tilde de wandel – gaza

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Tilde De Wandel

Gaza

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Winter 2008-2009. Israel bombs Gaza for 3 weeks. Operation ‘Cast Lead’ kills over 1400 people. I watch the news channels and develop the strong desire to go there and experiencing the life in a war zone. I leave but I don’t get further than the West Bank.

Life under occupation intrigues me. An external power dominating your life. Being a prisoner in your own country.

June 2010. I finally manage to enter Gaza. I am confronted with a harder external structure, Israel.

I notice the ruins of a war and a besieged life. A smashed down economy and a dangerous underground replacement. A constant threat overhead, and a life that tries to find its way while constantly being watched over and controlled.

I discover the buffer zone. The literal boundary between life and death. I meet the inhabitants and their ‘we are already dead’ slogan. It feels like a suicidal struggle.

The buffer zone, the emptiness of life snatched away. A constant threat of death while inside. External forces make decisions over the life of those who want to fight, but also those who just want to live and survive.

I can’t count the dead and injured any more since I arrived. I can’t get used to the brutal circumstances in which this occurs.

There is more, there is the emptiness of life, the stolen dreams. Fantasies seems to be reduced to a strict observance of religion. As if Allah is the only one who cares about them.

Belgium seems far away, but it means I experience this life entirely. The best way to understand is to undergo.

What I get, I can’t put aside. I’m a photographer, I grab what I feel and I share.

 

Bio

I live my life on the go, physically and mentally. I choose to displace myself physically in different atmospheres.

I started my photographic work while watching myself in a changing environment. The only thing I don’t want is to get locked into the structure of day to day life. I reject it, and launch myself at completely different structures. I bump, discover, rediscover and improve my thinking, my understanding of the world.

I was born in Belgium, 1981. I studied nutrition and worked in South Africa before pursuing a degree in photography at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunst- Gents, which I finished in 2009. I have been working in Gaza since June 2010, and plan to continue working in the region.

 

Related links

Tilde De Wandel

Tilde’s Blog

 

141 Responses to “tilde de wandel – gaza”


  • Ok Chip you too.. Mercy.. U don’t want to have any problems in your afterlife will u?

  • Back to the essay……… yes I do realise that the intent is but to me it is too opinionated in structure, though for many that may be the positive aspect. To me the moving picture mob seem to have a better content handle on things when it come to the wwwdot world than the still mob.

  • should be but wasn’t………….yes I do realise that the intent is sincere

  • whether photographs from vietnam or failing and corrupt politics changed the course of that war is a point for discussion.. from the two photographs highlighted in the thread – the napalm girl became a woman, propagandized by the govn in her home country and hounded by the media in her new country to the point she wished the photo had not been taken.. and i believe the guy murdering the VC suspect lives happily in the US.. neither photograph had entirely positive effects..
    as with the photographs themselves, the opinion that they bought about change is of it´s time – tied to the 70´s… (a nod to imants and herve here)..
    a flickr set, (as with gaza 2009), or youtube video set up by wikileaks is much more likely to carry a weight of power today.

    vietnam is an interesting media subject.. an age of free press and war snappers becoming the rock stars of photography, (if that was their want).
    to the point pete – anyone can get on a plane and go photography something awful… you say reasons anyone can´t include ¨wife, kids, other responsibilities, no funding etc.¨, yet these are self made constructs or obsticles – in other words it comes down to ¨what does one REALLY want?¨.. the same reasons you state could prevent anyone from working in music worldwide.. or just photographing beaches for tourist mags..

    within the limits of experience, and discounting delusional desires, anyone can do anything they want given a passionate and utterly focused lifestyle. i´ve always done what i really want.. a plane to israel and occupied territories is a couple of clicks away, although i wouldn´t be interested in placing myself in front of corpses nor heaving funeral processions..

    to return to the essay here – what does the photographer really want?
    my original point is that the work comers across as a homage to PJ work and a true effort on behalf of the photographer to act on an injustice they feel strongly about.. while also stretching their practice and career in a new direction – pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
    which motivation and intention is stronger?

    if it were to spread the word and gain maximum exposure for the subjects perhaps the work would have ended up on the news wire or syndicated, as many of the photos are of this style.. yet it´s not new(s).

