Human Rights, Human Wrongs

FullSizeRender-6Reading about human rights and seeing the images are two completely different experiences. The Human Rights, Human Wrongs exhibit covers 1945 to the early 90s “featuring more than 200 original press prints.”

I didn’t know what to expect but the warning signs by the stairs told me it wasn’t for the faint of heart. The atmosphere changes very quickly after leaving the ground floor cafe towards the exhibit. The journey to the exhibit is set by a timeline in the stairwell to set the scene for the images to come.FullSizeRender-13

Standing in just the entrance way I was completely silenced. I’ve read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) multiple times, I’ve picked it apart and read between the lines to better apply international law, but seeing the letters in black and white made me speechless. FullSizeRender-1

A lot of my research focuses on Article 4, “freedom from slavery,” and a little with Article 6, “everyone has a right to recognition as a person before the law,” the focus of this collection.

Untitled [World’s Biggest Jail Break] Anchieta, Federative Republic of Brazil, June 1952
Walking through the exhibit was heart breaking, breath taking and beautifully crafted. The images depicted the civil rights movement in the US, revolutions across the world, civil wars, government coups, and riots. It is nothing if not a diverse collection, however it broke my heart to see how many included the US either directly or indirectly. Today, the US prides itself on their commitment to human rights, yet this collection shows all their human wrongs.

This specific part of the collection showcases a variety of student protests and police brutality.
This specific part of the collection showcases a variety of student protests and police brutality.

Untitled [Racial demonstration] Georgia, US, ca. 1960 Inscription: The brother of the woman in this picture was murdered in Camden, Ala. A white man who was tailgating his car, rammed him. The Black man got out of his car to inspect the damage. The white man shouted, “Boy, you should be worrying about my
 car,” and shot him in the head. This couple rents from the local sheriff, paying $125 a year for land that produced a cash crop worth $95.

Berkley Riots and Kent State Shooting following the anti-war demonstration

Untitled [Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr.] Atlanta, Georgia, US, April 9, 1964
Untitled [Mexico Student Riots] Mexico City, Mexico, October 1968 Inscription: Mexican solider arrest a student demonstrator. Student protests in Tlatelolco Square turn into a massacre after the Mexican army is sent it.
Top: Untitled [The murder at Khartoum, Sudan] Khartoum, Republic of Sudan, March 1973 Bottom: Untitled [The war in the Sudan] Republic of Sudan, ca. 1965 Inscription: THE WAR IN THE SUDAN. (PART TWO). The refugees in the Jungle are hospitable and generous. They had very little to eat themselves, but whatever it was, they shared it with the reporters. Here, Claude Daffrage is served food by a Native girl.
Untitled [War] Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 1967 Inscription: 1. American soldiers are dying daily in the jungles and in the swamp land of South Vietnam. But at the Capital, Saigon, the war becomes a carnival for the GI’s. The City, once called the pearl in the far East, has turned into a brothel of Asia. For the black market proof the war is desirable and cannot last long enough.

“Why did I have to kill that guy. I didn’t know him. Why, that’s what counts. Father, after killing him yesterday– I have to go to confession.”
Collection of US Civil rights Movement Photographs

It’s a humbling experience standing in front of a wall filled with the human rights violations of inequality before the law, knowing that for every face presented there are hundreds of stories unheard.


Leaving I only regretted not having enough time to watch their collection of videos, although they can all be found on Youtube (or so I’m told).

Where: The Photographers’ Galley

16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW

Closest Tube Stop: Oxford Circus

When: 6 February until 6 April 2015

Open 10:00-18:00 (open until 20:00 on Thursdays and opens late on Sunday at 11:30)

Cost: Free!

Talks & Events: 19 March 2015: Curator’s Talk, Mark Sealy

I wish I could share every photo and it’s power but some of the photos are very sensitive, so if you have the stomach for it, go see for yourself, I highly recommend it!

About the author
Staci West is an obsessive compulsive traveller who is currently dealing with a chronic case of coffee addicition. Symptoms include blackouts from online shopping sessions, a ferocious passion for everything colourful and energy levels that exceed a normal human capacity. On the advice of her carer and companion, Kendall her yellow labrador, she created L&L, a down to Earth lifestyle blog, as a distraction for her pathological need for shoes.


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