? Work that touches the viewer and inspires them to do something about the situation, makes them think or discuss about it or maybe even donate money to a good cause? I do this in 4 chapters where I explore the different meanings of engagement, research ways of telling nuanced stories by looking at ethical dilemma’s when photographing vulnerable people and the effects of the colonial age on photography nowadays. I then compare different work methods and their effect on the audience and take a look at the future and the wide array of possibilities in ways of working that lies ahead.