Podcast with Jimmy: discussion on ‘glamorising’ disappearing cultures

Podcast with Jimmy: discussion on ‘glamorising’ disappearing cultures


Grow Big Always is a discussion-oriented podcast where host Sam Lawrence welcomes a wide-range of people, whose work challenges the way we see the world. Each episode is an intimate look at people who’s irregular work Lawrence sees as legendary. Last week it was Jimmy’s pleasure to talk to Lawrence about his work and the discussion around ‘glamorising’ disappearing cultures.

An extraction form the article by Sam Lawrence

“Way outside our cities and towns are societies of disappearing and endangered indigenous people . Some of us may think that’s natural— it’s been happening forever. Others fight to protect those cultures and have very strong opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong for those people.

One of those opinions is whether there’s a “right way” to depict people who are different than us— who are not living in urbanized or Western societies. I was surprised by just how controversial this subject really was. I guess it’s ok that we’re surrounded by spectacular images that romanticize cars, sports, and marriage. Really anything commercial— but to apply a similar heroic lens to people who are different than us, well, that could be sacrilege. It seems there are people out there who believe that the only way to photograph those folks needs to be as an anthropological documentarian— capturing people only how they’re actually living vs in their Sunday best— proud, celebrated, glamorized.

I mean, isn’t that what we do when we take pictures of ourselves? We’re not posting pictures of ourselves hanging in sweatpants and stuffing our face with Fritos. It’s ok that we’re beautiful but god forbid that we make that commentary about those poor, exotic people living on the edge of the world. There are no edges to this world. There are people who live far away from our dense, standardized populations but our cultures are the edge from their point of view.”

Listen to the 45 minute podcast here!