From the Introduction:
"I began working on this book at the beginning of the second intifada. In hindsight, I can say that observing the unbearable sights presented in photographs from the Occupied Territories, encountering them in the national context within which they were presented and enduring the difficulty of facing them day after day, formed the main motives for writing this book. The Civil Contract of Photography is an attempt to anchor spectatorship in civic duty toward the photographed persons who haven't stopped being "there," toward the dispossessed citizens who, in turn, enable the rethinking of the concept and practice of citizenship."
I employ the term 'contract' in order to shed terms such as 'empathy,' 'shame,' 'pity,' or 'compassion' as organizers of this gaze. In the political sphere that is reconstructed through the civil contract, photographed persons are participant citizens, just the same as I am. Within this space, the point of departure for our mutual relations cannot be empathy or mercy. It must be a covenant for the rehabilitation of citizenship in the political sphere within which we are all ruled, that is, the state of Israel. When the photographed persons address me, claiming their citizenship in photography, they cease to appear as stateless or as enemies, the manners in which the sovereign regime strives to construct them. They call on me to recognize and restore their citizenship through my viewing. At issue in this book is more than my insistence on using the term 'citizenship' in analyzing the act of photography or in understanding the ways in which some populations are more exposed to catastrophe than others. At issue is an effort to disclose the inextricable relationship between the populations facing pending catastrophe and the citizens with whom they are governed, doing so by means of an examination of the civic space of the gaze, speech and action that is shared by these governed populations."
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