    blended into a photo story through post processing and presented to burn, a magazine curated by that there harvey and attached to magnum, speaks more of an intention of personal and professional evolution – the text and bio betray the same to me.. that´s what the site is here for, so no problem with that. the site is also for growth and development and discussion of photography.. pete – if that´s driving you away then that´s a shame.

    the photographer was deeply effected by the news a couple of years ago – the initial intention was sincere.. the work is strong and betrays real talent.

    however, i think the idolization of people who choose to photograph trouble, as you seem to subscribe to, has become a self gratifying circle in an age when photography is devouring itself.. your own opinion as an editor of photography, incidentally, encourages photographers in this direction. if we choose not to see suffering, and argue why not, we have ¨ sour grapes¨.
    editors like a formula – steady and straight.. derivative in many cases, actually.
    well, sour grapes into sweet wine pete

    people can be a nachtwey or soth or harvey or sobel.. conflict photography does not have a monopoly on derivative work.. whatever the subject, it is fair to ¨crit¨
    i would like to see more of a personal perspective from this photographer and i think they have the talent to portray something fresh and idiosyncratic from future trips which relies less on the standards of a genre and more on the style of their previous work. i think pats on the back for covering old ground is prohibitive to a photographers development.
    bite me.

    good photos of bad times which may have little or no impact on the issues covered are seen to reward the photographer much more than they help the victims, and back to adams and ut.. perhaps it has always been that way.
    this site is about learning – there is real talent for photography in this work yet it is hard to see the photographer themselves. it might be crass to use such a subject to talk about ¨style¨, but is it any more crass than the many photographers who use this kind of subject to push their career and get noticed by editors who give this subject matter ¨all the attention¨.. as you admit pete?

  • David Bowen, your reasoned comment makes very much sense to me, thank you.

  • First of all, nowhere in my last post did I say I was leaving. Besides, it is much more fun to post something that I know will piss certain people off, listen to their rants, and watch the hits on my website go up. I find it interesting how that happens. Web analytics is a wonderful thing.

    Second – “failing and corrupt politics changed the course of that war”

    Of course. And those politics, along with public opinion, where partially influenced by those two photos and others. Not just my opinion.

    “to the point pete – anyone can get on a plane and go photography something awful… you say reasons anyone can´t include ¨wife, kids, other responsibilities, no funding etc.¨, yet these are self made constructs or obsticles – in other words it comes down to ¨what does one REALLY want?¨.. the same reasons you state could prevent anyone from working in music worldwide.. or just photographing beaches for tourist mags..”

    That is bullshit. It is not the simplicity of “what does one really want.” There is a difference in jumping on a plane to cover a band for a weekend and back home to the wife and kids, as opposed to flying to Afghanistan, imbedding in a combat zone, putting your life in jeopardy, stressing your family, and possibly coming back physically, emotionally and mentally changed.

    Early in my career I covered the professional golf tours for 15 years. Both as a single person and married. Traveled about 20 weeks a year. It is not the same thing.

    “to return to the essay here – what does the photographer really want?
    my original point is that the work comes across as a homage to PJ work and a true effort on behalf of the photographer to act on an injustice they feel strongly about.. while also stretching their practice and career in a new direction – pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
    which motivation and intention is stronger?”

    I will never understand why people need to get into the mind of the photographer and guess what they are intending to say or what their motivations are. It is one thing to engage in a conversation with the photographer to glean this information, but to sit and banter about it and hypothesize is nothing other than opinionated masturbation.

    All of this, “what is their intent”, “what does it mean” is sometimes just crap. Sometimes a photo is just a photo. I was recently at a reading by a relatively famous author. His recent novel had just been published and someone asked a question along the lines of “did you consciously write this novel as an example of post 9-11 discourse in America?” The author just started laughing. He said, he has heard that question at least 50 times on the book tour.

    Then he paused and very deliberately said, “people, it is just a book.”

    “if it were to spread the word and gain maximum exposure for the subjects perhaps the work would have ended up on the news wire or syndicated, as many of the photos are of this style.. yet it´s not new(s).”

    Why is this not news? These images could easily be published in a newspaper or magazine news story. Maybe not as an essay, but certainly as singles. It is just possible that the photographer has not networked sufficiently to get the images published in the news media. It is not as easy as some people think.

