Photographers In The World Or Looking At The Picture Outside Of The Frame

Writing hagiography is I suppose the easiest, most reactionary thing to do. Supported by the myth of Magnum, a myth that may once have had some weight, but today relies largely on recycled cliches about the agency’s role and impact, the writer can just easily close thought, avoid analysis. And this is what is offered to us here in a piece in The Independent called ‘Young Magnum: The Hotshots Ready To Take Their Place In History’.  Though remains unclear to me why any of these four photographers are the ‘hot shots’ they are labelled to be – probably only because they are Magnum nominees and that associated guarantees your seriousness and lavish praise. Be that as it may, – these are subjective opinions, what really confuses me is the consistent presentation of photography and photographers by depoliticizing their work by de-contextualizing it. Details »

Repost: This Land Called Gaza – A Love and A Curse

This post was originally written in the aftermath of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008 / 2009. As Israel threatens to once again invade the territory, its determination to incite violence and provoke reactions remains unrecognized and unreported by our media. Some important correctives can be found here, here and here. This is, as it was the first time around, for my friends in Gaza.

Location: Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza City. 2009


“And what projects are you working on at the moment?”

“An exhibition…and…I’m working on the completion of a new book, something very close to my heart.”

“What’s it about?”

“The Palestinians.”

There was a rather long silence…my friend looked at me with a slightly sad smile, and said “Sure, why not! But don’t you think the subject’s a bit dated? Look, I’ve taken photographs of the Palestinians too, especially in the refugee camps…its really sad! But these days, who’s interested in people who eat off the ground with their hands? And then there’s all that terrorism…I’d have thought you’d be better off using your energy and capabilities on something more worthwhile!”

Swiss photographer Jean Mohr describes a conversation with a friend.(1) Details »

The False Eye: Photojournalism, War Photography And The Myopia Of Critism

Let me get right to the point – Photography curators and editors refuse to acknowledge, examine and critically analyse the fundamental and at times definitive influences that the institutions of production have on the kinds of war photographs that are made, and the perspectives that are adopted in them. There seems to be a collusion between these ‘gatekeepers’ of the craft, to never raise the question about the publications the war photographer was on assignment for, the editorial prejudices of that publication, the proclivities and prejudices of the market into which the particular war photographer was aiming her work at, and the broader political and cultural baggage which the photographer carried with her to the work. Details »

The Justice In Pakistan Project Begins….

This is the official announcement of the start of the Justice in Pakistan project.

The website above is a project work in progress website and it will reveal the unfolding and evolution of the project over the course of the next twelve months. I have recently arrived in Lahore and made a small studio and base of operations here. And I will admit that I am quite overwhelmed by the task I have set for myself, but at the same time I am quite certain that it will result in a unique work. Details »

Personal Thoughts And Something About Moving To Africa

Satisfied in wasting time in juvenile discussions about the ‘seriousness’ of Hipstamatic or Instagram while … avoiding any debates about the the historical, cultural, and social prejudices that underpin the craft, or even the legacy of a colonial forms of knowledge that continue to inform its form, photographers seem deeply disconnected from the very world they so claim to be documenting.

It has been difficult to write. I suppose that is stating the obvious given that this blog has been rather quiet for many weeks, if not months. I am not quite sure what the cause of this silence is. But I have been blocked. But this is a block that comes not from a lack of things to say and write, but from a sense of distance and disconnection from my perceived audience. Details »

Matt Lutton Takes burn Magazine’s Emerging Photographer Prize And None Too Soon!

From 'Only Unity' by Matt Lutton (All Rights Reserved)

It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Matt Lutton has been awarded the burn Magazine’s ‘Emerging Photographer’ award. The surprise came not from the fact that Matt won the grant, but that a work on a region long forgotten by mainstream media, received a recognition that it so deserves.  So when these two slide came up on the burn magazine page, I shouted with glee! Details »

Maggie Steber’s Rite Of Passage

Its been a long time since I last wrote on this blog. In fact, in a recent discussion with Prison Photography’s Pete Brook’s I even declared the blog near dead. But frankly I have not had the heart to shut it down because each time I do I find that someone is still reading it and insisting on discussing it with me. So it remains alive, though I do have to get back to writing more and speaking less. I seem to be making my arguments in person these days and avoiding putting down on the blog. Details »

Welcome To Yet Another Attempt At A New Year: Occupy Wall Street New Year’s Eve Protest December 31st 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protest December 31st 2011 Zuccotti Park, New York (Click on image to see more) Copy Right Asim Rafiqui 2011 / 2012


Trevor Paglen Draws Us A Blank Or Things We Know We Don’t Know And Those That We Don’t Know We Know

I have written about Trevor Paglen’s amazing photographic works before, particularly his use of advanced optics to peek into America’s secret military sites. In a post written earlier called Photographing The Unseen Or What Conventional Photojournalism Is Not Telling Us About Ourselves I discussed his work and what it could possibly tell us more conventional photographers about the issues of our times and the subjects we have yet to tackle. Details »

Narcissus’ South Asian Progeny Or Careless Talk At The Delhi Photo Festival

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

The Delhi Photo Festival’s, with its inaugural theme of ‘Affinity’, features a number of works that deal with questions of the personal. The festival contains a number of projects that focus on family, friendships, and individuals exploring personal issues with life and love. And much of the work is fascinating, creative and expressive. The personal and private works add an exciting counter point to some of the other exhibitions which reflect a more socially and public engagement. By and large however the festival has kept its feet firmly in the classic concerns of photojournalism even while exhibiting works that are more individual, and experimental. In this regard, the festival has already distinguished itself from many other such photo festivals happening around the world and is off to a wonderful start. Details »

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