A User’s Guide to Photographing the Separation Barrier-Wall
Pointing the camera at the Israeli Separation Barrier-Wall involves a fundamental paradox: no matter how critical we are of its construction, once we choose to photograph it, we are colluding with its construction and preservation. Photography is related directly to proving that something exists and to memorializing the presence of places that have been built or destroyed – at the core of the photographic sensibility is the tension between presence and absence, life and death, documentation and memory. The article is an essay into a series of questions faced by the photographer in photographing the wall – the Israeli separation barrier. How do we go about framing the wall? How should I take my first photograph of the wall? When should one start photographing a wall? Is it possible to capture the essence of the occupation by photographing the emptied terrain? The article reminds us of the alltoo-often disregarded role of photography – its neutralising power which obscures political and social circumstances of the photographed object while offering possibilities of escape – attempts to subvert canonised ways of representation and dematerialise the wall.
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