Imaging Famine is a research project that details how famine has been represented in the media, from the nineteenth century to the present day. Its aim is to provoke a debate about the political effect of such images, particularly photographs, in our understanding of the majority world.

The project began with an exhibition at the Newsroom, The Guardian and Observer Archive and Visitor Centre in London, in 2005. The details of that exhibition are available online at the Imaging Famine project web site. In its resources section, this site contains the articles, reports and videos which supported the exhibition.

This blog continues the work of the project with periodic posts examining contemporary representations of famine and famine-related issues in the majority world, especially ‘Africa’. We are especially interested in the way representations of famine have helped produce ‘Africa’ as a singular place (with its construction signified by those quotation marks), and we will be posting historical images, previous research and past stories as we find them.

We are also interested in visualizations that challenge (in the words of James Ferguson) the enactment of ‘Africa’ as “a place of lacks and absences, failings and problems, plagues and catastrophes.” In the original exhibition we curated a brief and selective section called “Africa Uncovered” that highlighted this need. In the years since the exhibition many new portrayals of ‘Africa’ have been produced and new work is constantly being created. We cannot offer a comprehensive account of this work, but in tandem with related sites we want to call attention to the different visualizations we are now seeing.

We welcome suggestions for relevant material to post and review, invite potential contributors to get in touch with us via the Contact form, and look forward to your engagement with the work.

David Campbell, DJ Clark, Kate Manzo

May 2010

Header photo: Paul Lowe, Somalia, 1992

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