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Raul Valdivia (ILAS)

Self-representation and Governmentality at the Margins in Lima.

Between 1986 and 1993, the Talleres de Fotografía Social (Social Photography Workshops) or TAFOS, enabled residents of one of the poorest districts in Lima called El Agustino to document different aspects of their everyday life. The large majority of dwellers in this area were migrants from the Andes and their descendants, a population historically excluded and marginalised, and therefore a subaltern group within Peruvian society.

TAFOS is one of the most fascinating and still under-researched examples of social documentary photography in Latin America. It was influenced by the principles of popular education and liberation theology, and contributed to the process of reimagining the subaltern in the capital.

TAFOS photographs circulated in El Agustino mainly through public exhibitions and printed calendars, which allowed local people to see themselves ‘through their own eyes.’ However, as much as a vehicle for constructing an alternative representation of subalternity, these images were also articulating a series of discourses that helped to regulate people’s subjectivities and conduct at the margins. My research explores the ways in which the subaltern is being positioned in TAFOS photographs and the regimes of truth and visuality operating in El Agustino at a time of great upheaval in the country.

Supervisor: Dr Luciana Martins

Image: Yolanda Crucinta - TAFOS (1990)