Changing lenses is the product of an ongoing conversation between sociologist (and TSP co-editor) Doug Hartmann and photographer Wing Young Huie. In each post, and in varying formats, we will exchange what’s seen behind a camera lens and what’s seen through a sociological lens to get at the diversity of perspectives and cultivate a unique look at the human experience. Sometimes you’ll read a story, see a Q&A, or possibly even get to view a video of the two of us discussing an image and related research, but every time you check back with Changing Lenses, you’ll find a striking image and a great jumping-off point for developing your sociological imagination.
The late January event to workshop Changing Lenses, held in cooperation with the kick-off of Huie’s new blog k(now), produced a livelier, more animated conversation than we had hoped in even our most vivid imaginings of the event. In a room crammed with neighborhood friends, art opening regulars, sociologists, students, and everyone in between, each photo that came up on the screen for dissection between the sociologist and the artist led to open, engaged interaction between those who saw broad, sociological ideas and those who spotted interesting details and shared their own recollections.
Where some saw, say, the alienation of the immigrant, others saw integration and, indeed, success. Where some saw a man lurking dangerously, others saw women who were the relics of a forgotten age of matching shoes and gloves, unconcerned with the stylish man around the corner. And where some saw cringe-inducing reminders of a racially-charged past prominently displayed on a midwestern couple’s front lawn, others learned there was a also story of proud adoptive parents maybe just looking for some way to incorporate their child’s cultural legacy into their own.
After this successful party, we excitedly came together with The Society Pages’ associate editor just a few days later, jumpy with the energy of new ideas for collaborations. What you’ll see here in the coming months (and, given luck and the depth of Huie’s expansive portfolio) will be a continuance of that cold evening’s warmth: sociological insights, a photographic insider’s knowledge, and readers sharing their own viewpoints. We encourage anyone and everyone to join in: please, please share what you see through your own lens by posting your pictures, stories, and even academic insights in the comments. More firmly convinced than ever that art and sociology really are for everyone, we can’t wait to get started!