The Photography Collective

When Reginald L. Jackson became active in Community Change, Inc., the organization benefited immediately from his remarkable ability as a professional photographer. Then came one of the finest programs the organization ever initiated. Under Reggie’s leadership we formed the Photography Collective, which became active in 1993. Local photographers joined in an effort to make photographic images of the struggle against racism available to people who educate about racism. A photographic image bank was housed in the CCI library, and at one time several dozen photographers from around the country had subscribed to the bank, and had images in it. Educators, activists, were able to view the images, determine which images they could use in their work, and then they could negotiate the cost with the individual photographers.

The Photography Collective opened with two simultaneous juried exhibitions of Photographs, displayed under the theme, “Struggles Against Racism”. One exhibition site was the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, in Roxbury, and the other was the Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge. It was the first time these two museum sites, in different parts of the Boston community, had cooperated. That, in itself, was an accomplishment. “Struggles Against Racism” then became the theme of the Collective, inviting photographers to submit their work for juried acceptance; all photographs had to relate to the “Struggle” in the United States.

Locally, photographers from the Boston area met regularly at the CCI library, shared their work, critiqued ways in which they could more adequately reflect the theme of the Collective. Some of the exchanges were sharp, but as differing views were challenged, learning increased. It was an exciting time and idea. One of the great regrets for me is that we were unable to gain enough financial support to maintain the Collective beyond a few years.

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