The Spinning Head on “Beware the Cost of War”

Asim Rafiqui’s “The Spinning Head” blog remains one of my favorite places for analysis of contemporary photojournalism. One of his latest pieces, “Offering Silence To The Oppressed Or How Photography Can Become A Weapon Of Repression,” offers up an important counterpoint to the praise lately heaped on the recently opened London exhibition of Israeli and Palestinian photographers, Beware the Cost of War (more at 100eyes). The exhibition presents images of conflict without captions or credits. Rafiqui’s central points, buoyed by John Barger’s visual-philosophical framework, are that:

  • The exhibition removes context, so that we never know who is the occupier, and who the occupied…
  • The exhibition removes chronology, so that we never know whether the act occurred this year…
  • The exhibition removes history, so that we never know what it is that violence represents…
  • The exhibition removes the ugliest of constant and material facts…

Well worth a read.

Edit: To be clear, both 100eyes and Lens’ presentations of the work include captions of the pictures. The captions remain separate from the pictures, but exist nonetheless. Also, Conscientious Redux continues the conversation.

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