Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shame And Redemption

Photo: Marc Garanger

Even stripped of their context, these portraits of Algerian women by Marc Garanger maintain their power- despite the deliberate attempt to strip their subjects of their very dignity. The camera that took these photos was used as much as a weapon as it was a recording device, and the photographer forced to take them, hoped that their subjects' haunting glares would in turn forever lay bare the injustice done unto them. The ironies of intent and usage, violation and liberation are rife all around. The purpose, actions and end products all testify to the dehumanizing consequences of colonization, itself a manifestation of racism.  

In a humane world these photographs would not exist. These rare and powerful images of anger, defiance, injustice and yes, beauty would have never seen the light of day. And that perhaps is the ultimate irony. These photographs that mean so much today (even to their unwilling subjects)- how do we even contemplate extolling their wonders? And yet, marvel we must, at what they reveal, what they preserve, what they tell us about their subjects, and ourselves...

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