From September 18-28, the Pulitzer Center joined over 50 other artists and organizations in exhibiting at Photoville, New York’s largest annual photo festival. Situated in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, exhibitions hung in shipping containers repurposed as mini gallery spaces. In the eight days of the festival, over 70,000 people moved through the space.
The Pulitzer Center’s container held a show titled “Global Goods, Local Costs: Fashion’s True Price,” featuring the work of grantees Sean Gallagher, Jason Motlagh and Larry C. Price. The exhibition was a visual exploration of the human lives affected by the production of the clothing and accessories we wear every day. Through their lenses, the photographers take a hard look at exploitative working conditions, health hazards and environmental implications in the production of leather, garments and gold.
The exhibition also featured an interactive component: a prompt on the back wall of the container asked viewers to question where their goods come from by using the hashtag #WhoMadeMy. The aim of this feature was to get people thinking about the fact that behind almost every product we buy there is a story that begins worlds away from where it ends.
Discussions inside the container ranged from the advantages and disadvantages of visual storytelling, to feeling helpless as a consumer.
"Do you think this is exploitative, this picture?" asked one young woman to the woman next to her, staring at the image of Rajina Aktar. She answered, "No, I think this is storytelling. Seeing her makes me wonder if my clothes came from one of those factories. I'm becoming more informed, and that will ripple back to her and other people who work in these factories."
"Looking at this in a shipping container," said another woman gazing at an image of a tannery worker's legs, "it gives me chills."