“al margen: Photographs from Latin America and the Caribbean, 2004-2010”

Date: 17 January-1 May 2011
Location and Time: Special Collections Gallery during library hours and Frederic Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu, or Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu

al margen (“living on the margin”) is the result of seven years of photography by Petra Barth in fourteen countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. 70 gelatin silver prints are on display in two campus venues: 40 prints at the Frederic Jameson Gallery in Friedl Building on East Campus and 30 prints in the Special Collections Gallery.

Patagonia, Argentina, April 2010
Patagonia, Argentina, April 2010

Barth’s photography aims “to tell stories about the everyday lives of people living on the margin—their struggles and their dreams.” In her own words,

I use a spontaneous, intimate approach to photograph the daily life of individuals. I look for quiet, reflective moments when people are unaware of the camera and my presence, and genuine feeling is conveyed. Pieced together, these moments describe, with extraordinary clarity, the living conditions all across Latin America and the Caribbean, from Haiti’s streets to the suburbs of Nicaragua and El Salvador, and from the favelas of Rio to the victims of the recent tsunami in Concepcíon, Chile.

My photographs reveal moments that are not often depicted because they happen every day. My camera simultaneously captures the unusual in the ordinary and the ordinariness of the unusual. We often see images of devastated landscapes and human suffering in the wake of disastrous events, but that is only one part of life. What happens before, after, and in between these times? Despite struggle, there is also happiness and the ability to move on and create new narratives every day.

al margen is a candid photographic work that attempts to establish documentary photography as an art form as well as a method of communication. I would like to raise awareness about the living conditions of those who are marginalized, but I am also interested in people and the beauty of ordinary life.

Petra Barth’s photographs are part of the Archive of Documentary Arts.

al margen was organized by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Archive for Human Rights. The exhibit is sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, the Department of Cultural Anthropology, International Comparative Studies, and the Duke Human Rights Center.

Join us for an opening reception and panel discussion, as well as a gallery tour led by Petra Barth, on Thursday, Feburary 24th from 4:00-6:00 PM in the Frederic Jameson Gallery. Stay tuned to The Devil’s Tale for more details about this event!