Activism & Protest

Be it quiet activism or disruptive protest, over the past two years we have witnessed an immense mobilisation of people banding together in solidarity.

Photography has always been closely connected to the act of protest and activism. The subjective lens can both aid a cause, and work against it when it comes to photographs of protest. Indeed, some of the most famous photographs in the world are images that have sparked movements, political policies or shifted public opinion so much so, that it has altered the course of history. When Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk burned himself to death in Saigon in 1963 to protest the persecution of monks, the moment was captured by Malcolm Browne. The devastating act led to urgent negotiations surrounding the Buddhists’ plight with pressure from the White House. The image remains one of the most harrowing and poignant in photographic history.

In this Collection, we look back at the archive of protest photography, as well as contemporary events. Photographers and collectives are creating new archives – not as neutral photojournalism, but documenting with political motivation.