A landscape is not on the verge of collapse, unless a vanishing landscape is a collapsing one. I came to this realization during my fieldwork in Palestine (2012), when I spent a year travelling between different cities and landscapes. I was trying to capture the visual presence and absence of the separation wall in Palestine and how The Wall’s presence and absence was mirrored in Israeli national discourse. I interviewed several Palestinian and Israeli photographers and artists, but was particularly struck by the photographic work of Palestinian artist Yazan Khalili. My interview with Yazan Khalili brought to the surface the visual dilemmas of a catastrophic monument, or as he puts it, “can we resist The Wall by photographing it, or should we resist the photograph framing it?”
Category: Picturing Humanitarian Healthcare
‘Choose what moves you’: Checkered Landscapes of Care (Un)checked by Red Cross Campaign?
It's Giving Tuesday 2013. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday asks consumers to make meaningful gifts. I sift through my Inbox: 'Choose What Moves You'. It is an invitation from the Canadian Red Cross to: “take part in Canada’s first national day dedicated to giving and thinking about others in need.” Charities have long played on our emotions and senses of right and wrong. Here was a slightly different campaign—one that was inviting us as Canadians to render what might otherwise be a subconscious motivator for giving —affect—into the conscious basis for giving.
‘Build Back Better’ to improve health in Haiti
I took this picture about 21 months after the 2010 Haiti earthquake that caused so many deaths and so much destruction. I was a passenger being driven along a main street in the capital. I saw the camp of tents, and took this photo through the car window. It was only later that I paid any attention to the hoarding, an advertisement for fancy aluminum windows and doors. The contrast was striking. Housing plays a direct and indirect role in health, affecting both physical and psychological status.
Stored and Storied Bones: Bisesero Genocide Memorial, Rwanda
I felt many things when I took this photo of human remains housed temporarily in a shed while the mass grave is reconstructed. Each time I raised my camera, I felt intrusive—intruding on people's personal grief, something that ought to be respected, away from inquisitive/prying eyes. I also felt protected—reminiscent of Susan Sontag’s perception about picture-taking: it's ability to relieve anxiety.
DBCP in Nicaragua
Nicaraguan agricultural workers, camped in protest across from the National Assembly in downtown Managua from 2000-2010, deployed their naked flesh as mirrors of the violent indifference with which they were treated by Dow chemical and the banana business that allowed their exposure to the dangerous pesticide nemagón. Many have lifted shirts and leg pants, or in the case of men even stripped down to nothing to expose their dying flesh in protests, to the government, the media, various courts, and other Nicaraguans. I took this and other close-up photos of protesters’ bodies, with the nemagoneros’ explicit encouragement and consent, as a way of bearing witness to their situation but also wanting to document these Nicaraguans’ tragic but politically powerful use of their dying/diseased bodies as rhetorical and political weapons.
Donor Solicitation Quagmire
by Sonya DeLaat The MSF campaign, pictured above, struck me as one taking a positive step in the direction away from the old-style aid-appeal. By consciously (and perhaps even courageously) employing stereotypically "Western"-looking models, the campaign is responding to the…
Images that Cut into You, c/o MSF
by Elysée Nouvet I was referred to this ad campaign by Picturing Humanitarian Healthcare co-editor Philippe Calain. As I opened up the file with its set of MSF posters, I felt my stomach harden and my chest grow tight. I…