  • All of this discussion is only interesting to a bunch of photographers, anyway. These kinds of images only register for milliseconds in the steady stream of images the average person is flooded with every day, and whatever impact they “should” have is blunted by the sea of images in which they float. During the Vietnam War, I had access to three TV channels that featured 30 minutes of news twice a day. And the daily newspaper. Images from the war then stood out much more starkly in that limited visual environment than the 10′s of thousands of images of war and misery flooding the media today.

  • ¨That is bullshit. It is not the simplicity of “what does one really want.”

    no – it isn´t..
    and yes – it is.

    obviously the chosen subject differs and the long term effects of conscious decisions differs..
    my life is different from yours in part because i think golf is shit..
    i could not, would not, do as you do and visa versa..

    so what?

    it still comes down to what people really want.. or as tilde puts it above, ¨strong(ly) desire¨.

    ¨I will never understand why people need to get into the mind of the photographer and guess what they are intending to say or what their motivations are. It is one thing to engage in a conversation with the photographer to glean this information, but to sit and banter about it and hypothesize is nothing other than opinionated masturbation.¨

    well pete – did you come?
    the site is what it is – for the viewing and discussion of photography.
    hope was that the photographer would chip in once the discussion got going.. however.. whatever.. they have so far chosen not to.

    ¨Why is this not news? These images could easily be published in a newspaper or magazine news story. ¨

    i already said that.. yet they are here instead.. context.
    anyway.. have a good day.

  • ¨All of this discussion is only interesting to a bunch of photographers, anyway. ¨
    jim
    :ø)

  • pete – when i say ¨what does one REALLY want¨, i mean to the point where the constraints you talk about are never considered in the first place..
    absolute focus and sacrifice for what people REALLY want leaves very little room for the luxury of a deviating mind.. towards family or whatever.

    do half the people who say they want to be photographers, REALLY want to be photographers and understand what that entails.. even know what they actually want to shoot?

  • “it is much more fun to post something that I know will piss certain people off, listen to their rants, and watch the hits on my website go up…

    That’s sad, Pete. An interesting, substantive discussion was taking place here before you came in making personal attacks just, as you say, trying to piss certain people off. And thanks to David Bowen, it continues despite your disruptive efforts. What’s up? You’re usually not like this.

  • MW

    I was joking. I do not post to purposefully agitate people. I just know how people react here.

    DB

    “the site is what it is – for the viewing and discussion of photography.
    hope was that the photographer would chip in once the discussion got going.. however.. whatever.. they have so far chosen not to.”

    I have no problem with that. View the photography, discuss the images. But maybe stay out of guessing the motivation of the photographer. If they want to explain it, they will. There is way too much hypothesizing. And there is certainly way too much shit about whether or not the images will have any impact on the issue being photographed. Take Jim for instance (and there are others), why do you care if it has any impact? The only person who should care is the photographer. It is their time, sweat and vision. This constant bickering about who it is interesting to, or will it change things is a bunch of wasted energy which is for the most part negative.

    And it may have a negative effect on the photographers themselves. If their so-called peers constantly bang the “it will not make a difference” drum, what is that telling them? Should they sell the camera and buy a cab?

    And as far as context goes…. If I were shooing this type of subject, I would be doing anything and everything to get it published… ANYWHERE. There are a lot of people here who go on and on about the media, who have never worked in the media. There are very few publications that would just publish these types of images without a story to go with it. That means getting a writer to write a specific story to the images. Unfortunately that is not how it generally works (sometimes maybe).

    Photographers who are doing this work are doing it to enlighten the world about the issue at hand. If publishing it here first will get the attention of an editor at a major news organization, then do it.

    And as for… “These kinds of images only register for milliseconds in the steady stream of images the average person is flooded with every day, and whatever impact they “should” have is blunted by the sea of images in which they float.”

    That is such a completely defeatist and useless train of thought that it is not worth the time to discuss.

  • But maybe stay out of guessing the motivation of the photographer. If they want to explain it, they will. There is way too much hypothesizing.

    I certainly agree with that. Best to keep it professional.

    Disagree though about whether or not people should discuss larger, professional type issues such as potential impact of photographs in rapidly changing news/content dissemination environment. Seems particularly relevant to me. And if there are delicate souls out there who might be dissuaded from a life of conflict photography by this type of discussion, well, they probably weren’t cut out for it anyway. In any case, the responsibility for the photographer’s actions is on the photographer, not the writer/commenter.

