Introduction: Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary
The introductory chapter situates participatory initiatives that equip dehumanized subjects with documentary media as humanitarian media interventions. It defines the concept of “immediations” as a documentary ethic that prioritizes immediacy over analysis. Whereas documentary tropes of immediacy, or immediations, aim to humanize disenfranchised subjects, they ultimately reinforce their status as other. The chapter examines how the formal conventions of participatory documentary are implicated in naturalizing these exclusions. The author aims to realize the radical ethical potential of giving the camera to the other by developing a noninterventionist approach to mediation derived from minoritarian modes of inhabiting the world. This chapter situates the book’s interventions in relation to contemporary debates on emergency thinking, the ethics of humanitarian intervention, and the spectatorship of human rights. It provides a summary of the four chapters, which respectively address child photography, disaster citizen journalism, autistic first-person documentaries, and animal art.