January 11, 2010
— Middle East, palestine, photography, tomorrow's youth organization, triple exposure, West Bank, youth photography
“Beware the Cost of War” was a photo exhibition displayed in London in late 2009, which drew international acclaim for the unique presentation of its subject: instances of violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians were portrayed in photographs without any associated captions or names. The true subjects of each photograph and of the exhibition therefore became the effects of violence and war. “For Mr. Galai [the organizer of the exhibit],” writes the New York Times blogger who covered the exhibit, “the exhibit is about the meaning of injuries and the meaning of violence.”
It’s important to realize, however, that an important subject of most of the photos from the exhibition is specifically the human cost of war, the general human suffering that is found in situations like that of Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Severed limbs, crying mothers, fleeing crowds, injured soldiers: these people are the most common subjects of the exhibit’s photographs. Not knowing whether the human subject is an Israeli or a Palestinian forces the viewer to realize: this is a human tragedy, these are people whose existence transcends any labels. A mother is simply a mother, an injured boy is foremost a child injured by the ugliness around him.
While the young photographers participating in Triple Exposure do not document direct scenes of violence and war, it is my hope that publishing our students’ work will accomplish a similar purpose to the exhibition, which is to emphasize the human element to a situation famous for its conflict and polarity. For viewers from around the world, the label “Palestinian” is loaded with an array of associations and connotations, many of which are inevitably tied to conflict and violence. Our students’ photos show, however, that for them to be “Palestinian” means so much more: they illustrate their identity through photos of the mosques and churches located near their homes, holiday celebrations, family gatherings, gardens, streets, and so on. In viewing many of these photos, the viewer can transcend the label “Palestinian” and come to know these youth as individuals. Our students photograph their pets, posters of their favorite soccer/football players, their school classrooms, their childhood toys – the individual shines through and the emphasis becomes not photographers who are Palestinian, Israeli, American, British, etc., but rather youth who are first and foremost, people.
– Doris, Project Coordinator