Tourists at iconic sights almost automatically photograph with their smart-phones and cameras. This act becomes more complicated at memorials, sites, and museums that commemorate episodes of mass violence. Over the past few years I have photographed visitors and their screens at many such places. The people in my images are strangers who are mostly unaware of my intention, even though I use a hand-held 1940’s 4x5 press camera. My vintage equipment fits well with thinking about the present in terms of the past.
This project was chosen for the Houston Center for Photography's 2015 Fellowship. After exhibition there it moved Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles. It was at Light Work in Syracuse, NY, from March-July 2016. It has also been published on Lenscratch and Feature Shoot.
1. Entrance, Auschwitz II-Birkenau Death Camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial and Museum. Republic of Poland
Raising a device between oneself and a site of atrocity can be seen as distancing and reductive. However an impulse to manage and diffuse what these places mean is understandable and perhaps necessary. Often the memorials themselves depict the appalling, chaotic events they represent with unwarranted coherence or with the blankness of preserved artifacts. They invite engagement but also obstruct it. The memorials and the photography each suggest questions: how to see these sites; how to empathize with the unknowable experiences of the people who were caught up in the events; how to understand the ways in which past horrors configure our present world; how to live with our knowledge.
2. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany
The prints are large - 22 x 28 inches - rendering hands, screen images, and screen icons close to life size. The photographs are titled with the name of the memorial and the country where it is found - the body of work is also a catalog. I group the images to suggest connections between the sites.
3. Srebrebnica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
4. Eternal Flame Memorial to the Victims of World War II from Sarajevo. Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
5. Peace Park and Goddess of Peace Statue, Memorial Hall to the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre (Rape of Nanking). Nanjing, People’s Republic of China
6. Interrogation Cell at S21 Tuol Sleng Prison and Torture Center. Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
7. Ryozen Kannon Memorial to the Dead of the Pacific War. Kyoto, Japan.
8. Czech National Cemetery, Theresienstadt Concentration Camp Small Fortress. Terezin, Czech Republic
9. National September 11 Memorial and Museum. New York, United States of America
10. Oklahoma City National Memorial. Oklahoma City, United States of America
11. Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Hiroshima, Japan
12. Auschwitz I Concentration Camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial and Museum. Oświęcim, Republic of Poland
13. Guard Tower, Majdanek Concetration Camp. Majdanek State Museum, Lublin, Republic of Poland
14. Gas Chamber, Majdanek Concetration Camp. Majdanek State Museum, Lublin, Republic of Poland
15. Memorial Plaques on Crematorium Wall. Chełmno Death Camp Forest Site. Chełmno nad Varem, Republic of Poland
16. Site of Former Body-Burning Pit. Treblinka II Death Camp, Republic of Poland
17. Memorial and Place of Meditation upon the Martyrdom of 65,000 Polish Citizens of Jewish Nationality from Cracow. Kasimierz, Republic of Poland
18. Stairway of Death. The Quarry, Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria
19. Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial to Holocaust Victims Shot into the River. Budapest, Hungary
20. Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany
21. Military Museum. Belgrade, Republic of Serbia
22. Buildings Damaged By NATO Bombing, Left As A Memorial. Belgrade, Republic of Serbia
23. Peace Statue, Nagasaki Peace Park. Nagasaki, Japan
24. Tree Used for Smashing Children's Heads, Cheoung Ek Killing Fields. Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
25. Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Vimy Ridge, Near Arras, Republic of France. 2015
26. Carillon and Ring of Remembrance WWI Memorial. Notre Dame de Lorette, France
27. WWI Cemetery for German Soldiers. Neuville St. Vaast, Belgium
28. The Menin Gate Memorial To The Missing. Ieper (Ypres), Kingdom of Belgium
29. Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Picardy, Republic of France
30. "Hot Box" Iron Jail, Whitney Museum of Slavery. Louisiana, United States of America
31. Changing of the Guard, Arlington National Cemetery. United States of Americac
32. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Washington DC, United States of America
33. Cemetery and Massacre Memorial. Wounded Knee, S. Dakota, United States of America
34. Memorial Marker at Sand Creek Massacre National Monument. Eastern Colorado, United States of America.
35. United Mine Workers of America Monument to Miners and their Families Killed in the Ludlow Massacre. Ludlow Ghost Town, Colorado, United States of America
36. Columbine School Shooting Memorial. Littleton, Colorado, United States of America
37. Chain-link Fence with Memorabilia. Oklahoma City National Memorial. Oklahoma City, United States of America
38. Mao Zedong Bronze Statue Square. Shaoshan, People's Republic of China
39. Birthplace and Childhood Home of Mao Zedong. Shaoshan, People's Republic of China
40. Detail – Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. Potočari, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
41. Detail – Interrogation Cell at S21 Tuol Sleng Prison and Torture Center. Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
42. Detail – Mao Zedong Birthplace and Childhood Home. Shaoshan, People’s Republic of China