The Folded Map Venture’s Tonika Johnson Confronts Alec Soth & the NYT


On September 5, 2020, The New York Instances printed “The Great Divide” – the newest entry of their “The America We Want” Instances Opinion collection – which examined neighborhoods on Chicago’s North Facet and South Facet and the large disparities in wealth and well being which have emerged between them on account of racist insurance policies like redlining that started within the early 20th century.

The NYT employed Magnum Pictures’ Alec Soth, a well known and extremely regarded photographer to journey from his house in Minnesota for a 3 day project in Chicago. Unbeknownst to him and the NYT editors, photographer and activist Tonika Johnson – a educated journalist/photographer with an MBA – had spent years documenting the very same disparity in the identical neighborhoods for her Folded Map Venture. 

Social media criticism led to Soth apologizing, saying, “Her work is an instance of long-term dedicated work that’s exactly what the world wants proper now. What it doesn’t want is photographers parachuting into complicated conditions.” Soth additional donated his project charge of $1500 to The Folded Map.

In her public response to Soth, she wrote, “I might by no means settle for a job to doc segregation in one other location WITHOUT researching to search out associated work about and/or by the locals. It’s evident you nor @nytimes did neither in any other case Alec, you’ll have simply discovered about my work with one google search…” Additional, Johnson acknowledged, “Hopefully, this may be remodeled right into a teachable second, an instance of what’s required to start rectifying inequity and unfairness in our nation.”

The NYT added an editor’s observe to its piece, stating, “After publication of this photograph essay, Instances Opinion photograph editors had been alerted to Tonika Lewis Johnson’s work, which additionally addresses segregation and inequality in Chicago. We encourage readers to study extra about Ms. Johnson’s Folded Map mission right here.”

On this episode of Imaginative and prescient Barely Blurred, Sarah and Allen focus on the controversy and complexities surrounding the NYT’s article, plus John Divola criticizes MFA pupil William Carmargo, and Jeff Mermelstein images your texts for #nyc.

We point out the next photographers, articles, and web sites on this episode:

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