I do not define photography only in terms of certain practices, figures, tools, traditions or movements. For me, it is also a way of thinking about, of being, feeling and experiencing the world. And as such, photography offers me an occasion to define anew what a camera can be, what light-sensitivity consists of, what a frame, a shutter, and a moment are. I tend to think photographically even when I am writing or creating a video or theatrical work. I “find” photography in more places than I expect, and that is why I relate to it as a way of being, feeling, living and thinking.
“By the ’90s, photography’s reputation as a truth-telling medium had long been in disrepute. Far from being an objective record of reality, it was seen as agenda-ridden and manipulative. When applied to as crazily complicated a slice of history as the Lebanese wars — everyone had a different take on cause, effect, justification and blame — photographic unreliability took on an absurdist, surreal cast.”
Read The New York Times’ review of Walid Raad, on view through January 31.
Tess Hurrell uses cotton wool and talcum powder to recreate imagery of explosions. Her black, context-less backgrounds bring to mind Walid Raad’s imagery of smoke clouds from explosions, in which the smoke is presented in isolation on the paper, in a 'poetic yet powerful’ documentation of the political unrest in his homeland, Lebanon.
The story one tells oneself and that captures one’s attention and belief may have nothing to do with what happened in the past, but that’s the story that seems to matter in the present and for the future.
Walid Raad, Already Been in a Lake of Fire - Notebook Volume 38, (2002)
Each of the above notebook pages includes a cutout photograph of a car that matches the make, model and color of a car that was used as a bomb, as well as text written in Arabic that details the place, time and date of the explosion, the number of casualties, the perimeter of destruction, the exploded car’s engine and axle numbers, and the weight and type of the explosives used.