Urban destruction then / now

Apr 23, 2022

 

Diptych, 24 x 40”, gelatin silver print, unique

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Printed from a series of 35mm negatives capturing the aftermath of the bombardment of a French city, possibly Mâcon, during the Second World War. I have the name Mâcon associated with the negatives, but am not certain it is correct.

The image was printed with an acrylic rod placed across the paper. The rod collects and bends light projected from the enlarger during exposure imprinting a photogram shadow of black and white crossing the image. This purposeful dissonance within the image of the past, grounds it in the present –– a reminder that this photograph is more than a window on the past, but also an object of today. It’s hybridisation of past and present reflects what I see of events unfolding in the world.

In the few short weeks since I printed this image of urban destruction, I find it remarkable how much it has changed for me. From when I acquired the negatives a few years ago up to the end of February, the contents of these images had an edge and unsettled me. A few short weeks later, this view of a smouldering urban ruin almost seems common. Have we become numbed?

 

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