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Friday, 16 May 2014

Does the Conceptual add anything to the Documentary?

I like this. Johann Rousselot sent me his project on sexual harassment in Egypt. It's a project where fairly straightforward portraits and captions are mixed with Rousselot's collages - urban landscapes where images have been dropped in; like a Attie projection but virtual. And why not?

I'm not entirely convinced it works but I like the project overall. I love that it shows a flipside to what we are supposed to expect, that it shows people who are fighting against harrassment and misogyny in a very direct way, that there is a civil society in those countries that is as complex and nuanced as anywhere in the world. If you've seen some of the comments that connect to #BringBackOurGirls you'll know why that's a good thing. And if you're a basic human being, you'll also know why that's a good thing.

The nice thing is Rousselot's not entirely sure of the work either. So I thought I'd put it up here along with his statement and a question.

Does this conceptual element add anything to the straight up documentary? 

This work is a photographic essay, neither documentary nor photojournalism per se. It is a hybrid form, a documentary with a conceptual bent. It's photojournARTistic, if that is possible. 

Some pictures are modified, some are not. I used a digital collage and layering technique for the first time during the Tunisian revolution (Freedom Fighters project, 2011). I never tried to hide it or deceive the viewer, I’m openly comfortable with this.

There comes a time when you’re no longer satisfied with your usual way of shooting or telling stories, when you have the feeling it conveys the message in an always weaker way. 

So I tried this. I’m not sure it will please everyone, or that it has a bright and growing future.

Blurring the lines is not a goal, it’s an effect.  And actually it’s the least of my worries in this digital era where sampling, reproducing easily, stitching, have become « natural » processes.

As long as the idea is strongly there in the story, and that I’m being honest, I believe I’m informing people properly.

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