Bearing Witness

Related Exhibition Public Intimacy

Sunday, March 16, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater

Protesters Gather For Tahrir Square Rally, November 23, 2011, Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Given the power and pervasiveness of photography in both art and everyday life, what is the significance of the rapid and fundamental changes that the field is undergoing? How have social media, digital cameras, and amateur photojournalism altered the way photographs capture the everyday, define current events, and steer social and political movements? How have photographers responded to these shifting conditions, as well as to the new ways in which images are understood, shared, and consumed? How have our expectations of photography changed? Bearing Witness, a one-day symposium hosted by SFMOMA, considers these questions and assesses the ways in which photography matters now more than ever.

Convened by Erin O'Toole, associate curator of photography, SFMOMA, and Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs, SFMOMA; Bearing Witness is made possible by generous support from the Fraenkel Gallery Fund for New Studies in Photography.

Bearing Witness is preceded on March 14 and 15 by Visual Activism, a two-day symposium that explores relationships between visual culture and activist practices.

9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Registration
10:00 a.m. Introduction: Erin O'Toole, associate curator of photography, SFMOMA
10:15 - 11:00 a.m. Keynote: Margaret Olin, senior research scholar, Yale University: "Witnessing, Bystanding, Onlooking, Participating"
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Session One
11:00 - 11:15 p.m. Susan Meiselas, photographer, Magnum Photos
11:15 - 11:30 a.m. Zoe Strauss, artist, Magnum Photos
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Susan Meiselas, Zoe Strauss, and Margaret Olin in conversation with Corey Keller, curator of photography, SFMOMA
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Session Two
1:30 - 2:15 p.m. Pete Brook, editor of, blogger for Wired, freelance writer and curator: "What Can Photography Do for Prison Reform?"
2:15 - 3:00 p.m. Doug Rickard, artist and founder of and in conversation with Erin O'Toole
3:00 - 3:15 p.m. Break
3:15 - 4:45 p.m. Session Three
3:15 - 3:30 p.m. Kathy Ryan, director of photography, The New York Times Magazine
3:30 - 3:45 p.m. Benjamin Lowy, photographer
3:45 - 4:00 p.m. Mike Krieger, cofounder, Instagram
4:00 - 4:45 p.m. Kathy Ryan, Benjamin Lowy, and Mike Krieger in conversation

Bearing Witness is made possible by generous support from the Fraenkel Gallery Fund for New Studies in Photography