British newspapers are often seriously challenged when representing the everyday truths about black people’s lives in text and images, but as little time ago as 1985 it was rare to see a black person’s face in print at all.
It is clear that most news stories about a whole range of people and situations, are reported in almost any way that will sell newspapers, the result is that no-one’s story is told without recourse to at least mild exaggeration, distorted images and insider humour, whenever possible.
2007 was the year that the country “commemorated” the 200th anniversary of the Act of Parliament abolishing the slave trade in Britain.
We thought that the images of black people in the Guardian newspaper, which is read by people who work predominately in the health service, social services, education and the media, would be particularly important. It was with this is mind that the project began.
Guardian Paperworks Every edition of the paper that year (2007) was examined for images and texts in which a black person played a central role. We found that the paper, no doubt in the interests of good design and witty narrative used black people in a very subtle way which could be said to undermine their identity. […]