The Folded Map Project’s Tonika Johnson Confronts Alec Soth & the NYT – PhotoShelter Blog


On September 5, 2020, The New York Occasions printed “The Nice Divide” – the newest entry of their “The America We Want” Occasions Opinion collection – which examined neighborhoods on Chicago’s North Aspect and South Aspect 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 Photographs’ Alec Soth, a widely known and extremely regarded photographer to journey from his dwelling in Minnesota for a 3 day project in Chicago. Unbeknownst to him and the NYT editors, photographer and activist Tonika Johnson – a skilled journalist/photographer with an MBA – had spent years documenting the very same disparity in the identical neighborhoods for her Folded Map Mission. 

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 price of $1500 to The Folded Map.

In her public response to Soth, she wrote, “I’d 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 came upon 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 picture essay, Occasions Opinion picture editors have 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 venture right here.”

On this episode of Imaginative and prescient Barely Blurred, Sarah and Allen talk about the controversy and complexities surrounding the NYT’s article, plus John Divola criticizes MFA scholar 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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