Photojournalists Are Vital Witnesses to Historical Events, Say Speakers at ST’s Through The Lens Exhibit


SINGAPORE — After traveling the world covering conflict and social unrest for three decades, Washington DC-based photojournalist Louie Palu has returned home to find protests against systemic racism, allegations of election rigging and polarization that culminated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol.

From 2019 to 2021, Mr. Palu, a first-generation Canadian of Italian descent, documented events in the US capital, compiling his photographs in a project called Political Year Zero.

Mr. Palu, who won the World Press Photo Long-Term Project Award for North and Central America in 2022, said: “Photographs are a big part of how we see ourselves, our beliefs and our history.

“A lot of times with politics it’s a bit like theater, and politicians will try to make things happen the way they want.”

Mr Palu was addressing a crowd of more than 100 people at the National Museum of Singapore on Saturday.

His talk – Politics And Photography In A Post-Truth World – is part of the exhibition Through The Lens organized by The Straits Times from October 7-29.

The exhibition offers lectures and guided tours, as well as exhibitions featuring the work of ST photojournalists as well as the winning photos of the 2022 World Press Photo competition.

Photographing the attack on the Capitol, Mr. Palu said that although he had his first worries of catching Covid-19 in a largely unmasked crowd at a time before vaccinations were widely available, he entered into the scrum after thinking.

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Patrick F. Williams