Werker is a multifaceted project initiated by Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos in Amsterdam in 2009. It operates in the intersection of labour, ecofeminism and the lgbtqi+ movements, in favour of an image critique of daily life, to analyse what is made visible and what remains hidden or silenced in different political contexts. The project started by releasing ten issues of a publication called Werker magazine.
Werker takes inspiration from der Vereinigung der Arbeiter-Fotografen (The Association of Worker Photographers), a group of politicised photo-clubs that appeared in Germany in the 1920’s, following in the steps of the first socialist photography experiments in the USSR which extended into the rest of Europe, the United States, and Japan. It takes an interest in working methodologies based on self-representation, self-publishing, image analysis, collective authorship and counter-archiving.
One of Werker’s more recent developments is the Werker archive which carries the mission of collecting, preserving and spreading the legacy of self-organised radical documentary practices initiated by the Association of Worker Photographers in the 1920’s.
Yes With Us, Never About Us: Art/Workers, Solidarity and Privilege
Werker, 2021. The history of artists' engagement in workers' struggles is as long as the distrust of intelligentsia by the revolutionary working class. After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, more than 160 intellectuals were expelled with their families on so-called 'Philosophers' Ships' from Petrograd (today Saint Petersburg) to Stettin in Germany (today Szczecin, Poland).