6 February - 6 April 2015

The Photographer's Gallery

London, UK

Past exhibition

Using the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a point of departure, HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS examines whether images of political struggle, suffering and victims of violence work for or against humanitarian objectives, especially when considering questions of race, representation, ethical responsibility and the cultural position of the photographer.

Featuring more than 300 original prints from the prestigious Black Star Collection, HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS begins circa 1945 and includes photographs of well-known Civil Rights Movement events such as the Selma to Montgomery March and Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream” speech. The exhibition also features images of the independence movements in many African countries, a selection of portraits of Nobel Peace Prize winners, and photographs, magazines and books which document protests, war and conflict from the Vietnam War to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

The exhibition functions as a catalytic enquiry into photojournalistic practice, addressing the legacy of how photographs have historically functioned in raising awareness of international conflict. It critically considers the cultural meaning these photographs produce, how inhumane acts are rendered photographically for us to look at, and the visual legacy they leave behind. We see the wide dissemination of photographic images of humankind in abject, euphoric or violently explicit conditions. How do these images assist us in understanding the case for civil and human rights?

What the press says

It will make you think again about human rights and human wrongs and photography’s tricky role in reflecting – and sometimes distinguishing between – the two

Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian

This show gets our vote for one of the top photography exhibitions of 2015

Culture Whisper

This exhibition is remarkable: intense, informative, historically significant and often harrowing. ☆☆☆☆☆

Sue Steward, London Evening Standard

enigmatic, intriguing and captivating. ☆☆☆☆

Time Out

Starting...walking around it, image after image will make you wince and think. ☆☆☆☆

Christian House, The Telegraph

International civil rights brought to life

Must See Exhibitions in 2015, Conde Nast Traveller

explores the role images play in helping to raise awareness about conflict and human rights

150 Unmissable Arts Events for 2015, The Guardian

The collection of photographs speaks volumes about the legacy that imagery leaves on our cultural and historical landscape

Hunger TV

a thought-provoking exhibition

Our top International exhibitions this weekThe National 

celebrates photojournalism’s political potency, [Human Rights Human Wrongs] also highlights the limitations of single, emotive images in explaining complex realities

City A.M.

forces viewers to consider the role white photographers have played in shaping the world’s view of Africa

Atlanta Black Star

Human Rights Human Wrongs covers issues across the world...The most powerful images here are the hardest to look at. ☆☆☆☆

Tabish Khan, Londonist

images can dehumanise us. They can make it easier to kill people...Debates surrounding race and representation have not always been linked to the question of human rights, but visual representation is fundamental to what rights we have. Unless we resist these cultural erasures, unless we make that which is seemingly uncomfortable into something visible, then it will continue.

Mark Sealy, interviewed by British Journal of Photography

very moving exhibition...a huge panorama of the human rights struggle

Robert Elms Show, BBC London 94.9

Resisting a didactic or oversimplistic perspective – where any one image adequately represents an event or issue – Human Rights Human Wrongs questions the photojournalistic legacy that major political wars and struggles against racism and colonisation have left behind...a timely look into the dominant hierarchies and visual stereotypes that continue to shape our opinions and views of history, today.

Christine Jun, Canvas by Grolsch

Past acclaim

The exhibition investigates photography as a beholder and agent of change, recognizing that while photographs are indices of reality, they are not neutral. Photographs represent a perception of a particular reality and thus, photographs can both sanctify and undermine humanitarian objectives

Daniela Porrat, Canada Arts 

Visually powerful and historically significant

Ryan B Patrick, Canada Arts Connect 

Visitor Comments

hard-hitting, sobering look at humanity's struggle for rights

Fantastic venue with this incredibly important must see exhibition

Eye opening exhibit...Must see. Must reflect. Must change.

In partnership with

The Photographer's Gallery

The Photographers' Gallery is the largest public gallery in London dedicated to photography. From the latest emerging talent, to historical archives and established artists – we are the place to see photography in all its forms.

Ryerson Image Centre

HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS is a collaboration between Autograph ABP London and The Ryerson Image Centre and was first exhibited 23 January 23 - 14 April, 2013 at The Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, Canada


Curated by

Mark Sealy

Mark Sealy MBE is the Director of Autograph ABP. He is currently a PhD candidate at Durham University, his research focuses on photography and cultural violence.


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DPP Lecture Series: Helenda Kennedy QC in Conversation

Tue 3 March, 6:30pm

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Walking Reading Group: Walking as Resistance

Wed 4 March, 6:30pm

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Human Rights Human Wrongs
Curator’s exhibition tour

Sat 7 March, 3pm

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Marcelo Brodsky In Conversation With Mark Sealy

6:30pm, Tue 17 March

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Curator’s Talk

6:30pm, Thu 19 March

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DPP Lecture Series: Useful Images?

Thu 26 March, 6:30pm

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DPP Lecture Series: David Levi Strauss

Fri 27 Mar, 6:30pm

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Additional Info

The Photographer's Gallery
6 - 18 Ramillies St
London W1F 7LW

E: info@tpg.org.uk 
T: +44 (020) 7087 9300

Mon – Sat 10.00 – 18.00
Thu 10.00 – 20.00
Sun 11.30 – 18.00

Tweet us #humanrightshumanwrongs @autographabp and @TPGallery

  • Bob Fitch, Martin L. King (Dr Martin Luther King Jr.), Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America, December 1965. The Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre
  • Robert Lebeck. Young man steals the sword of King Baudouin I, during procession with newly appointed President Kasavubu , Leopoldville, Republic of the Congo, June 30 1960. Collection of the Ryerson Image Centre