Photography and Bearing Witness in the Balkan Conflict, 1988-2015
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 24, 2021
The Third Balkan War marked a key turning point in the history of photojournalism. Photographers on the ground were faced with complex ethical, conceptual and technological challenges, while the financial and distribution models used by media corporations were changing radically. Combining case studies with theoretical and philosophical insights, Photography and Bearing Witness in the Balkan Conflict, 1988-2015 explores the role of photography in representing conflict and genocide, both during and after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Concentrating on the photographer, this book considers the practice of photojournalism rather than simply in terms of its consumption and use by the media. The experiences and working methods of photographers in the field are analysed, showing how practitioners conceptualised their work and responded to larger questions about neutrality and moral responsibility. This study examines the concept of bearing witness through visual representation: the photographer becomes a proxy witness for the rest of society, while the photograph is elevated to a culturally privileged position of veracity. Presenting this ‘active’ form of witness, author Paul Lowe investigates a crucial ethical paradox faced by photojournalists. Is it right to photograph suffering, knowing that the more acute this trauma is, the more likely it is that the subject will be re-victimised through this act of representation? Or does the moral or social good that this representation might entail make the act of witnessing all the more important? Moving beyond the end of the Yugoslav Wars in 2001, this book also considers the therapeutic and validating potential of photography for survivors, featuring photographers whose work centres on memory and reconciliation.Based on archival research, close reading and discourse analyses of photographs, and interviews with a range of international photographers, this book explores how photography from this period has been used and remediated in editorial photojournalism, fine art documentary and advocacy photography.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction2. Bearing Witness and Photography3. The Presentational Witness4. The Participatory Witness5. The Prosecutorial Witness6. The Post-Factum Witness7. Photography and Civic Society in the Former Yugoslavia8. ConclusionBibliographyIndex
Paul Lowe is Course Leader of the MA programme in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK. An award-winning photographer, his work has been published in major magazines including Time, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, Observer and Independent, and he is a consultant to the World Press Photo foundation. He is co-author of Understanding Photojournalism (Bloomsbury, 2017).