Being an activist camera: The case of the Karahaber collective in Turkey

Depeli G.

CURRENT SOCIOLOGY, vol.64, no.1, pp.122-139, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0011392115593613
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.122-139
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This article examines the meaning and potential associated with capturing reality through an analysis of the case and experience of the Karahaber (Black News) collective, a video activist group in Turkey that was particularly active in the 2005-2007 period. Operating under the slogan From the image of the action to the action of the image', video activists participated in and documented many street demonstrations with non-professional video cameras, producing more than 175 videos that were shared on their website. The article focuses on three specific video films produced by Karahaber that compelled its members to make a specific appraisal of their own participation and political engagement in the demonstrations: two of them documenting the hunger strike, referred to locally rather as a death fast, in protest against the F-type (cell-type) prisons, and one focusing on the attacks against transgender people by nationalist groups in Ankara. Finally, the article reflects on the relationship between reality and representation, and its role in being an activist camera'.