    Glad to hear you were joking. The “saying it with a straight face” method is often problematic online. I know what it’s like to be misunderstood in that regard.

  • MW

    My point about potential impact of photographs is that I see no benefit to arguing about it. How is discussing it going to change whether or not these conflict photos are having an effect? They either do or they do not. And if they do not, there seems to me to be only two options, quit or make more until they do.

  • Perhaps most likely, the only benefit from discussing the possible effect, or not, of conflict photos comes from the personal enjoyment people with similar interests may get in discussing them. But theoretically, it could be a good thing for those who care about issues to analyze and identify how and why important information is not making it through the media fog in order to come up with better strategies for achieving those ends. My point, however, is that it’s futile and probably counterproductive to tell people what they should or should not discuss, particularly if it’s on-topic and regardless of whether it may be negative or without benefit. Not saying you shouldn’t make the argument, just don’t agree with it.I’m more concerned with truth than effectiveness. How to find truth without dialectic?

  • too much shit about whether or not the images will have any impact on the issue being photographed. ¨¨

    take your points pete.. the one above is one i feel conflict about, yet only concerning some work..

    why care about whether they have impact? because that can be the only justification for displaying someones dead child to a bunch of photo enthusiasts and photographers..

    in my heart i really want to believe that photography occassionally has a powerful impact, yet head tells me that it rarely does.. i used to believe photos alone had impact.. now though my perception is that the biggest impact comes through the photographers own actions in tweeking the world, or in taking a fresh and interesting perspective to a familier problem, rather than simple exhibitions of the work infront of photo orientated audiences.. get the work infront of the right people.. perhaps burn will lend itself to that purpose and if so – great.

    i sincerely wish for an expansion of the work beyond the obvious.. an exhibition.. a book.. and some positive spin offs for the subjects.. the more unique the photographers take on the subject, the bigger the potential coverage, so good luck.

    as an aside i just checked my analytics and burn comes in 5th for referals.. a lowly percentage at that,

    still hope the photographer chips in.

  • I didn’t comment yet, I didn’t even read everything, I don’t like to discuss that much but I do want to share my opinion about some issues.

    It might be clear that I choose a side in this conflict but is that wrong? It feels very wrong to remain neutral. I will not turn my head away when I experience huge violations of international law. It feels wrong to go back to my country knowing people are subjected to this ‘medieval’ siege as UNRWA head John Ging called it here, creating the largest of open air prisons. 
    The big oppressor decides how far Gazans can go on what remains of Palestinian land. Israel controls the inside and lets people just survive, little more. Fighters or civilians, they don’t seem to make a distinction when they blow up a 91 year old man and his grandson taking care of their animals on the ruins of their house, which was totally destroyed, twice. (I didn’t find anything about this in the Belgian media, although I did read a lot about the 4 settlers shot at near Hebron)

    My pics might not have an impact on every one, at least they have on some people. 
    In the West, you can choose just to go on with your own life. From my point of view I experience more if I don’t. Being here, meeting the Gazans and sharing their difficulties is not a chore and brings many returns, in particular the huge warmth from so many people that continues despite the harshness of what is happening around them. 

    I want to thank some people here for their comments on my way of telling this story. I don’t have years of experience and it’s interesting to hear what my pics tell you–or not.
    As well some people took a look at my previous work on my website, interesting as some try to discover how I talk in images and how maybe I can make this work more personal, attractive for those who don’t want to look, by using my own pure language.
    These are the comments I like and contain a message.

    At last, I definitely don’t agree with ‘all of us are just a plane ticket away from conflict’. I gave up many things to come here, cause I really wanted, but it’s never easy and my living standard is low cause I can’t afford more. The media is not interested or can’t be interested, a certain lobby seems to have a huge influence. I think my pics are more interested than pics of someone who just flies from conflict to conflict to make the news, I live here, I meet the daily life, as I read your comments, people would like me to show more about that, but I think I have a conflict with myself, to go for pics that give me financial possibilities or to go for what I really feel. That’s the struggle..

  • Pete you are still here despite your sidney style outburst, see Panos he’s a rock that stays still and cannot be moved even by progress. Looks like it is back to chipping golf balls at the immovable object

  • again… i never said i was leaving. What I said was I understand why others have.

  • “to go for pics that give me financial possibilities or to go for what I really feel. That’s the struggle..”

