Alex Beldea is a documentary photographer, pursuing his PhD at the University of Huddersfield, where he completed his BA and MRes. His practice led research explores new potentials for visual media to impact society in relation to the emerging number of citizen photographers. Whilst it might be evident how the rise of citizen photographers has effected a blurring of the lines between traditional media and social media, it is imperative to explore and reflect on how imagery produced by citizen photographers can inform and influence documentary practice and how input and self-representation can be facilitated by documentary photographers. For the last three years Alex has been focusing his practice on the situation of refugees in Europe and recently in Tunisia. In his recent work he has been seeking to intertwine different media: photographs, interviews, as well as appropriated images from refugees and official documents referring to their situation. Alex received Honourable Mentions at the IPA (2014, 2016). Valid for Travel project was featured in the British Journal of Photography and exhibited at the New York Photo Festival (2015). In 2016, he exhibited the project Second Home at the Manchester Art Gallery. In 2017, Asma series was showcased at the Huddersfield Art Gallery. In 2018, his project Us was exhibited in London, at the Revolv Collective, and at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, in Bucharest. In June 2019, The Long Wait project was exhibited at the Temporary Contemporary Gallery in Huddersfield.
The ability to communicate globally has expanded beyond the sole remit of large institutions, to include individual citizens and networks of citizens. This cacophony of opinion has seen the narrative dimensions of wars and conflicts becoming as important as its physical dimensions.
A myriad of images inundates us daily with sequences from a more or less proximate reality, leaving us with the task of negotiating our responses to these representations that empathically seek our attention. The images that we encounter arrive in various forms on various platforms: advertising photographs, surveillance images, selfies, pictures of war or citizen photographs… In the midst of this new and dynamic representational landscape, independent activist groups and photographers documenting injustices around the world have become more prevalent, taking advantage of accessible means of photographic capture and of the possibility for immediate sharing of images with the world. Palestine is one of the places where injustices happen on a daily basis, leaving Palestinians with few and unequal means to respond with a counter narrative. This new online reality with its social media platforms has its own limitations but it is now an important part of their resistance, with photography being used as a form of protest. Citizen and independent photographers, such as Janna Tamimi and the Activestills group, are using these online channels to attest to injustice and oppression themselves, regardless of the presence of the photojournalist as a witness. The professional stance of photojournalists and their objective observations are assumptions that have been fading out, motivating non-professionals from Palestine, and other places, to disseminate imagery with the hope to be seen and to be heard.