07 December 2013

On Koudelka ~ Luc Sante

"An appreciation of stony texture also marks WALL ­(Aperture), by the veteran Czech photographer Josef Koudelka, although to somewhat different effect. Koudelka is no stranger to conflict — he documented the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and became a political refugee two years later. Here he has produced a remarkable collection of panoramic photos (each 29-by-10-inch spread is a single picture) of the barrier that has been erected over the past decade in defiance of the internationally recognized border. The wall, which divides Bethlehem from Jerusalem, Rachel’s Tomb from the rest of Bethlehem, the proposed capital of the Palestinian state from the rest of East Jerusalem, farmers from their fields, families from their relatives, and Palestinian Bedouins from their native environment, is made up of concrete slabs, steel plates, razor-wire fences, boulders and bricked-up buildings as in the Berlin of yore. The vistas are resolutely grim, and Koudelka makes no attempt to aestheticize them, yet his sweeping photos are overwhelming. The moral chasm that opens between the sheer impact of the visual and knowledge of what is being depicted is fully intended: an invitation to consider, rather than to simply turn the page in horror and sadness." (Source)

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Blogger Stan B. said...

I would expect a more knowledgeable read from Mr. Sante.

A) Koudelka can't help but aestheticize anything he photographs, period.

B) Even The Times had to be badgered into finally admitting that the wall did not actually delineate Israeli from Palestinian territory (as you well noted). It makes one kinda wonder just how many people actually have full "knowledge of what is being depicted."

08 December, 2013 02:19  

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