    Bravo Tilde! Keep up the quest. You are finding your voice. All of this dialog just proves that “Gaza” is worthy of discussion. Thank you Tilde and thank you David AH.

  • Pete Marovich
    October 14, 2010 at 8:14 am
    First of all, nowhere in my last post did I say I was leaving. Besides, it is much more fun to post something that I know will piss certain people off, listen to their rants, and watch the hits on my website go up. I find it interesting how that happens. Web analytics is a wonderful thing.
    ——–

    You admit that I’m responsible for people checking your website?
    That’s why u hang around Burn?
    Thank you for the balls to admit it..
    It was about time.. I mean everyone knew but hear it from you???
    Priceless

  • I suggest u get couple good photos on your website and that’ll be the reason folks checking u out..
    Not because of me..
    Thanks for the credit but I see no check from your google advertisement ..
    And that’s stealing?

  • And I don’t have a website?
    Why? I’m a BURN photographer.. What more credentials do you need???
    Order Burn.01 book and you’ll see who I am..
    My name is Till….
    And if u don’t know who Till was ask Lassal..or wiki it
    Educate yourself.. Not a bad thing!

    and don’t change the subject..
    I’m still waiting for that check from all that google analytics you bragging for…

  • And I’m not gonna say more out of respect to my buddy Michael K..
    Coz I know for some not explainable reason he is your friend!
    Where’s the money u owe me mr. Pete?
    Where? Since you are so good In counting money????

  • Panos you have way too much time on your hands.

  • “to go for pics that give me financial possibilities or to go for what I really feel. That’s the struggle..”

    I trust those people in your photographs have appropriate respect for such a heroic struggle as yours.

  • “to go for pics that give me financial possibilities or to go for what I really feel. That’s the struggle..”

    I’m sorry, but that comes off as simply monstrous. I’ve not been in the anti-conflict photography camp around here, but that devastatingly sums up their argument. Suffering people around the world, just props in some rich kid’s struggle against the inevitability of great wealth.

  • That sorta makes Pete a troll according to our mate Sid’s logic

  • Pete true.. I do have time , I had a lot time from Burn day 1..
    Actually from Roadtrips day 3…
    There was time that I was driving my truck around 15 freeway , up and Down from highway 14 all the way to Norco..and from Jacinto to highway 74 upon the mountain typing, posting to Burn via iPhone..
    Yes true, I always have too much time in my hands when it comea to Burn…
    Why? Coz I post pictures up here since day 1…
    And not expecting to be paid… And that’s why I like this place.. Coz it let’s me post links, photos, words, anything, so I get clean, vent, breath, feel free”… Burn is therapy that’s why I love it..
    It’s not just because I might get more hits on my website and make money …
    Websites are good tool to advertise .. I believe it..
    Chris Anderson just had one first time in his life.. But nothing prevented him from entering magnum ..
    That’s why I like Burn..
    And I’m making time for Burn.. It’s family

  • Chris had a website recently.. I meant

  • hi Tilde… more images like 8 and 11 would work for me in articulating the dire consequences of this situation Palestine finds herself in. Kitchens. Food. Water. Struggles. Daily struggles we all can relate to as we all need to eat drink and be satisfied.
    Take care and keep on with how you feel.

    By the way, when I click in to your web site only find an empty page? I’d like to see more.

    thanks for showing your work to us.

  • Tilde,
    congrats. not only for being published, but even more to have your essay enable this discussion. it helped that the people here reflect on so many things. you are on the right track. keep it up.

  • @peter
    my site is a bit slow, should work but takes some time to load..
    thanks

  • Just to clarify, I don’t in any way mean to suggest that Tilde is monstrous. I trust her motivations are admirable. It’s just that saying “that’s the struggle” referring to how much money she can make in the context of the Palestinian struggle comes off as, well, monstrous.

    I hate to dwell on it because I really do trust she’s a good person making personal sacrifices trying to do some good in the world, but some of the things she’s written touch upon long running debates here that are both timely and important. And these same issues have come up in several recent essays, most notably the one on Kashmir.

    For example, when she writes “It might be clear that I choose a side in this conflict but is that wrong?” I’d have to say yes, at least from a journalistic perspective. The job is to present reality as it is, not to work as an advocate for a particular point of view. Not a journalist, you say? Then what? An artist? If so, these photographs don’t work as art. They look too much like photojournalism. No, the reality is, if a work clearly takes a side, if it arranges reality in such a way as to aid a political movement, then it is propaganda. Regardless of whether or not the cause is justified. And I’d go farther and posit that obvious propaganda actually damages a just cause. It becomes just another excuse for people to ignore what’s really going on.

