A surprising and exciting set of images from Karl de Keyzer, a photographer whose work has always challenged and fascinated me, particularly since he produced the wonderful God Inc. Now come a set of images of the Congo that are lovely for their sharp contrast to the conventional ‘dark Africa’ depictions of the pathologies and struggles there.
What I particularly love about this work is that it challenges you to examine the photographs and think about a country we know has suffered through decades of colonial exploitation, post-colonial wars, economic exploitation and the traps of the Cold War itself.
Here in de Keyzer’s photographs is a far more complex, but human story of a people living with consequences of politics, power, and trauma that continues to affect their lives and that they continue to struggle against and overcome. I am not sure how far de Keyzer will go with his work but these pictures suggest a photographer willing to confront the consequences on Congo’s modernity of a history that is not too far in the past and in fact is very much responsible for the current wars and deaths and bloodshed.
Connections, links, continuities and consequences are the new challenge for photographer. The use of photography to take us towards realizations of history, society, politics, power and exploitation. This work suggests possibilities of completeness and I look forward to seeing how far de Keyzer goes in the book that is soon to be published based on this set of images.