February 1, 2018
James Estrin, The New York Times
Kara Frame, NPR
Salwan Georges, The Washington Post
Ed Kashi, VII Photo
Griselda San Martin, Documentary Photographer
Moderated by Shamila N. Chaudhary, Foreign Policy Institute Fellow
Experts in photojournalism visited Johns Hopkins SAIS for a panel discussion that marked the first event of The Big Picture, a new initiative of the Foreign Policy Institute led by Shamila Chaudhary. Panelists discussed the value of arts and culture as a lens for examining international affairs. "Policymaking is about the details, but you can’t get policy right if you don’t get the big picture. Turning to visual arts is a way to get to that content that we’re not always able to do in foreign policy," Chaudhary said.
Panelists shared background stories behind their work exhibited throughout the month in the school's Mason Library. The exhibit focuses on pressing global issues explored by a cohort of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s Advanced Mentored Studies Program.
Ed Kashi, a mentor at the Anderson Ranch, discussed his photo taken while on assignment for National Geographic of members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) during a funeral procession honoring members killed in the field. James Estrin's photo portrayed the evolving role of imams in their US communities, turning the traditional job of prayer leader into, at times, social worker, health advocate, strategic consultant, and more. Kara Frame shared an emotional video clip of her documentary project about veterans and their families struggling with violent episodes of post-traumatic distress. Griselda San Martin's selected photos captured joyful and bittersweet moments of reunion in New York as relatives from Mexico saw for the first time in many years family who emigrated to the U.S. without legal status. Salwan Georges discussed his childhood as a refugee driven out of Iraq and landing in the Dearborn, Michigan community of immigrants from Muslim countries. His photos document moments that show the people of this community celebrating their cultural traditions while also growing and changing the American identity.
These stories illustrated the policy-relevance and social impact of photojournalism and other artistic forms. Following the panel, the artists joined the audience for a reception and tour of the exhibit.