    On a marginally related note, David Bowen is right that pretty much anyone, at least anyone from a roughly middle class background in a wealthy country, can go work in conflict zones, or travel to just about any part of the world and live there for awhile if that’s what they really want to do. I used to do it all the time and knew plenty of other people living the same lifestyle. It’s just a question of priorities.

  • tilde – is there a finantialy viable form of documentary photography which does not involve struggle and sacrifice? repcest for your descision to follow your heart.
    the only way is to photograph what one feels and i’m not sure there is a way of making money doing that.

    as a final word – when i was 18 i bought the plane ticket.
    a shoe box full of sorrow did neither me nor them any good, although that was in the stone age before interweb.

    good luck and thanks for chipping in.
    :ø)

  • as a second final word..

    ¨attractive for those who don’t want to look¨

    thats not what the issue is.. it’s not a case of making war even more palitable.. it’s a case of bringing the horror home in a less blunt and much exposed way.
    the mundane in gaza is just as horrific as a dead child, and much less seen.. potential to cause impact is the thing and i wonder if in this age subtler means work more wonders, expecially given anyone living above ground knows what is happening in gaza.
    it’s not about people not wanting to look, for me at least, its about people having seen it so much it does not regester.

    michael said:
    ¨For example, when she writes “It might be clear that I choose a side in this conflict but is that wrong?” I’d have to say yes, at least from a journalistic perspective. The job is to present reality as it is, not to work as an advocate for a particular point of view. Not a journalist, you say? Then what? An artist? If so, these photographs don’t work as art. They look too much like photojournalism.

    .. and i agree..
    if you have an artists eye, which you do, then i think the possibilities are infinate.. boundless.. and what you are settleing for may not be doing you justice nor achieveing your goals given the shape of the media.. does nacthwey make more impact because of the subject matter or because he is jim-jimmeny with a 30 year history?
    tunnels, corpses and waiting for the pain may be the least you can do.
    i’m trying to form a compliment of sorts..

  • First of all, i’m much too tired and drained this week to wade into the discussion, but i did want to offer a few thoughts to Tilde…

    i think that ‘our saturation’ ‘our ennui’ ‘our desensitization’ to images of war, images of the israeli/palestinian conflict is not your or the photographers responsibility, it is our own as jaded viewers….the irony is we rarely suggest the same with books, paintings, told stories, etc and yet i hear the siren song of being jaded and numb by this kind of stories…while i understand their lament, i thing we must (especially as photographers and consumers of images) rail and fight against this….

    mw makes a very good and important point about discussion and the need to discuss effectiveness/truth….i’m not sure that telling stories ever solves anything….trust me, nothing we do ever ends suffering, it is not within the power of photogrpahy or, mostly, our intentions and resources to do that; however, we persist, we must persist….we must continue to tell stories and to share them…it is important that, stories continue to be told and that, different perspectives are shared and seen….photography both illuminates and it numbs, and there is the profound paradox and conundrum….

    what i like about this story is that the photographer is trying to get inside moments of this conflict as a means of, again, sharing….a way to get the audience, or some audience, to see or sense something about the suffering and the torment….

    as david wrote, if for even one person, one may accomplish a great deal…

    before ‘inferno’ there were all the books of Nam and Korea and wwii and before them, the founders: the american civil war and the crimean war…nothing stop, but we continue and we continue for both important reasons (to speak out against suffering) and for more crude reasons (because we think that we must use images as a service to prevent, when it will not), but i will always side with those who continue to speak out, if even imperfectly….

    david grossman’s new novel (though nearly perfect) as another example….

    we cannot desist….

    i look at tilde’s essay, strangely, in a less critical way this night when i’m exhausted, which is this: a reminder of how little we have really accomplished in terms of understanding one another, or shall ever, and yet how extraordinary our efforts to not relinquish fully the hope that maybe (if even a delusion) that we can arrest some small part of suffering by speaking out….

    and that, both of them, are why i am not jaded or cynical….

    and, again, the bravery of sharing a part of one’s life and transformation with an audience that has seen too much, and that too me is a courageous and beautifully humane effort and sharing….

    thank you tilde and congratulations

    bob

  • Well, I think, rather than saying “you’re jaded, that’s the problem”, it’s more important to find out why people are desensitized to a certain quantity or even quality of pictures from conflict zones, while at the same time, the same people can still prove to be sensitive and responding, ie. unjaded, in their own daily lives or for that of others, like with humanitarian crises.

