Inhumane, justice needed: Reactions to Philippine detention centers
As a documentary photographer, we work hard to make sure that the images we make represent the visual voice of our subjects. Many times I have said, that to be able to capture the pain, anger, fear, anxiety and joy of our subjects, we must also feel them.
We must do our best to take images with emotional content that can make our audience feel the same emotions that our subject felt at the moment our shutter clicked to freeze the image.
The heart and soul of our work is doing our best to get a reaction and move our audience to act, say something, or acknowledge that something is wrong.
As part of my exhibit, "Bursting at the Seams – Inside Philippine Detention Centers" at the Ayala Museum’s Filipinas Heritage Library Gallery, we decided not to run a video of images accompanied by haunting music, but instead make the empty black wall a space where audiences who visit the exhibition can put in writing their reaction to the images mounted on the walls. (READ: Bursting at the seams: Philippine detention centers)
With two more weeks of exhibition, the wall is getting full.
Those who don’t write their reflection usually stop by the wall and spend time reading the white index cards with black, blue, and pink marking pens.
Parents ask their children to write something. Foreigners use their own language to share their reflections. Others with talents to draw, share their feelings the best way they can.
The big black wall is now an integral part of the exhibition, not with images but with words felt by the audience moved to react and reflect on how they felt looking at the inhumane conditions of our detention centers.
Our goal is to collect all these index cards and give them to the chairs of the Justice committee of the Senate and House of Representatives so that they too can read and feel the silent voice of our citizens, asking for solutions to the inhumane conditions of our penology infrastructure.
We are sharing their words with hopes that it will encourage you to visit the exhibition.
Rick Rocamora is an award-winning documentary photograher. The photos in this article are reactions to his photo exhibit, "Bursting at the Seams: Philippine Detention Centers," at the second floor of the Ayala Museum. It runs from March 10 to April 6, 2018.