Symposium: Power! Photos! Freedom! over fotografie in de Arabische Lente

Scherptediepte (netwerk voor fotografieonderzoekers in Nederland/Vlaanderen) en het FoMu Antwerpen presenteren op donderdag 16 mei in het FoMu Antwerpen een symposium bij de tentoonstelling Power! Photos! Freedom! over de rol van fotografie in maatschappelijke revolte in het algemeen en in de recente Arabische Lente in het bijzonder.
Het Engelse persbericht:

On May 16th ‘Depth of Field’ and FoMu organize together a spring symposium. This day takes place in FoMu Antwerp and will be based on the framework of the exhibition Power! Photos! Freedom! – about the power of images in the Arab World.
Before the symposium there will be a Depth of Field ‘reading club’, after which a guided visit to the exhibition in FoMu is scheduled. After the symposium FoMu is planning a public debate with some of the symposium speakers.


The role and power of photography and social media in societies in revolt in general and during the Arab Spring in particular.

While photography is a medium that can play games of hide and seek and manipulation, it also mobilises people. It is used to tell a story that can only be told in images, inside and outside of the political arena. What is the power of the image in a rapidly changing (Arab) world? Photography has the power to make or break regimes. Whilst the ubiquitous image of the dictator may create a personality cult around leaders in authoritarian regimes, photography can also serve as a primary catalyst for revolutions and uprisings.

An anonymous graffiti artist in the streets of Cairo captures it well: a gun on the left (“their weapons”), a camera on the right (“our weapons”).


Entry: free for members of Depth of Field / others 15 euro
Registration by transferring 15 euro to ING bank account 1326826 Stichting Scherptediepte, Leiden, Nederland with mentioning of FoMu Antwerp and your name.
(IBAN: NL84INGB0001326826 / BIC: INGBNL2A)
Or cash at the entrance.

Registration obligatory by sending an email to
Keep an eye on for more information and registration.
Where? FoMu, Waalsekaai 47, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
When? Thursday May 16, 10-18u, public evening debate: 20-22u.
Language: English


Lina Khatib (UK / VS) is Head of the Program on ‘Arab Reform and Democracy’ at Stanford University and author of the book ‘Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle’. During the last decennium she studied the role of photography, film and visual media in the Arab World. How do states, activists, artists and people ‘on the street’ make use of television, the social media and mobile phones, posters, cartoons and graffiti to convey and mediate political messages?

Diala Haidar (Lebanon) is one of the women that founded the group ‘Uprising of Women in the Arab World’. This international group started a Facebook campaign to put Women’s rights on the agenda of the Arab Spring and the new political realities in the Arab World. An extensive photo cam¬paign is their main communication strat¬egy. Images of women and men holding slogans to express their support to this campaign proved to be highly efficient. Photographic portraits combined with a written message form a strong combina¬tion to get a personal message across that allows for immediate identification and recognition.

Marta Zarzycka (NL) an Assistant Professor at the Gender Studies Department, Utrecht University. In her current postdoctoral research, titled Images at War: Photography, Gender and Humanitarian Aid, she focuses on the role of digital photography of trauma and atrocity in shaping collective Western consciousness. She will be presenting her latest research paper On Love and Shame: The Politics of Protest Photographs, in which she looks at two photographs of female activists in Cairo, Egypt. She underlines a link between civil protest and the politics of gendered representations and reflects on gender as the rhetoric that mediates the affective reception of these photographs.

Florian Göttke (DE) was gripped by a photograph of a protester in the Syrian uprising printed on the front-page of the International Herald Tribune from October 3, 2011. For Power! Photos! Freedom! he made a work consisting of three photographs of the newspaper and an audio-track with a spoken text. Göttke articulates three movements of approximation: the transformation the image undergoes on its way from the demonstration in Syria via the newspaper into the exhibition space in Antwerp; the relationship that is established between the different actors involved and eventually the underlying power relations revolving around the notion of visibility of images.


– 10u00 – 10u30: coffee
– 10u30 – 11u30: reading club
– 11u30 – 13u00: guided tour Power! Photos! Freedom! by curator Joachim Naudts
– 13u00 – 14u00: lunch (not included)
– 14u00 – 17u15: symposium (10 minutes Q&A after every speaker)
o 14:00-14:10: introduction by Depth of Field / FoMu
o 14u10-14u30: Marta Zarzycka
o 14u40-15u00: Diala Haidar
o 15u10-15u30: Florian Göttke
o 15u40-16u00: Break
o 16u00-17u00: Lina Khatib
o 17u00-17u15: Concluding talk and thoughts
– 17u15 – 18u15: reception
– 18u15 – 20u00: diner (not included)
– 20u00 – 22u00: FoMu Live: public debate on Power! Photos! Freedom! (FoMu-event, not part of the symposium) with Lina Khatib, Diala Haidar and Florian Göttke, moderated by Joachim Naudts