    I even think that these people can take quite a non-jaded interest in said conflicts, while not bothering to do more than looking at the photos. Certainly, the Gaza vs Israel is one conflict where people do not wait for the pictures to comment, or have opinions.

    So, I guess I disagree with you, Bob. I think the problem (or the phenomenon of photos not being able to make their marks, nowadays that is) has to do with photography as a media, not with the people looking at them, and maybe even the ones taking them.

  • herve :)

    agree completely….my words and heads are a big sluggish…been an awful week…i meant to suggest that part of the problem is that pictures desensitize (sontag’s sometimes correct argument, more importantly berger’s difficulty with pictures) and that WE fall ‘victim’ to that…that is why i always take the responsibility for my own ‘desensitization’ because i willing swallow pictures and live in a world in which we’re inundated with quick, superficial, electronic sensory overload….that’s why i still fight the fight: reading proust….spending limited time on internet/social media/blogs…lots of time in silence, with family, alone, etc…so that i do not write or feel the way the jaded do….but you are right, i simply believe and try to suggest that that is part of OUR responsibility as consumers of images..we’re drowning ourselves as well…twitter facebook games pinballs in the skull…but we are not gadgets…and yes, the photographer has that responsibility too…but i see tilde’s effort, external to the pictures, as an attempt to transgress that sluggish, mechanicalized behavior of the drone, of the hive….but i do see lots of reactions as predictable…a more personalized story, of course would love that….but i agree, understand…hope that better clarifies what i attempted to say mon ami

    running
    b

  • I usually stay apart of the discussions here on Burn, but would like to share my feelings here:

    First, of course, Tilde has all my admiration for having taken the kind of risks she took, to go and see by herself. some pictures are very powerful.
    I have also to take off my hat for the will to go behind the “usual” horror, and to try to explain the complexity of the situation by mentioning that the three young people killed by the Israeli army where about to shoot a mortar shell (these are mostly directed against civilians). I am so used to the full blown “good and bad, black and white” stereotypes. Just to add some details: 1-the tunnels from Sinai are extensively used to smuggle arms and ammunition, and are therefore targeted by the IDF. 2- as far as I am informed, the blockade is far from total. the control requested by Israel on what goes in is to prevent arms to find their way in, and Hizbullah is trying all the time to send their “goods” to Sinai, and from there to Gaza. Food, energy, and other supplies do enter the Gaza strip. 3- The the four “settlers” that were “shot” were, if I recall correctly, civilians members of a family, including a pregnant woman that were first shot then approached to be simply executed. As strongly as I disagree with their ways, settlers are still civilians, and in my book, should not be targeted. Remember also, that the whole purpose of their killing was to force a break in the negotiations between Netanyahu and Abbas.
    So really, the horror can be on both sides, and pictures of horrors do not depict a situation and do not show who is right and who is wrong. systematically going with the underdog cannot replace some attempt to understand a situation and most important, thinking of a way out of this mess. Remember the “good” Afgan Mujaheedin fighting for their freedom against “evil” USSR. Who is good and who is bad really needs to be analyzed a bit more rationally than based on pictures (The book “voyages en Afganistan” by Didier Lefevre is a great example of how to make a really good photo essay without falling into the romantization of a cause that is totally opposed to my (our) values)

    About the pictures themselves, I think a more “long term” description of the daily struggle of the Palestinian that live there in terrible conditions would have been more effective. The focus on horror and death may not be subtle enough, and we may “shut off” our attention to the details, switch to the “war photography” mode. It could be just me of course.
    Also, I feel there is a problem when the story is not there.
    Does a good picture needs the mention that an F16 was flying just above?
    Or this other one of the fishermen. Do we need to be brought back to the conflict artificially by the story of this other boat being shot?
    I know this kind of criticism sounds completely discordant with the subject, but I am really waiting for that great photoessay that will go deep in the life of the Palestinian, its subtilities and difficulties.
    They deserve it.

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