photographs captured in the Philippines
by Douglas Vuncannon
Statement: “Between December 2014 and December 2016, I photographed sabungeros (cockfighters) at illegal cockpits on the Visayan Islands in the Philippines. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sabong in Filipino culture; a thriving scene of gambling and corruption surrounds the fights, whether in sanctioned super-stadiums or illegal, open-air dirt pits. Critics decry sabong’s destructive effects on impoverished communities.
This portfolio offers a glimpse into this unique spectacle while advancing aesthetic and ethical questions—particularly the question of animal rights as viewed across cultures. It operates within the peculiar tradition of subjective documentary photography, with a vigorous, process-oriented strategy. Captured on 120 and 35mm film, these black-and-white images are presented in full frame, without cropping.”
About the artist: Douglas Vuncannon is a documentary photographer, composer, and writer. His recent work includes Fukushima Travelogue (2015), a series of photographs depicting the radioactive ghost towns of Japan, and Sinfonietta Fukushima (2013), a micro-symphony tone poem written in response to the nuclear plant disaster at Fukushima. He teaches documentary photography at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
From February 17, 2017 to March 11, 2017, Vuncannon’s new show, Sabungeros (Cockfighters) will be on display at Through This Lens. The exhibit features black and white photographs of cockfighting in the Philippines. Although cockfighting is legal in the Philippines, Vuncannon’s show focuses on illegal, open-air fights. The show provides a personal, often touching portrait of the lives of sabungeros while raising questions about animal cruelty, violence, and the effect of this sport on impoverished communities.
originally shown at Through This Lens:
February 17 – March 11, 2017
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