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States Of Identity
Palestine, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Turkestan…
I now realize that since 2003 I have been documenting the same story only in different places.
These stateless nations, like my native (Catalonia), have struggled to be free of domination and oppressive violence and have shared with me an indelible visual story of both human suffering and strength. Somehow with time I have come to see more of the many dimensions that this story entails.
Since beginning this body of work, a more critical perspective has shaken my initial awe and admiration for the many liberation movements and militant groups that lead these people’s struggles.
I have become aware of the delicate and volatile nature of both identity and memory, and the creation of their often-angry orphan, the national myth. I have seen that oppressive states can engender national liberation movements. As these movements attain power they tend, more often than not, to exclude others and become oppressive themselves. This paradox and its exceptions have a visual nature I now wish to explore.
This essay has been produced in different countries: Palestine during the second Intifada, Kosovo during its independence declaration, Kurdistan region in Northern Iraq with the women of the PKK Guerrilla, in Chinese Turkestan photographing the ethnic Uyghurs and also in Lebanon documenting the life of Palestinian refugees. This essay has not been published yet.
I was born in Barcelona in 1983 and became interested in documentary photography at the age of 14 when I traveled to Sarajevo on an art student exchange program. At age of 16 I started to work as a freelance photographer for local newspapers. My first international story was about the anti-globalization movement’s response and demonstrations during the G8 summit of 2001 in Genoa. While still a student at the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya, I traveled to Palestine on two occasions between 2001 and 2004, to photograph the Palestinian Intifada.
I started to work with El País in 2003, all the while maintaining a personal agenda, developing a body of documentary work on socials issues here in Spain. Since 2006 I have gone to Lebanon to cover such themes as: the war between Israel and Shiite militia Hezbollah and the conflict between Fatah Al-Islam and the Lebanese army in Northern Lebanon. These images mark the beginning of my collaboration with Sipa Press New York as a distributed photographer.
In the course of 2008 I have covered Kosovo independence, as well as beginning a body of work on the PKK in Northern Iraq and the Uygur minority of the Xinjiang region of North-western China.
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Many thanks… david alan harvey