In his essay The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media, Stuart Hall posits that through the production and propagation of images, the media creates representations of our social worlds and functions as a significant means of ideological proliferation. These ideologies serve to inform us ‘how the world is and why it works as it is said and shown to work.’ Hall suggests that we construct our understanding of ourselves within these ideologies, and that they enable us to make sense of our societies and our positions within them, noting that ideologies become naturalized and ideological representations masquerade as common sense so that constructed representations are understood to be natural. Within the larger ideological struggle of representation, Hall states that said ideological imagery is resisted through social and political struggle and practice.
Visual representations of Blackness in its entirety remain a site of ideological struggle, as persistent ideologically-motivated images of Blackness construct and frame our understandings of what it means to be Black the world over. However, just as media is a site for the construction of racial ideologies, it is also one for the reconstruction, transformation and articulation of imagery that challenges these ideas. We spoke to photographer Naima Green, whose photography series Jewels from the Hinterland aims to do just that. We discussed her intentional approach to representing young Black people in her series as she explores imagery of her subjects engaging with nature, and her interest in challenging perceptions about Blackness and identity through this series.